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About Us > Background

Why A Website?
The thought of starting this website was at the back of my mind when I went into my last year as the President of Pacesetters Athletic Club, Malaysia (PACM) in 2004. I decided not to proceed with the plan till I served the mandatory one year as advisor to the club that would expire by 18th March 2006. I would try my best to complete all the outstanding commitments to PACM before I refocus. The Great Eastern Pacesetters 30km 2006 on 22nd January 2006 was my last official duty as a member of the PACM EXCO. In future my role in PACM would be determined by the next EXCO if needed and on an “invitation” basis.

I have been studying the website of Road Runners Club of America; www.rrca.org for a number of years and I am very inspired by it. I would not want to imitate it right away as we are not ready for this. Instead, we set ourselves a more modest target of providing a one stop website for all parties related to running in Malaysia. At the moment, we have only 3 websites catering for running; PACM’s www.pacesetters.com.my, Ipoh Road Runners’, www.ipohroadrunners.org and Kuala Lumpur Association of Veteran Athletes’, www.klavarunners.info and perhaps half a dozen of running blogs. The national body governing athletics, MAAU and all the State AAAs do not have their websites. We believe as a matter of time, MAAU and the State AAAs as one of the eight core sports identified by the government will their own websites, we intend to start the ball rolling by providing the service to them in www.runnersmalaysia.com.my. We notice that in the United States of America, nearly every running clubs listed in the Road Runners Club of America have their own website. We believe as a matter of time, we get there. This website service of ours is just to provide the incubation for those that do not have their own website yet.

Why is it we make such a big deal about having a website catering for running. The answer is simple, the statistics have shown that the percentage of younger Malaysians involved in running is lower than the veterans. The younger Malaysians are more Internet savvy and generally depend on the internet for information more than any other medium. While we do not think that having a one stop website for running would solve all the issues, we believe having a permanent internet communication platform is crucial moving forward.

Meaningful Use of Our Saturdays
My partner, Jamie Pang and I are from the banking industry. We just got the good news that the banking industry are going into 5 days week from 1st February 2006. This is great start for us as we have the whole Saturday for us to carry out our activities that we are planning to promote running using our website as the platform. It would also mean another 70,000 bank employees throughout the country have their Saturday mornings to sleep late, engage in local tourism or visit the shopping complex more! Hopefully, a fraction of them would use Saturday mornings to exercise and maybe some may take up running as a viable exercise program. We intend to capture this tiny bit that some would want to start running in one of the many lovely parks in the country. We try to facilitate this by providing an entry level or beginners training program. We hope over a period of time, this program can be sustainable and spread out to all the parks in the Klang Valley and across the country. These little Saturday groups would generate some individuals who may wish to take over the leadership of their groups. Upon the stabilization of one group, we move on to start another group in another park and hopefully before long, we have several Saturday groups in the Klang Valley. We hope some of these groups are motivated enough to form their own teams to take part in team events like the adidas FTAAA Pacesetters 4 x 3km on 18th June 2006. If the passion and commitment is strong enough, we would encourage the formation of clubs from these groups. On the other hand, if the intention is to join a functioning club, we would recommend PACM as the club of choice.

While we welcome anyone who wishes to run, our primary target is the 20 to 35 age group. We have intentionally target this group as statistics from the public runs have indicated that the response from the non-veterans is less encouraging than the veterans. We see this as a negative trend in the country, if not corrected would means a less healthy nation over time. A less healthy nation would mean a less productive one and a higher national medical cost. I am approaching 50 of age and in the last 10 years, I have not fallen sick to miss office, except for one day sick leave when I got German Measles. I normally run about 30km a week, spread over 4 to 5 mornings each week. I do about 8 half marathons a year and enjoy it without getting injured. It is a sustainable program and a healthy one that I intend to keep going as long as I could.

We understand what we are doing is a small effort and we do not have the national machinery behind us. However, we believe a little effort in the right direction is better than no effort at all. We do what we can within our capacity and hope it would move on like a contagious epidemic. If you want to put it nobly, we are trying to contribute to society in a small way.

Mission Statement
We inspire and encourage Malaysians to enjoy a healthier lifestyle via running. It is not a complicating mission statement but to get some tangible results in having younger Malaysians taking up running as their regular exercise program, we would need support from others, fellow members of PACM, sponsors, the media and of course young Malaysians who wish to run but need some encouragements. We target to start working on our plans with setting the website as the first milestone.

Wan Yew Leong
wanyewleong@gmail.com
29th January 2006

 

 

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