Monday, March 01, 2010

A Decade of Running With Passion

I was never good in sports in school. I was those people who prayed that the ball didn’t bounce to me so that i didn’t have to kick it in soccer practice. I was hopeless in track and field. I hated the cross country event – not sure how many km but it seemed like eternity. But how did I end up running now?

This year marks my 10th year in running. I got my very first finisher medal in the Penang Bridge Marathon 2000 and I am still at it, collecting a piece of metal at the end of the races that offer it. Heheh! I have done 1 mile dash, 3K,5K, 7K, 10K, 12K, 15K, 21K and 42Km (full marathon). I have yet to sign up for an ultra marathon even though I have completed several ultra walking events (12Hr & 24Hr walk). Well, one fine day I supposed. :)

My primary school friends who found me in Facebook shook their heads in disbelieve when they saw I actually run marathons.

If there is only one person I have to thank in my running “career”, that person has to be Amelia, for introducing running to me. She is tireless ball of energy. She used to be my colleague. Then, she would go around the departments promoting road races -she even did the registration and collection of race kits free of charge!

Mind you, at that time, no on-line registration was available. Everything has to be done in the FTAAA or Pacesetters office. We, the pampered ones just have to pay the entry fees and turn up for races. She would also offer to pick me up to the races as well. She still does till today.

Soon, 5km became 10km. 10 became 21km and before I knew it, 21km became full blown marathon. Thank you, Amelia.

Since 2000, I have been making "appearances" at local road races. Mostly as a runner. Sometimes as a supporter. Sometimes as a volunteer. And as of lately - as photographer.

I am not into it for the prize money because I am as slow as a tortoise. I simple was born that way...No Kenyan genes in me. Heheh! Well, I am glad that I am running at tortoise pace. Less prone to injury and I get to enjoy the sceneries more. I kind of bought in the philosophy behind “Slow is beautiful” by eco-marathoner, Hajime Nishii. I just run at my own pace. As long as I finish within the qualifying time, I am happy. I don’t even wear a watch for my races, relying on the time displayed on my camera when I snap a photo.

Running is the simplest form of aerobic exercise. Take away all those technical apparels, expensive high tech soles, fuel belt, titanium chains, gps, heartbeat monitor, artificially flavoured energy gels, compression underwear etc; all you need is a pair of running shoes (and sport bra if you are a girl..) to go the distance. That’s why I choose running - simply because it is simple.

Running has also opened up a huge circle of friends to me. Runners are generally good friendly people. Must have been the happy hormones generated from the run. But there are a few bitchy ones, but let’s not go there. LOL!

Most of my friends inside my Facebook are from my running circles. Sometimes, I would just accept friend request from someone who is wearing running vest in the profile picture without hesitation! LOL! Some I am not even sure whether we have met! I’m so sorry if I didn’t greet you at races even though you are in my FB friends. It is just that I don’t have a photographic memory up there. (Insert sincere apology here)

I love to see familiar faces in the road races especially those out of town or overseas races.

I started blogging in 2004 when blogs just started to florish over the net. At that time, there were not many local blogsites for running. There were Jamie’s Loft (which was evolved to carboman.blogspot and now back to jamiepang.com), Pipot (incredibly in your face funny posts by the owner but now he shut down his site for no given reasons) and Penguin (The blogger passed away a few years ago – one of the pioneer running groups in Malaysia, now defunct who called themselves –The Penguins).

Then, came one Ronnie See and his the most happening blog in the whole of Jinjang Malaysia’s running scene – der Pacemaker Network.

Back to my own blog. I started it as a documentation of my running event. How is the route like? What is in the goodie bag? How is the water station like? Sort of a memoir complete with pictures - the must have goodie bag shot, the race start, me swaggering towards the finish line. :)

I know one day, like it or not, my memory will fail me no matter how much ginkgo biloba I consume.. So, I hope this blog can serve as “time machine” to bring back the good ol’ times in my golden years.

I also use my blog to compare the current race with the previous years’ to track the improvement. Some really improved but certain races I would avoid like them a plague. But of course everything is based on my words and pictures and video. ;)

If you notice, even though my blog is loaded with photos, I seldom put my own, almost never. I don’t want to scare babies. ;) Definitely no camwhoring in this blog. It is just not me. I prefer to post pics of the races and my friends’ than my own. I am really a shy person. :)

To organiser of runs/ event, if you want to drum up your event, feel free to send me your press releases, entry forms, flyers, and invitation to your launchings etc. I would be delighted to get the first hand info for the readers of this blog. Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara!

So, what have changed in the running scene in Malaysia for the past 10 years? Well, we still get the same people shouting at the starting point for things that go wrong at the last minutes while his “little solders” scrambles around like lipas kudung in certain road races.

And that nagging makcik MC at Dataran Merdeka. Well, she is still there – nagging runners to the start point like we were a bunch of kids.. LOL!

If you are observant enough, you would know what I am talking about. But hey, what would we do without them right? They have been part and parcel of the Malaysian running scene for at least the last decade now. It will not be the same without them.

The one thing that changed for sure - the entry fees. They have sky-rocketed! There are hardly any RM10 races anymore! (Insert big holes in the pocket). Sigh! The use race timing chips has improved the accuracy and speed of result publication. Now we even have disposable timing chip – we don’t even have to pay the RM50 deposit for the chip anymore.

Night road races are being introduced on Saturday nights – so that you can sleep through Sunday morning. The numbers of full marathon races have increased in Malaysia. There used to be two - KL International Marathon & Penang Bridge Marathon when I started in 2000.

This year we get spoilt for choices with five confirmed marathons – Putrajaya Night Marathon, Energizer Night Race, Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Borneo Marathon and Penang Bridge International Marathon.

Some of the well loved events like Malay Mail Big Walk, PJ Half Marathon, Subang 10K, Larian Mesra Bersama Polis and Power Run had disappeared from the event calendar for few years now. I think Larian Bersama Polis should be organised again to whip those fat policemen into shape. LOL!

More and more African runners have been seen invading the lucrative local road races. These lean running machines are a threat to the rice bowls of local runners. There used to be a time when the top prizes in the road races were dominated by the Indians but not anymore. Good or bad? Good - they give local runners a run (pun intended) for their money. Bad? They leave our country with our Ringgit!

Those are some of my observations. I love to hear your thoughts. Do leave your comments.

Overall, the future of running looks bright in Malaysia. People are getting more health conscious. More and more people take up running – many of the registration for races close early because the target numbers of runners are met before the deadlines.

This year I plan to run a full marathon at where it all began – Penang Bridge Marathon! I collected my first finisher medal of a ½ marathon category in year 2000 in Penang. I am looking forward to “celebrating” my 1oth year anniversary in running by completing a 42.195km in Penang.

If you see a guy running with a camera (and sometimes a tripod!), do come by and say hi! :) I usually don’t make the first move....being a shy guy that I am. Heheh!

Hope you enjoy reading this blog. As long as my feet are willing, I will bring more exciting pics and videos from the road races in and around Malaysia. Do follow me on Twitter for the latest updates.

Regards,

runwitme.


15 Comment Wit Me:








Khoo Yit Kiat

said...

Article well written!! Yeah, who can forget the makcik who still treat us like school kids asking us to masuk the "kandang". Like we'
re cows!!





jue

said...

wah . . . .. this is cinya ultra long article. hhmmmmm 10 years into all that one page or so . .

u soon will turn into a famous paparazi for runners liao . . LOL

thank you for unselfishly capturing our jialat faces during road races.





Anonymous

said...

Hi Runwitme

I was introduced to your blog by a close friend whom I worked with sometime back. Her daughter, Lourdes is a big fan of yours. I am impressed with your writeup and also incorporate running into my workout sessions. As you are aware I shall be visiting your country soon, I hope to see you at my concert. Maybe I can hook up some backstage passes for you and some posse to hang out with me before and after the show.

Babyface





Anonymous

said...

Indeed, your running hobby came as a surprise when I first saw you being featured in The Star newspaper a couple of years ago.
Time changes and people change. In this case, I salute you for venturing into something that originally you were not good at. That is what I call constantly challenging yourself to be better and better. Kudos!





Anonymous

said...

Hi!!!!

Its been quite a while since I wrote but I have been following your blog. Did Babyface write to you coz I told him about your site and since he's going to perform there.

Mommy is really bz with her new movie W.E. She's going to LA today for some casting or something and I'm stuck in New York. At least no kab-blah-blah-blah when she ain't around. Hate those sessions.

Will you be getting mommy's new tour DVD? I've seen it...and its nice. Tell me what you think. I promise not to tell anyone if its bad...i know how it is when i give constructive criticisms to mom. As you know mommy does not wear any makeup at home and when stares at you with THAT face, no shiz its scary!

Love
Lourdes





Anonymous

said...

Love ur blog and the pix + vids (& tongue-in-cheek) :)
Keep on running & keep on blogging!

Shy meh? I dun think so :P


=..=
Kitty more shy





Haza

said...

Happy 10th Anniversary and here's to many more.

Have always been trying to guess your age, hehehe, but I'll soon find out when you'll be running in jr vet cat.

Thanks for all your memorable pix, witty captions and enlightening writeups.





Yin

said...

Congratulations on your 10 years of running. Like you, I never liked sports in school but have learnt to love running!

I think the first time we met was at the Watson's Walk in 2007 :) We sat on the Eye Of Malaysia together with my mum and dad and some friends. Good times!

Thank you for featuring my family in your blog pictures and videos, it's always such a thrill to be able to spot my dad's face (when he was still around) and mum's too. As well as mine :D

And yeah, I know what you mean by the MC makcik...LOL!

It's always been a pleasure reading all your posts, do keep it up. Here's to many, many, many more blog entries!





dannie chOOng

said...

wow ! 10 years liow huh ? me only into my 3rd year of running. very well written article. i check on your blog almost every week to get an update and find your picture blog very interesting. maybe in 10 years time i might just write something similar to yours here. hehehehe :)





Yang-May Ooi

said...

Hi there - I recently found your blog and I've been reading it for a few months now. I enjoy following all the Malaysian running news you post up as well as your personal running etc. Congratulations on reaching your 10th year of running.

Thanks for sharing your story about how you started running. I'm also a late starter, never having been any good at sports at school. I always preferred books and reading - and in fact until recently, I've mainly been following the Malaysian litbloggers. Then when I started running last year, I discovered a whole new world of Malaysian "fitbloggers" like you!

Keep up the running and blogging!





CK

said...

happy 10 years!
and thanks to my short stint in you-know-where, i got to know so many friends like you.
anyway, see you in few months time and please lah.... dun fly plane again lah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





tolldoll

said...

I am a silent reader and your blog was one of the first I read when I started.

I enjoyed this post. Especially the part about how simple running is when you chuck out all the technology. I agree. I try to stay as simple as possible in running, as well as other sports.





Jamie

said...

Cinya ho chiak I mean Ho Liao! Congrats on your 10 years of fun and bringing us the writeups and photos. Long may you continue!





kenneth

said...

I'm foreigner. Your blog with pictures is wonderful. Especially when I want to consider whether to sign up for events in Msia. Haven't yet. But hopefully one day soon. :)





~sientzi~

said...

Keep running...
Keep blogging....
Keep photos shooting....
Multiple of 10 years to come.......




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