Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thank God It's A Friday Run!

What? UDM – Terengganu Bridge Run 2007

Where? Batu Burok, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

When? 17 August 2007 (FRIDAY); 7:30am

How far? 11km (but actually it was longer....More than 12km)

Who? Organised by Universiti Darul Iman (UDM)

This run was my first run in Land of Turtles and Nasi Dagang, Terengganu and a first time running a race on a Friday too. Initially the run was scheduled on a Saturday – 18 August. So, I have made arrangement to arrive in Kuala Terengganu on Friday, stay a night and then run the race on Saturday.

However, my plans crashed like a Nuri helicopter when they rescheduled it to Friday much my annoyance. I do not want to take Thursday off. Finally, I decide to take the midnight bus, arrive in the morning of the race, run and then travel back to KL. No point of staying another night.

I ran into Asthma Man and Ferdinand at Putra Bus Terminal on Thursday night. They were waiting for their 10:30pm bus to Kedah for another run. Wished them luck.

The TransNasional bus was delayed for ½ hour. We left Putra about 10:30am. I arrived at Kuala Terengganu Bus Terminal at 5:30am. Didn’t slept well because the air con was set to a ball freezing temperature. Had to wake up and check if they were still there occasionally. Heheh!

Took a cab to Primula Beach Hotel to meet Yaziz. He was kind enough to offer me a place to wash up before and after the run. Yaziz arrived a day earlier to collect the race kit. (Insert big TERIMA KASIH to Yaziz).

We took a short stroll to the start point located at Pengkalan Budaya, Batu Burok. (About 5 mins walk). I was given a two-coloured hair band after I reported in for the race. Did some warm up near the beach. It was so refreshing!

I was expecting a spectacular sunrise but this is all I get. The clouds covered everything.

At the Start Point.

Split second before the gun went off.

Chasing after a group of ninjas?....Heheh!

Aweks of 'Ganu. Senyum sokmo. :)

Help! I am being chased by a bunch of aweks. Heheh!

First o.8km, we ran along the Batu Burok beach.

Then, we headed to the town, passing by this famous roundabout.

A close look at the roundabout. It is actually a replica of Batu Bersurat (Inscribed Stone) found in Terengganu many many years ago. It was inscribed in Arabic, some 700 years ago. Among the inscriptions on the stone are the ten Islamic laws and their punishments.

With the discovery of this stone, historians felt that Islam has reached Terengganu before the 14th century. The inscribed stone also proved that a government existed in Terengganu long before Melaka was founded. Even after Melaka was founded, Kuala Terengganu still remained an important port.

The actual stone now is being displayed at the Terengganu State Museum.

Many students took part in this event. I felt like a dinosaur running. Heheh!

Can you spot Devamani going at the speed of bullet infront of the State Public Library? She is one of the fastest Malaysian women. And she did it barefooted!

At the point of this picture was taken, she had already crossed the bridge and back. I was on the other side of the road, struggling. My raw blisters from last weeks' 24 hours walk were bothering me. (Insert ouch here!)

The Sultan Mahmud Bridge - linking Kuala Terengganu town and Pulau Duyung. It is beautifully decorated with Jalur Gemilang, our National Flag.

Constructed in 1988, the bridge was officially opened by the late of Sultan of Terengganu, Almarhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah in 1990. Toll collection for the bridge was abolished in 1999 by the then PAS state government following an election promise. (Source Wikipedia).

William - "Kuantan Taikor" giving me the "Peace Sign".

Not sure why is this guy looks so happy about when I point my camera to shoot Yaziz, who is seen running strong behind.

Fishing boats below the bridge.

I found NEMO! On a lamp post! Heheh!

Sungai Terengganu - long and wide.

Water and sponging station at the U-turn after crossing the Sultan Mahmud Bridge.

I saw something like a fairy tale along the Sungai Terengganu on my way back. Wowow! They are building not, one but a FEW (!) humongous buildings that look like something they come out from the 1001 Arabian Nights.

Under construction. Anyone know what are they building? If they are mosques, why do they need so many along the river?

Also under construction.

Fishing village along the Sungai Terengganu. At the horizon is the mosque construction site.

That hill is called Bukit Besar. A favourite jogging and recreation spot among the locals. Too bad, I had no time to check it out!

Alif Lam Lam Ha, ALLAH Proctects Terengganu. Sign seen on Bukit Besar.

One of the many arches in KT. I was reduced to walking at this point. No thanks to my blisters. My body felt very tired too. (Insert cry here! Heheh!)

The Court Building, all geared for Merdeka Celebration!

Wowow! Another water station? Three water station for a 11km race? I am impressed! I can happily conclude that there are no thirsty runners in this event.

Super size me cup. Prefer if they'd used a smaller one, easier to drink and run. Anyway, this is not a complain, just an observation. :)

Swaggering Towards The FINISH line.

What? I got a medal? Top 100? I was shocked out of my socks when they presented me with medal after I reached the finish line. I totally didn't expect it especially when I walked half of the route. Impossible is nothing, right?

Thank God that this race is held on a Friday! The good runners probably at work and I got my medal! Yay! (Insert a beaming "senyum" here!)

Hmmm...After all the running, the eating begins. Heheh! I wolfed down a plate of Nasi Dagang at the Primula Hotel.

After Yaziz checked out, we went to the bus station to buy my return tickets home.

The bus tickets to KL from most of the major bus companies were SOLD OUT! (Insert jaw drop here!). Finally, I managed to get the last 10:00pm ticket from Sutera Express! It cost more too because it goes to Klang instead of KL! But I was happy to take it. Phew!

Later, I accompanied Yaziz to Pasar Kedai Payang to look for some souveniers.

I think about only 10% of the shops where open. It was a Friday - the official rest day.

I got plenty of time to kill. So, I went wandering into the town. Yaziz went off about 2:00pm to the airport.

This is Istana Maziah. lstana Maziah was built in 1897 to replace the lstana Hijau which was burned down during World War II. Located next to Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal birthdays, weddings, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries. I looked kinda modern for a palace. The sultan then must had very good taste and style. Heheh!

Look mom, no helmets! Terengganu Mat Rempit at play. I saw this bunch of kids racing along the main road, I assumed after their Friday prayer.

I took a detour to Kampung Cina or Chinatown. I remember there were a lot of souvenier shops around this area from my last trip in 2004. However, I was disappointed as they were closed in Friday.

A very quite area of the town. Oh well...The whole KT town is quite on a Friday.

Masjid Abidin. Love the unique design and all white exterior. No wonder it is dubbed Masjid Putih or White Mosque.

I find this shop name amusing. Only well-endowed men are allowed to shop here? Heheh!

I had my late lunch here - Restoran Terapung Puteri.

Click here for runwitme's Virtual Tourist review of Restoran Terapung Puteri.

Dataran Shahbandar. I felt very patriotic standing here. There must be hundreds of Jalur Gemilang being raised here.

Dusk at Dataran Shahbandar.

I almost bored to death on a Friday at Kuala Terengganu. No cinema. No shopping malls. Most places had this "JUMAAT TUTUP" sign on. Then, State Goverment came to rescue. There was a celebration of some sort at Dataran Shahbandar!

It was the Terengganu State level launch of our 50th Merdeka Month celebration and raise the Jalur gemilang Campaign. Yay!

The show started with a rather boring antique cars on parade. Hey Sorry...but me just not into old Mr. Bean car and crawling beetles. (Insert Yawn here).

Then there was singing. But hey, where is NEGARAKU? Isn't it supposed to be sung at official function? I dearly miss singing Negaraku. The last time I sung it out loud was when they played it before the start of the Cheng Lock Musical at Istana Budaya. I had goose-bump! Everytime without fail when I sing (or croak) it. Hey, I don't have a good voice but I sing it out passionately, OK?

I do not know why the state goverment didn't start the show with Negaraku.

Look at our neighbour, Thailand. They play their National song before any events, even before the show start in the cinemas. That is how much they love and respect their national song.

I was rather sad that Negaraku in my humble opinion had been reduced as the opening and ending song for the TV stations. They play it at the start and of transmission everyday.

Hey It's merdeka month! Make the people sing Negaraku! I want to sing it, but singing it alone has no Syiok! I hope they play it before the Gwen Stefani concert start.

OK, sorry about the rambling! I should be talking about running. It's Merdeka month and I can't help it! Heheh!

After singing, there was dancing.

I couldn't wait till the show finished as I had a bus to catch. Maybe they sang Negaraku after I left, maybe not. Anyway, it was a great feeling seeing the place was all decked out with Jalur Gemilang. I saw people were holding little Malaysian flags too.

I got mine too! The flag was given away free for the celebration. I left the loud music and bright lights behind. I waved my flag proudly as I walk along. I love Malaysia! (Insert that warm fuzzy feeling here!)

I enjoyed my 24 hours stay in Kuala Terengganu. The run was interesting and memorable. I got a medal when I least expected it.

Thank God it's a Friday Run!

p/s. Wowow! Next year is gonna be Visit Terengganu Year 2008. I heard there will a run (A run? Insert excited squeal here!) to celebrate this event – the shortest distance being 16km. I wonder why? OK, we shall see.

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