It was a little disappointing to have the second run in a row to have no timing device. Last week, after observing the lack of a timing device on the bib of Possible Run, I took the race pack for this run from Farah who helped me collect it and opened it… to find another bib that had no timing device. Not only that, this is the first time I have a race bib that had no number, and only my name.
This was the Rimbayu #Runwithme – By My Side And On MySide 10km run, held on 29 March 2015.
There was no other information provided in the race packs – no booklet or leaflet about the venue or preparation for the run. However, organisers did keep the participants updated via email and SMS; I kept receiving reminders about the race pack collection, as well as an email with the race route and an SMS informing us about road closure that was planned at 6:45am (run supposed to start at 7am).
It turns out that this was supposed to be only a fun run… I am not sure if this was competitive, but it sure didn’t look like it – meaning there were no prizes awarded for the top runners. It was a pretty long fun run though; there was only one distance category (10km). Most fun runs were much shorter, of about only 3km or 5km.
I arrived a little bit later that I planned to this morning, but was still in time for the run. I didn’t join the warm-up session, but I heard the voice blaring through the speakers from afar as I walked towards the venue from my car… “JUMP! JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!” I was also quite horrified to hear the person leading the warm-ups telling participants to go into squats – and to HOLD the positions – as well as jumping lunges. Sometimes these people forget that the warm-ups are supposed to get runners to increase mobility and blood flow and to loosen their joints and muscles to decrease possibility of injury, NOT to sweat it out and make their muscles ache!
I was with Farah near the Start arch when the microphone was passed to another instructor who was to lead the cardio dance warm-up. The warm-up area near the stage was some distance from the Start line, and I could hear the disappointment in the instructor’s voice when she saw people leaving the area. I could see the crowd moving from the warm-up area to the Start line. She gamely kept going though. But again I thought that the organisers had completely missed the point of providing a led warm-up session. Cardio dance would end up tiring the runners, who would rather reserve the energy to complete the upcoming 10km run.
The emcee then moved to the front of the Start line, speaking into the microphone… except that we could barely hear him, because the speakers were all set up near the stage, and none near the Start line. We were flagged off only at about 7:10am.
Farah and I got separated, because I wanted to try to improve my own personal best, whereas Farah decided to take a stroll because she wasn’t feeling too well. So I ran on ahead, thinking that maybe this time I could improve my pace. I really had no idea what to expect, because we were not briefed at all. I found out it was a “fun run” and not a competitive run only when we approached the first “Sustainable Living” checkpoint – we dipped our hand in paint and put our handprint on a large board. They provided wet wipes for us to clean our hands of the paint, but they were not sufficient; a lot of runners towards the back didn’t get enough to clean their hands with. This is because a lot of the runners at the beginning grabbed a lot of wipes to clean their hands, and to be honest you can’t blame them; one wet wipe was not enough to get the paint off.
There were a total of four such checkpoints. The second was a “limbo rock” section (which was really lame – almost no one did that. I just did one for the fun of it). The third one gave each participant a “Happy Family” card (we were supposed to get into families of four, and the first 50 families to gather would get a prize of RM200 each). The fourth got the participants to tie little paper tags on small potted trees, sort of as a promise to do more for the environment because each paper tag had statements like “I will turn off the faucet or the switch when not in use”.
The checkpoints were completely optional of course; you didn’t have to do them if you didn’t want to.
There were only two drink stations provided – at the 2.5km mark and the 7.5km mark. No water was provided; only yellow Gatorade.
There were also no portable toilets throughout the route. And at one of the U-turns on the route, we were given a green ribbon (ribbons seem to be choice method of “checkpoints” nowadays) – not that we were checked when we collected our finisher medal.
The goodie bag and medal were distributed after the Finish line. I was a little unfortunate – I was given a goodie bag that had no medal. But of course they allowed me to switch to a complete one.
The goodie bag was rather empty, with only a water bottle and a car sunshade. However the bag was a really nice one; it was made of jute, and was quite a reasonable size. Definitely one that I would like to use regularly!
We could also collect apples and buns and ice-cream, although I opted out of the last one; I didn’t feel like having an ice-cream just after a run.
Needless to say, because of the “fun” elements, my time did not improve at all. I gave up trying to improve my time when I saw all the checkpoints, and instead took my time taking photos and attempting to engage in the fun. Farah admitted to me that she didn’t feel up to completing the ENTIRE 10km route (she was actually hobblng along quite badly)… but fortunately she still managed to collect the finisher medal! To be honest, the route provided ample opportunities for cutsies because there were several U-turns on the route; meaning that we used both sides of the road on the route. There was even one very long stretch that went on for about 1km on both sides of the road. I am sure that many people sneakily cut across to the other side without reaching the U-turn! But then it didn’t really matter since time was not recorded, and anyway it was only a fun run.
The event was obviously created only to promote the properties in Bandar Rimbayu. There was a carnival with fun stations and activities planned throughout the day; great for families with young children.
There were very few photographers at the event; I personally saw one at the beginning when the runners were flagged off, and one at the fourth checkpoint. I cannot tell you if it was the same photographer because I was not looking at him.
We didn’t stay for the carnival because I had a family lunch to attend to after. Overall, not too bad; just that we really didn’t know what to expect. So obviously my time for today was worse than usual, because I stopped at all the four checkpoints, and took a lot of photos (for this blog!).
The medal, as the emcee kept saying, was only a half-medal; he kept saying that if we wanted the other half, we would have to join this run again next year. What a way to try to get the runners to come back! I am not sure if I will join again next year as I think I would like to focus on more serious runs. But still, this was quite an experience.
So did I have fun on this fun run? I think I would have had more fun had I known what was going to be provided within the route, because then I would have strolled along with Farah and taken more photos during the many fun stations, instead of running ahead and trying to improve my time in vain. The organisers did try their best though, and I am sure that many people did have fun. It was a good try, and I hope that next year’s effort will be more successful!