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Wan's Column - Looking Forward And Safety On The Run

Season Break
The commencement of the fasting month is a welcomed break from all the competitive runs. While I have not been active this year, having taken part in only 4 races, the intense competitive calendar for the active runners usually take a toll on the tired legs. During the fasting month the non-Muslim runners come back to the Bukit Aman base to have their usual dose of our beloved double hill, catching up at Bukit Aman car-park after the run to trade news on future races and the great experience of the just concluded season. After the Sunday morning runs, most of us PACM members normally adjourn for breakfast and one of the more popular spots is the corner coffee shop at Jalan Tungshin, near the Bukit Bintang area. It is not unusual to have nearly 30 PACM members gather there for breakfast, joining 5 or 6 tables in a long row outside the shop. This is the very nice part of the runners’ culture, having a good time together after a good morning long run and exchanging news on the next local or vacation run. Incidentally, the next 3 runs are all out of town; Bidor, Ipoh and Singapore.

I notice this kind of camaraderie spirit does not only exist in PACM, it is also very prominent in other running clubs that I encountered; such as the Ipoh Road Runners Club and the Batu Pahat Marathon Club.

This year I have not been taking part in too many races, only 5 as at season breaks:

1. Ambank Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (2hr 6mins 18 secs)
2. UTAR Charity Run (50mins 49secs)
3. Putra Jaya International Marathon (2hr 6mins 33 secs)
4. Mizuno Wave Run (58mins 47 secs)
5. Chinwoo Biathlon (1hr 4mins 3 secs with 800mins swim at 21mins 44 secs/7km run at 42mins 19 secs)

I think for someone of my running capabilities and age, I am reasonably satisfied with the results. I have been slowing down with age but so far I have managed to keep it at one minute a year for the half marathon; ie running 2hr 1 minute in 2001 and now 2hr 6 minute in 2006. If this trend is to be kept, I must target 2 hr 7 minute for 2007.

The previous Sunday’s Chinwoo Biathlon was a welcome change from all the running. I have not been swimming during most of the fasting month as I could not leave office earlier for my usual Friday swim. I caught up with 2 practices during the Hari Raya break and managed a credible 21 mins, doing breast stroke in 31 out of the 32 laps. Breast stroke is my favorite stroke but it uses more leg power as compared to free style. By the time Peter Lim pull me out of the pool (too high for me to climb out after the swim!), my legs were rubbery. I must have run my slowest 7km in recent years, averaging 6mins per km. I told Bruce Wun, our swimming rooky, that I will not be the last to come out of the pool since he is participating. We traded a side bet with a roast goose lunch as incentive; I give him a 10mins handicap for the 800m swim leg. The poor chap swam 41 mins and held back the start of the Third Wave for the Men Category. We must give him a special medal for trying as he only starting swimming very recently and I feel bad for not giving him a higher handicap. I think I give him a 15 mins handicap next year on the assumption he improves.

I will round up the year with 7 events and I shall be doing the KRI 12km Cross Country on 19 Nov 06 and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon on 3rd Dec 06.

Most of us are already looking at the 2007 Calendar as far as planning goes, in particularly the regional runs. I hope to take part in at least one and hopefully two. I have short-listed five runs to choose from depending on the timing and work commitments. These are:

1. The ING Temple Run on 18 March 2007
2. The Phuket Half Marathon on 17 June 2007
3. The River Kwai Half Marathon in September 2007
4. The Bangkok Marathon in November 2007
5. The Angkor Wat Half Marathon in December 2007

I shall skip the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon to allow time to rotate to other runs, after having done it for 4 consecutive years (2003 to 2006). I just got the bad news that the ING Temple Run for 2007 is off as ING has decided not to sponsor the event.

As for the local runs, the following are my picks:

1. The Great Eastern Pacesetters 30km on 21st January 2007
2. The PJ Marathon on 28th January 2007
3. The Ambank Kuala Lumpur International Marathon on 4 March 2006
4. The New Balance Pacesetters 15km on 20th May 2007
5. The UTAR Charity Run in Ipoh in June 2007
6. The Penang International Bridge Run in July 2007
7. Putra Jaya Marathon in Sept 2007
8. The PACM Kuantan TC Run (if on)
9. The Mizuno Wave Run
10. Chinwoo Biathlon in October 2007
11. The Bidor Half Marathon (if on)
12. The KRI 12km Cross Country Run

Wan finishing the recent Mizuno Wave Run>>



I think a decent dosage of about 12 runs in a year is about right and these are to my mind the quality runs. I am looking forward to a whole new season participating as a senior veteran for some of the events as I turn 50 in August 2007.

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon – A Run Away Success
While the marathons in Malaysia are struggling to get participation, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon achieved its 30,000 target before the end of September 2006, only 2 months after it opened for registration on 21st July 2006. I have discussed it in the past on some of the critical success factors involved and the gap is widening so much so that even the balance of the die hard marathon runners in Malaysia are giving priority to overseas marathons over the local marathons. Well, this is the reality about globalization where the winner takes it all (Quote from the Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman)

MAAU – Changing Of Guards
MAAU, the national body governing athletics in the country saw a change of guards with 2 top men leaving; President, Datuk Mohamed Syed Aidid Syed Murtaza who did not seek re-election and Deputy President, Admiral (rtd) Datuk Danyal Balagopal who resigned after failing to get elected as president. I got to know both men when I was the president of Pacesetters Athletic Club, Malaysia; they were our guests when we launched the New Balance FTAAA Pacesetters 4 x 2km in 2001 and the adidas FTAAA Pacesetters 4 x 3km in 2004. Both are good capable men who truly love the sports. However, sadly their passion was not enough to turn around the fortunes of MAAU. The new president, a politician, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim is a man with too many positions. I am not sure he knows what he is in for but from the interview with the New Straits Times on 15 October 2006, he is very confident he could do things better. Athletics is a very measurable sport and with our potential athletes dropping out the moment they completed their SPM, I do not see how we could change the fortune in the foreseeable future. Perhaps I am too pessimistic and I like to be proven wrong.

Safety on the Run (Read also this related article)
Last Saturday, after our Beginners’ Running Program, I was having breakfast at Imbi Food Village with Chong Ting Chow when Ngae KH (our barefoot lawyer) rang me to tell me that Keshab Kumar was ran down by a motor cyclist. He together with several other PACM members (PK Chan, Teresa Goh, Pek Yah and Janet) were doing their 30km practice run for the Bangkok Marathon at the end of November 2006. Keshab suffered a fractured leg beside bruises all over. Keshab is the fine Nepalese gentleman who is one of the top finishers in the Genting 24 Hours Walk, despite at an elderly age of over 60. He had planned to go for the coming Penang 12 Hour Walk this year.

After my breakfast I met PK Chan and the rest at the emergency ward at the General Hospital when he was given treatment. The decision to do the 30km practice on Saturday instead of Sunday was due to a combination of reasons, PACM’s 30km practice run on 12th November 2006 is for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is too near to the Bangkok Run and on 5th November 2006, there is the Subang Jaya 10km that the group would like to take part in; therefore the decision to do the 30km on Saturday. The volume of traffic towards Sri Hartamas on a Saturday morning is pretty heavy, unlike Sundays. After more than 2 hours on the road, runners tend to be less alert with their surrounding and may not see or hear a motor cycle coming towards them, hence the accident. I would urge runners to avoid doing their long runs on the road during Saturdays as the traffic is still heavy as compared to Sundays. Another individual I am very concern about is Bruce Wun, he likes to run from his house at Kepong to Bukit Aman Car-park and then back to Kepong during weekdays! 2007 is round the corner and it is time to set your 2007 running target. Happy Running and be safe!

Wan Yew Leong
6 November 2006


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