Wednesday, June 03, 2009

KOMTAR Tower Run 2009

I have been looking forward for this run since I found out about it couple of months back . The last time I did this KOMTAR Tower Run was in 2001! 8 years ago! They continued the run on 2002 but then it was stopped in the subsequent years for unknown reason. So, I was really glad that it was back.

I took the night train up to Butterworth on Firday night. Much to my dismay, I was greeted with a rainy sky upon arrival.

My plan to walk along the heritage trail was washed down the drain. Initially, I wanted to take pictures of the old buildings around the Heritage Site. Sigh!

Left with nowhere to go on a rainy day, I boarded a FREE Rapid bus to town and took a short walk to Tune Hotel. The girl at the counter told me I could only check it at 2pm! No early check in. It's company policy and the clock was showing 8:30am! Sigh!

So, I wandered to Georgetown aimlessly. No mood to take pictures because of the gloomy sky. My feet were wet and my body was cold. I was alone because most of my running pals were in Singapore for the Sundown Marathon. Kinda miserable actually!

Suddenly, my luck had turned for the better.....

Something sweet had come my way.....

I "stumbled" upon a birthday celebration in front of the KOMTAR building!

Wow! I would have missed the party if the rain had cancelled my plan to visit the heritage trail. So, the rain was actually a blessing in disguise! :)

It turned out to be the 41st Anniversary of Pacific Supermarket, the anchor tenant of the KOMTAR Building! And they were giving away free breakfast!

There was school band playing. Local kuihs, sandwiches, fruit, chocolate, coffee and candy were served to the public, not forgetting the birthday cake too! Yummy!

I try enjoyed myself there helping myself to the food but also taking pictures of the event. Thank you to Pacific Supermarket for the generosity and hospitality!

I decided to watch a movie at Prangin Mall since it was still drizzling after I left KOMTAR. This was my choice....

Very interesting movie. I almost cried a tear when I watch the scene where a very old Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) raised up his hand and make that Vulcan salute while saying, "LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!" to Captain Kirk in the some icy cave in some icy planet. Heheh! I'm a Star Trek fan....:P

Met up with Woi Teck (my friend from college) for Nasi Kandaq lunch and later joined by say Li and her family. I must say thank you again and again to Woi Teck for taking the time to register and collect the race kit for me. :)

After lunch, I checked in into Tune Hotel. Small but clean. Cheap but bare. Very convenient location - there is a 7-11 on the ground floor, the New World Park food court (Swatow Lane) is just next door. There is a GIANT further down the road. But most importantly, KOMTAR is jusr 10 mins walk away.

What? KOMTAR Tower Run 2009

Where? KOMTAR, Penang

When? 31 May 2009; 7:30am

How? 2km on the road and 60 levels up KOMTAR Building.

My race kit. It comes with a certificate of participation and some ointment.

An army of volunteers - St John Ambulance, Red Cresent Society and Boy Scouts.

Photogs. Click! Snap! Flash!

Reporting was rather chaotic. Runner pushed and shoved for the green rubber band.

I took video of the start before joining the mass of runners on a 2km run.

KOMTAR is Penang's tallest building and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia. It is located in the heart of George Town.

1,147 runners participated. One crazy one ran up with his big bulky camera. :)

The climb....after 2km running on the road. A total of more than 1,100 steps up. 60 floors....of sweat, pain and glory.

Swine flu?

No...flu here. He wore mask because of the dusty environment...

The climb was not as tough as KL Towerthon. Lesser steps to tackle the 2km run was on a flat road.

I took my time to make my climb....until I was overtaken by an old man carrying a red back pack! Then quicken my pace. The old man turned out to be the oldest participant in the race...Heheh!


We were immediately ushered down to fifth floor, The Dome, where the prize presentation was held.

Everyone was entitled to FREE foot massage. The masseurs were from Thailand. Sawadee krub! Kop khun krub!

Haris "enjoying" his free foot reflexology.

Massage ointment. Cap Lang or Cap Ja-Lang. Heheh!

Trophies....Cinya sui.

I walked back to the hotel and took a shower and then back to KOMTAR. Still had time for a foot massage before the arival of YB Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister.

Michelle Tan clocked 16:38s to be the winner in the Women Open category.

I was waiting for her at the top to take her finishing pictures but I didn't managed to see her even though many Women Open runners had completed their runs. It turned out that she was mistakened as a junior runner and directed to another staircase.... :(

Read about her story here.

This is Muniandy A/L Ramadass.....

He is the only local runner managed to be in the Top 10 Men Open. He got the 7th position at a time of 13:13s. Congrats!!!

The Top 10 category in Men Open was monopolised by the Kenyans. That's how good they are!

The winner takes it all.....Kenyan, Philip Ronoh, 24, won the Men’s Open title at a time of 12:15s.

The oldest man and woman in the KOMTAR Tower Run - Mr. Khoo Quah Gua (75) and Madam Nancy Yeow (63) posing with their fruit baskets.

The grand prize for lucky draw...It may look like a "basikal buruk" that grampa used to ride on....but it is actually an electric-powered bike!

More than meets the eye....Heheh!

Not my lucky number... :(

After checking from Tune Hotel, I went to my favourite eatery at Penang Road for a bowl of ice cold cendol and a plate of char koay teow....

A plate worth waiting 45mins for?

The Certificate of Completion. Earlier, we get a Certificate of Participation during collection of race kit. :)

As usual, check out the outcome of lugging my brick-heavy camera up KOMTAR. See if you can spot the OLDEST participant in the video. Cinya salute him! He put some of the much younger participants to shame! LOL!


Note: Sound track - Spaceman (Bimbo Jones Remix) - The Killers

I don’t particularly like long speeches during prize giving ceremony etc, but I must salute Penang Chief Minister – YB Lim Guan Eng for a giving a inspiring and spirited speech. I love the idea to bring back KOMTAR to life rather than abandon it in a sorry state that it is in now. The new Penang State Government reaffirmed its commitment to revitalise KOMTAR by calling off the relocation plan of its administrative offices to Bayan Mutiara. Spending billions for relocation is a waste!

I saw some major face-lifts at KOMTAR that day and yeah, I think the new government is doing the right things.

Also check out the novel way to present the certificate of appreciation to the CM. I like it but I feel that the organiser should not fly the blimp DURING he speech as it takes away the attention from the speaker.

Click PLAY.

I enjoyed my trip very much.

What we like about KOMTAR Tower Run

1) St. John Ambulance, Red Crescent & Boys Scouts volunteers were present on every floor.

2) No drinking station at the tower. We like this because this means no water spillage and hence no slippery staircase. One drinking station at the ground was sufficient.

3) Prize presentation was held indoor! The bliss of aircon.

4) Free foot massage!!

5) Abundant 100plus and Sunquick drink after the run.

What can be improved in KOMTAR Tower Run

1) Didn’t get to enjoy the panoramic view of Penang. We were ushered down immediately after reaching level 60. Would have loved to hang out and enjoy the view from top after completing the climb.

2) No finisher medal....but we do get two certs though

3) Traffic control especially where the bus turn into KOMTAR the bus stop (see the video).

4) Chaotic race reporting at the start. Consider use of timing chip.

Looking forward for the next trip to Penang already....THE INTERNATIONAL PENANG BRIDGE RUN in November.

Jom pi Penang!

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