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;
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
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.
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
29th January 2006