As another year draws to a close, let's have a look back at what's brought us here. The good, the bad and the ugly in the Malaysia’s running landscape in 2015 as seen from our hazy eyes. Heheh! Were there other notable highlights of the year apart from the haze and more haze? Let’s have a look.
1. The haze that won’t go away
The incessant land burning from Indonesia has robbed us two of the most important marathon events in Malaysia, not to mention a series of other shorter runs. They were eithr postponsed or cancelled all together. Standard Chartered KL Marathon decided to call it off after the API reading shot through the roof on the eve of the run. Two weeks later, the Putrajaya Night Marathon suffered the same fate. It was the worst year for running! (Insert coughing sound effect here).
2. Hari Sukan Negara
The brainchild of Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, trying to get 3 million Malaysia off the couch and on their feet on 10 October. We love the idea of all Malaysian coming together to becoming a sporting nation but on the other hand why cramp all nice events into a day? We have like over 15 running events nationwide. Could have been better if they are spread over a month or something!
3. #KeepTheDate #SCKLM4Oct
Some people said it was hijack. Some people said it was a robbery. But whatever your mom called it, we were not very happy with the sudden date change of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon from 4 Oct (Sunday) to 10 Oct (Saturday), so that it would coincide with Hari Sukan Negara. With the help of the running MP, Dr. Ong Kian Meng, we staged a protest at Taman Botani Perdana to bring the date back to 4 October and we won! But the victory didn’t taste as sweet because the marathon was cancelled due to haze! Hurm…
4. Car-free Morning X2
Kudos for Kuala Lumpur City Council, DBKL on the Car Free Morning initiative in 2014. It got better in 2015 because the frequency is increased to twice a month. City-dwellers like you and me get to run, jog, walk, cycle, rollerblade, roller skate, skateboard, handcycle etc at peace in the city centre. INFO: https://www.facebook.com/carfreemorning
5. Malaysia International Marathon. NOT!
It was launched with much fanfare (complete with a theme song) in January only to be cancelled due to some internal problems in The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). The controversial Malaysian International Marathon (MIM) 2015 was planned at the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang on May 23-24 as part of OCM's 60th anniversary celebrations. Read more about it HERE and HERE.
6. Under Armour arrived on our shore
The wait was over! The first store of the American sports label, Under Armour opened its door at KL’s leading landmark and shopping destination – Suria KLCC. Before the year is over, three more outlets opened at Pavilion, Sunway Pyramid and Mid Valley, making it one of the fastest growing sport brands in Malaysia!
7. Nike’s Half Marathon Upgrade
A field of 8,000 athletes raced toward their personal bests at Nike’s We Run Kuala Lumpur 21K. For the first time, the race featured a 21K distance, making it one of three cities to host a half-marathon distance in the global Nike We Run Race Series, which aims to inspire athletes to push themselves beyond their limits and unleash their potential.
8. The Glow Debacle
OMG! We have not heard so many problems with a run before! And Glow 5.5km didn’t come cheap. At Rm101 (standard price) for a 5.5km run, it was definitely one of the most expensive runs in Malaysia. It was postponed to 16 May 2015 from 18 April 2015. Then the venue changed from KL Tower to Dataran Merdeka and then to Setia City Alam! And that were just the start of a slew of problems from technical glitches, Groupon problem, shuttle bus issue and cheap medal leaving thousands of angry runners. We hope all those demanded for refund go their money back! Read more about the grouches HERE.
9. Run Like A Werewolf
Move over zombies. On Friday, July 31st, 2015, Asia’s first ever werewolf-themed urban obstacle night race took Putrajaya by storm, leading over 2,000 participants through a series challenging hurdles over a 10km route. BloodRunner 2015 is the brainchild of local experiential agency, Switch Strategies Sdn Bhd, and is endorsed by Malaysia Major Events, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.
10. Adidas The Official Apparel for SCKLM
Adidas, the world’s top sports brand has became the Official Apparel partner for the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2015, supplying the authorised marathon racing top. Tailored to suit for the marathon, the licensed merchandise range included the Fall/Winter 2015 Supernova Glide BOOST running shoes series, the ‘run’ ClimaLite® top for men and women, a limited edition cap as well as a handy water bottle by adidas. Too bad the marathon was cancelled. (Insert a loud wail here).
11. Reebok Spartan Race Debuts in Malaysia
Reebok Spartan Race, the world’s leading obstacle race finally debut in Malaysia as one of the flagship events of the inaugural National Sports Day on 10 October. Obstacle course racing is now the fastest growing participatory sport in the world, which is reflected in Malaysia with organisers, Total Sports Asia (TSA) and Spartan Race Inc, opening up a second day of racing on 11 October due to demand.
12. Out from the haze, into the rain storm
It was a very unfortunate evening for Puma Night Run participants. The run was cancelled mid-way of the run due to heavy rain and thunderstorm. The rain storm sent runners running helter-skelter for cover. The start/ finish arch collapsed due to the storm and fell on a runner. Thank God, he was not seriously injured. For the convenience of the runners, PUMA Malaysia promised to send the medal and other entitlement pack to runners who did not managed to collect them that evening.
13. Beware of Scammers
Police are seeking a 29-year-old man believed to be the organiser of the Borneo Mud Challenge race that failed to take place on 27 September despite fees collected from participants. Kota Kinabalu police chief Assistant Commissioner M. Chandra said police are looking for a Jonathan John Jipil, from Kampung Potoki, Lok Kawi, Penampang, who became uncontactable after the event fell through. A total of 29 police reports have been lodged at various districts, involving some 153 people and RM20,267 in paid fees, with others, including international visitors, who have yet to make reports. Read more HERE.
14. Dubious Race Cancellation/ Postponement
There are a few road races that were cancelled without any solid reasons after money has exchanged hands. Short of being a scam, these race organisers decided to cancel the run at the last minute leaving runners hanging. . We wish to highlight it here and we urged those affected to lodge a police report if the refund due was not done. We as runners must know our rights as paying customers. Let's stand united to weed out bad race organisers. Rungasm, HRDF Half Marathon and Man United Supporters Peace Run, you are on our blacklist.
16. Till Running Do Us Apart
Our heart bleed when we heard about the unfortunate news. Two deaths were reported during running events in 2015. As runners, we should take responsibility of our own health and educate ourselves on how to run safely. Never, never run if you are feeling unwell. Check out safety tips from, fitness guru Dave Nuku HERE.
17. No Color Run
The run dubbed The Happiest 5K On The Planet did not materialised in 2015 after a successful run the year before. The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants, or “Color Runners”, are doused from head to toe in different coloured powder at each kilometer. It was supposed to be held mid September this year. We heard the main sponsor pulled out after an unrelated incident in Taiwan where 500 people were injured when flammable powder exploded in midair in a theme park. Read about the Taiwan incident HERE and HERE.
18. The Age of Ultron
What is Ultron? We asked the CEO of Ultron. Her reply was simple. It is an abbreviation for Ultra Marathon. Basically, they want to produce apparels for active people who like to go the distance (literally or figuratively). Ultron has been very supportive of local races, sponsoring the running apparels made with their Microdry materials. Located at Nu Sentral, the Ultron retail outlet was officially launched on 20 December, giving runners like us a new destination for affordable trendy sportwear. INFO: http://ultron.club/
So there. 18 memorable moments in the Malaysia's running scene last year as seen from our eyes. We would love to hear your experience too. Do leave your comments.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016!