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Shah Alam 10K 2007 by Jamie Pang

Having not raced since the Penang Bridge Marathon, I wouldn't have turned up at the starting line if not for a certain someone's gentle prompting. Heh heh... It's not my usual "policy" to race in the absence of training. My weekly mileage has been hovering between 20-30K which will keep me somewhat healthy, will not make me sharp, certainly not for a hard race as a 10K. The only drawing factor was the curiosity to see how my recent string of hill running will serve me. I felt unready but not completely hopeless and I was quietly confident that all the hilly runs will see me through at least in 58 or 59 mins.

I registered online just before the Thursday cutoff time and collected my race bib on Saturday. I'd not run Shah Alam before and I heard about the challenging course. Munched a cereal bar and washed it down with Red Bull while driving there. As soon as I got there I spotted Ronnie, Draco, Steven, Naresh and a host of regular faces.

The first comment that I got from the SAAA official was to pin my bib on my chest - I had mine on the midriff section. That seems to be the standard SAAA response to all the races I'd been in the last 10 years. Somehow they have an obsession with the chest region. I just nodded and went off my way with nary a thought for these archaic rules.

With 30mins to go, I started my routine warmup along the partially closed road and positioned myself in the midpack section of the crowd. It didn't seem like a huge crowd - probably due to the clash of another nearby race and the long weekend. Regardless, medalling here would be very very tough with only 100 on offer.

The 205 started beeping the moment I started it, since I set my Alert threshold to 6:10 pace. Anything below it, the watch will beep. It took about 200m before it stopped as I began to hit a quicker pace. With the undulating route, my pace was very erratic. Hardly easy to maintain a consistent pace, but it hovered between 5:13 to about 4:53. I spotted Abu from a distance but bided my time until I passed him just after the Concorde Hotel. I had no particular problems scaling the climbs and I passed many over the entire course during the hilly sections. It even seemed easy at some points and with that, my confidence came back gradually.

Ran into Lai during one of the climbs and paced together for a while. As we turned one of the corner, we let out a simultaneous "S**t!" when we saw another hill looming. Kept my pace and went ahead. All went quite well, and the race officials were doing a fine job from traffic to water stations, until the final part of the race where we were misled through non-action on behalf of the traffic marshall. At the final roundabout, we were supposed to take the 3 o'clock direction. I distinctly saw the small sign but since no one ran that way but instead took the 12 c'clock direction, I followed suit. The marshall didn't stop anyone nor direct traffic, so everyone and everything went on assumption basis. If not for Ronnie, I wouldn't have hop over the divider to get back on course. There were general confusion and most made their anger known to the "blur" official. Another marshall got there in time and also lend the errant official a piece of his mind too. Many runners whom I'd overtaken earlier were suddenly in front of me. It wasn't right but in my tiredness, I gunned my engine to haul them back. I was running out of distance and the last 100m were over a steep uphill. Somehow, I scaled it in 4:30 pace.

The race route

It was amusing that Chen ended up behind me as he ran an additional 1.5K due to the mess-up. And somehow, there was still a medal for me. My timing of 51:27 over 10:15K ran was good by my standards, in view of lack of training. If ran according to the race route the distance was 9.6K, which was short, and even if I'd ran under 49 mins, I wouldn't have considered it my PR anyway. All said, it was a good run for me and the medal looks good too. The weather was perfect and if not for the bungling official, the morning would've seen far less unsatisfied runners.

Race Summary

Route Elevation

Nice medal and a garish shoe!

Distance: 10.15K
Elevation: Undulating
Timing: 51:27


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