As part of my year-end self-mission to run at least one 10km a month, I signed up for the PJ Half Marathon – the 10km category, of course. I was actually rather worried as I really wanted a finisher medal, but according to the form, only the top 400 runners in the Women’s Open 10km category will get a medal.
I was worried because I wasn’t really sure how my time would be compared to the other runners. I think my time was about the average time of most runners, but I was not sure if there were many other runners who would be much faster than I am. But in the end, I decided to sign up because judging by my results from other 10km races, I wasn’t at the bottom, so I figured that I would qualify for the finisher medal for this one.
RUN DAY 7 DECEMBER 2014
The race pack collection was at the same place as the starting point of the run : the MBPJ sports stadium in Kelana Jaya. There were no portable toilets set up as there were washrooms in the stadium itself – but my visit to the washroom was very regrettable. There was no water available, and I don’t think I need further elaboration to explain how deplorable the state of the washroom was that morning.
This was the 10km route that morning:
We were flagged off a few minutes earlier than the scheduled 7:00am – so fortunately I was there in time, even though I had actually arrived later than I planned to. The start/finish line was at the road outside of the stadium, leading straight onto the road that led to the highway.
The route had its challenges. There was an uphill section when we ran from the Subang Airport highway up to Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), so that was tough!
Everytime I participate in these runs, I always feel sorry for the motorists who were held up because of the runners. As I was struggling up the road to LDP, I saw the half-marathoners on the other side of the highway running down from LDP to the Subang Airport highway. Cars were held up on the highway and were unable to turn down from LDP to the same highway, and motorists who couldn’t see what was going on were honking impatiently, wondering what was causing the jam that early in the morning.
There were distance markers placed along certain sections of the run, but not at regular 1km intervals. The route took us through the housing area in Kelana Jaya before leading us back to the Kelana Jaya stadium.
As I was jogging along the road in the housing area, I suddenly felt someone tapping me on my shoulder, and I turned around to see a former student, Yong Yi! Yong Yi is one of my darling students who was the assistant head prefect of the school in 2012. She told me that she had signed up at the last minute, and she was on her own that morning too. Of course I told her to run on as I knew I would just slow her down if we kept pace.
Even though it was less than 10km (it was only 9.3km), I felt it was such a struggle to complete the run – perhaps because my fitness level had dropped due to my missing gym workouts for the past two months due to a temporary work overload.
I was a little disappointed that I didn’t manage to beat my personal best, but still at least my time was more or less maintained.
The organization of the stalls at the finish line were… well, there were no stalls at the finish line. Most runs that I’ve joined distributed the medals right at the finish line, together with water bottles and bananas. I had to ask someone where to go to get the medals.
After crossing the line, runners had to keep moving forward on the road, and then turn left into the stadium, which was where the stalls for the medal, water and banana collection were.
Unlike all the other runs I’ve been in, there were no goodie bags in this run. Some runs give the goodie bags together with the race pack collection, and some distributed them at the finish line. The entry fee for this run is about the same as the other runs, which probably means that the organisers didn’t get enough sponsors in.
I had really expected more from this run as this was organized by the local council. While the organization was tolerably fine, it could have been a lot better.
Oh! And I needn’t have worried about making it to the top 400, because less than 300 people had signed up for my category.