Selangor Marathon 2020 Race Review

It is Visit Sepang 2020 and Visit Malaysia 2020, so I decided to play tourist at the Selangor Marathon! Sepang is where the international airports are and it is well-known as a logistic hub in Malaysia. Sepang is a district in the state of Selangor.

The Selangor Marathon 2020 is the first of its kind, organised by Comrades Team Ventures. Although new, the race is organised by a reputable and experienced organiser. If you want to have a good race experience, it is important to know the historical background of the organiser.

I signed up for the half marathon, 21km. I was specially interested to register longer distances because the start and end time are before dawn. Therefore, if you plan your pace and train well, you can finish the run and just in time for Fajr / Subuh prayers at the race site. Furthermore, it would be my first time running in Sepang.

Race Review

The race was held by the fringe of the Sepang Circuit on the 22nd and 23rd of February. Just to be clear, no activity was done in the circuit area. There were a few categories : 42km, 21km, 10km, 5km and kids dash that brought together about six thousand runners who laced up and ran. The start time for 42km was at 1:30am, followed by 21km at 4:30am, 10km at 7am (flag off delayed though) and 5km at 730am.

Here are collective views from the half marathon runners :

  • Race kit 
    👍 – Well-managed. Race kit collection was held at MAGIC, Cyberjaya on 21st and 22nd of February. It was simple and well organised.
  • Baggage Drop
    👍 – Well-managed within the race village
  • Toilets
    👍 – Ample along the route
  • Medical & Paramedics
    👌  I only saw the tent at the Race Village, not on the route. Probably it was just too dark or I was just too focused looking at the starry night.
  • Road & route management
    👍 Overall good. There wasn’t much elevation – pretty much flat. There were some dark area with no street lights. The good thing was that the roads were smooth and well surfaced. No potholes or uneven roads unlike the ones in the city.  Runners MUST wear head lamp or/and blinkers when running in the dark. It should be a mandatory item and I feel organisers should remind runners to wear when the race is at night or early morning. Certain street lights may just fail on you on the race day and you don’t want to get injured. The runners were running in parallel with the plane at certain parts of the route. Now, I know how it feels running next to planes taking off and landing right next to you – SUPER SLOW.
  • Water Station, Sponges and Muscle Spray
    👍 – Well-prepared throughout the run. Coconut water was provided at some stations.
  • Traffic Control
    👍  I felt safe throughout the run. There were ample volunteers and traffic policemen at main junctions. There were not many traffic on the route as it was very early in the morning.
  • Medal and Finisher Collection Area
    👍 – Collection was superb, fast and well-managed. As I passed the last check point and the finish line, I received a medal and continued to queue for the shirt. Just named my size, and they gave me one. Design of the medal and finisher item was simple and I always like it simple!

    Selangor Marathon Medal & finisher tee for 21km finishers

    Selangor Marathon Medal – Red and Yellow

  • Refreshment 
    👍 Unlimited food at the event village. Just pick as many nasi lemak, cendol, bananas, buns and water as you want. There is no limit. I find this super cool and relevant because each and everyone of us has a different appetite, calorie intake and running distance. So, take what fills you up.
  • Surau
    👍  
    Since the start time for the full and half marathon was early, many manage to finish their runs and pray at the race village. A few late runners had to pray at the water station.
  • Running Participation
    👍  Healthy number of runners. These numbers are taken from results.checkpointspot.asia indicating those who ran, registration may be more.

    • 42km : 916 runners
    • 21km : 1,565 runners
    • 10km : 742 runners
    • 5km : 1,600 runners
    • Kids Dash : 87

      Intan Suraya and Farhati Tajudin, Finishers of Full Marathon 💪

      Intan Suraya and Farhati Tajudin, Lady Finishers of Full Marathon 💪

  • International Participants
    👌  Due to the COVID19 and travel restrictions, I didn’t see many foreigners. Just a few Indonesian runners at the half marathon. I was glad the organiser decided to proceed with the run as many were looking forward to it and the threat was not much in the month of February.
  • Race Village
    👍 Nice and friendly environment. Finishers would sit around, get foot massages, rest, eat their nasi lemak and catch up with friends until it got hotter. Every runners looked happy and cheerful refilling milo from the milo truck. There was ample finisher items and refreshments for everyone!

    Nashata Booth @ the Race Village

I enjoyed the run that day, mostly because of the beautiful starry night skies. The sky was so clear that I could see countless twinkling stars every time I look up. It was a cool morning as well.

Fun-Packed Explorations at Langkawi Geopark

I like to end the year doing something different. This year I got to explore Langkawi Island with family and pretty happy that Langkawi has grown so much with loads of fun and educational activities to do. The rainy season in Langkawi is in September so it is a safe destination to get a sunny vacation by the beach in December.

I would like to share 4 exciting explorations I had with my family:

1. Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park

2. Machinchang Geoforest Park

3. Temurun Waterfalls by Mount Raya

4. Exploration to Pulau Rebak Kecil from Cenang Beach by foot

1. Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park Exploration

You need to get a boat ride to Dayang Bunting Island. My party of 5 got a boat ride, on a sharing basis with 15 other tourists from AB watersports. The fee was RM25/adult and RM20/child below 12 years old. En Mohd Ashtar was very helpful to accommodate my booking via the internet, two days in advance. You can call his office 04-9551037 to make a reservation. He provided 2-way shuttle service from my hotel to the jetty located close to Langkawi Porta Malai Resort. We took the 9 am half-day trip.  The first stop was Pulau Beras Basah followed by eagle feeding at Pulau Singa Besar. You get to see two types of native eagles; the White-bellied Fish Eagle and Brahminy Kite Eagle, flying right above the island and diving onto the surface of the water to catch fishes. You can’t miss these stunning birds as they would dive pretty close to the boats. The last and the most interesting stop was Dayang Bunting Island.

You need to hike for about 230 meters from the jetty to Dayang Bunting Lake. It is quite an easy walk, educational too, featuring rock formation on the island. Once you reach the lake, you can take a dip into the lake, put your legs into the water or can rent a kayak or boat. The lake is 33 feet deep so if you are not a good swimmer, you better rent a life jacket available on the platform. You can also save a few ringgit by bringing your life-jacket from your boat to the lake. The swim was really nice as the fresh water is clean and refreshing.

Dayang Bunting Lake

Dayang Bunting Lake

Dayang Bunting Lake

Refreshing Dip in Dayang Bunting Lake

Dayang Bunting GeoForest Park

After an hour on the island, we got onto the boat and said goodbye to beautiful island of Dayang Bunting.

Dayang Bunting Island

Did you see a pregnant lady lying down on the back?

2. Machinchang Geoforest Park Exploration

A ride on the cablecab followed by a walk on the skybridge is a must in Langkawi. You need to get a ticket (RM30/adult & RM20/child below 12) to go onto the cablecab up to the Machingchang Mountain (second highest mountain in Langkawi, 850 m above sea level). Make sure you bring your Malaysian ID to enjoy local rates. Before you reach the top, you could stop at the middle station and grab some food. They offer nasi lemak and other local delicacies at the cafe. You need to queue back to continue your ride to the top station. Below is the view of Telaga Harbour Area & Seratosa Island (far left), a little unnamed island and Pulau Burau (far right) from middle station.

View from Middle Station : Langkawi Cable Car

View from Middle Station : Langkawi Cable Car

After a couple of minutes on the cablecab, you would reach the 709 above sea level of Machinchang Mountain. The view from the top station is majestic.You could see Skybridge (as below), Andaman Sea, and other parts of Langkawi.

machingchang hills

View of Skybridge from Top Station

view of andaman sea from machincang mountain

View of Andaman Sea from Machincang Mountain

After that, we walked to Skybridge. You could walk (RM5/pax) or take the skyglide (RM35/pax)  to Skybridge. If you want to burn some calories while enjoying the nature, you should walk to Skybridge. However, I do not encourage elderly, little ones and those who are not used to hiking to walk to skybridge. The steps were quite steep and can be difficult to some. It was a more-difficult walk than the one to Dayang Bunting Lake.

On the way back on Cablecab, try look for waterfalls right below you. We saw two waterfalls on the way back. Our experience was much better than the cable car rides in Hong Kong and Sentosa Island, and a lot cheaper too!

3. Temurun Waterfalls by Mount Raya (881 meters, highest mountain in Langkawi)

Temurun Waterfall

The Temurun Waterfall at the Top

If you are a fan of cold fresh water and love the feeling of water running on your back, you should visit Temurun Waterfalls. There are a few levels you could walk to, but the one at the top is worth dipping into. We were greeted by many friendly butterflies, and everyone who reached the top could not resist taking a dip. So, make sure you dress to get wet when you climb all the way to the top. The only changing area available is at the entrance.

Try the mee kuah at the stall by the entrance before you go back. The makcik cooked very good friend rice and mee kuah for us at a very reasonable price.

Temurun Waterfall

Temurun Waterfall

4. Exploration to Pulau Rebak Kecil from Cenang Beach

Cenang Beach is popular for its gorgeous sunset. Other than the gorgeous sunset, we got to experience something different, out of curiosity. But do not try this without a knowledgeable local with you.  At 7:30am in the morning, during low tide, we saw a couple of sand banks close to the island across the Cenang Beach and a few people walking in the sea, towards the island. So, one morning, we decided to check it out. We walked in the knee-level water for a few hundred meters away from the beach, along with a few locals who were busy collecting sea snails on the bed of the sea.

A walk from Cenang Beach to Pulau Rebak Kecil

Pulau Rebak Kecil from Cenang Beach

I wanted to walk to the island, known as Pulau Rebak Kecil, so three of us kept walking in shallow waters for a few more hundred meters towards a visible sand bank. Along the way to the sandbank, I saw many interesting combination of big and small sea creatures; crabs, clams, sea-snails, baby octopus, prawn and baby leapord / zebra sharks. They were visible due to the shallow clear water. The estimated distance from Cenang Beach (A) to Pulau Rebak Kecil (B) was 0.86 km.

Estimated Distance From Pulau Rebak Kecil and Cenang Beach

Estimated Distance From Pulau Rebak Kecil (B) and Cenang Beach (A)

baby zebra shark

Baby Leopard/Zebra Shark

Crabs easily visible

Crabs at Pantai Cenang

Clams & Sea Snails at Pantai Cenang

Clams & Sea Snails at Pantai Cenang

From Cenang Beach

As we walked leaving Cenang Beach on the backdrop

After a long walk, we reached the first sandbar. It was not a straightforward walk but interesting as we saw baby leopard / zebra sharks and a few others we dare not go close to. We had aqua shoes on, so we need not worry too much about risks on our feet. The path was a zig zag as we follow the shallow path towards the first sandbank.

On Sand Bar Pulau Rebak Kecil

Reached the first sandbar

Then we ran along the sand bank towards Rebak Kecil Island and quickly returned. At the end of the sand bank was a steep drop into the sea which we managed to escape. We then walked towards a group of people closest to us, as we could see the water level around them.

Walking towards Pulau Rebak Kecil

Walking along sandbanks towards Pulau Rebak Kecil

Running back from Pulau Rebak Kecil

Running back from Pulau Rebak Kecil

Then we walked back towards Cenang Beach. The water level was rising and the current was against our direction, so it was super tiring. At one point the water level was thigh-level. Again, do not try this. It gave me a good adrenaline rush but I would not try again unless with the presence of knowledgeable locals.

Walking Back from Rebak Kecil Island

Rising water level on the way back

Prawn at Cenang Beach

Prawn at Cenang

Octopus at Cenang

Octopus at Cenang

Lastly, the other activity I enjoyed practicing in Langkawi was yoga during sunset.

Sunset Yoga Plough Pose

Sunset Yoga Plough Pose

There are so many other exciting activities you could do in Langkawi. Some historical, sometimes mystical, mostly enjoyable. I found this map pretty useful and handy to plan my trips whilst in Langkawi. You can get one FREE at the airport. So visit Langkawi and enjoy the Geoforest and beautiful beaches!

Free Langkawi Map