I believe that we’re
on the cusp of witnessing a running boom in this country.
After being away for some time from the KLCC
Park, I was pleasantly surprised at seeing the increased
number of runners lapping the 1.3K loop during my last
few runs there. The path is getting crowded, yes, but
like what my ex-boss used to say, it’s a “happy problem”.
You can’t really complain when more people are taking
it outdoors and exercising.
Then there’s the increasing number of races that we’re seeing
the first half of the year. On April 25th alone, there will
be 4 races happening: The BHP Orange Run, Bidor Half Marathon,
Subang Jaya 10K (which is run on one of the fastest route
in the Klang Valley) and Jogathon Warisan. Each a compelling
run in itself. I’ve no experience in the Bidor and Warisan
races (which attract large and competitive fields) but if
you’re weighing between BHP and Subang, you may want to relive
my races reports by clicking on each image below. Whichever
you decide, you can be assured of a great run.
Click to read the race report
Click to read the race report
Night races in particular are currently enjoying a nice spell
with the recent Putrajaya Night Marathon and the upcoming
Night Marathon. Never have Malaysians, and to a certain
extent our close neighbour Singaporeans, been so spoilt for
marathons. Amidst this growth in the number of events, I’m
curious to see how the organizers of this year’s Standard
Chartered KL Marathon will work to salvage the lost trust
of last year’s race.
Other than the night races, we’re starting to see niche events
too. I know of several in the pipeline and of course, there’s
the well received Salomon X-Trail, Genting Trailblazer and
the Telekom Towerthon of last year. If we can get an ultra
marathon going here, won’t that be great?
The start of the 2009 BHP Run.
Popular local races like the adidas King Of The Road, BHP
Orange Run, Bidor Half Marathon and Penang Bridge Marathon
continue to thrive while the in-between distances are covered
by the Pacesetters 30K, Bareno 15K, Centro Klang 12K and NB
15K, complementing the bread and butter races by the FTAAA.
In all this mix let’s not forget but instead recognize the
roles of running clubs like Pacesetters,
Bidor Runners Sports and Recreation Club, Batu
Pahat Marathon Club, Klang
Pacers and Ipoh
Road Runners who continue to actively perform their role
as the catalyst with their signature races. As are running
groups such as Der
Ayam Runners and RunnersMalaysia, the first two focusing
on moving beginners to the intermediate level and the latter
on getting beginners off the Couch of Doom to the outdoors.
Organizing pot-luck breakfast runs are fun way to socialize
and bring in new runners. Photo showing the turnout of RunnersMalaysia's
3rd Anniversary Breakfast Run.
Which brings to the exploration of the question of “why?”.
Why the apparent increase in runners and races? It definitely
has nothing to do with prize money. The races here are spartan
in terms of such awards with the exception of the KL Marathon.
Numbers should also be dwindling due to the increase in entry
fees for some races but this isn’t happening. Instead call
for entries are closing well before the deadlines. I don’t
have an answer. Maybe there’s no singular explanation but
several contributing factors.
Running in Kampar, scene of the 2009 Kampar Friendship Run
On a more subtle level, perhaps the Internet, running blogs
and websites, and other social media tools are becoming so
pervasive that information is much more readily available
as are education on the sport.
How do we keep this momentum going? I hope corporations
will roll out fitness programs such as workshops, Get Healthy
Month and weekly runs within the companies. They can also
support and, or, get into sponsoring events. As individuals
we can continue to encourage newbies by running with them
and pointing them to the many physical and online resources
available. Start a blog to document your journey to fitness
because you’ll never know who you’ll touch and inspire. Start
twittering on quality content and setup a Facebook
community. Continue to eat and live right because it shows
and will rub off your friends and colleagues.
Large turnout on last year's Salomon X-Trail
Only time will tell if the apparent boom is real or merely
perceived – sizzle or fizzle. Obviously we need hard numbers
like total entries, finishers across age groups etcetera over
a number of key races.
Like my other
passion in photography, it’s an exciting time to be a
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