Haze Running at Larian Bandar Diraja Oren Sport Run 2015

916-bandaroren2015So, in a bid to add more half-marathons to my list, Farah told me about this Malaysia Day run in Klang. I initially confused it with the BHP Orange Run which was only 12km and was on the same date as a dance competition I was going for (what’s with the orangey theme??) but Farah told me this was a half-marathon and it was on 16 September. Why not, I thought. Besides, it wasn’t very expensive – it was only RM45.

Perhaps that should have already been a red flag, but I didn’t think twice and signed up for it.

RACE PACK COLLECTION

Well… I didn’t collect the race pack myself. The race pack collection was over the weekend of 12-13 September which I was initially supposed to have a 12-hour run (which has been postponed due to the worsening haze), and on Tuesday 15 September during office hours. So needless to say, I had initially thought I couldn’t make the race pack collection myself, so I asked Farah to help me pick it up.

I had the email confirmation, which I forwarded to Farah. But then Farah couldn’t find her own email confirmation. She searched her emails to no avail. Then when she tried to login to the website at which the registration was made (http://mylifestyle.my/default.asp), her membership didn’t seem to exist on the website!

She was understandably frustrated, because she couldn’t find ANY information about her registration which she was very sure she made! So I tried logging into the website too, only to find my own registration had disappeared! I could sign up for a new account using the same email which I had initially registered with, which told me that the earlier membership accounts no longer existed. In my case, at least I had the email confirmation of my registration.

Fortunately, Farah managed to find proof of online payment, and decided to use that to collect the race packs.

Adiah’s friend collected the race packs on our behalf, and he told us that actually when he tried to pick it up for us, our names weren’t on the registration list! But fortunately there were the proof of payment and the email confirmation. And apparently they gave the race packs (the bibs did not have our names on them) with no fuss – which meant that the list of registered users was unreliable and very flawed.

When I saw the race bib, I was shocked… this was the first half-marathon I’ve joined that did not have a timing chip! No wonder it was so cheap!

My bib, which only has the number. No identifying name or other information provided during registration. The bib belt is my own. The blue ribbon was given during one of the checkpoints in the run.
My bib, which only has the number. No identifying name or other information provided during registration. The bib belt is my own. The blue ribbon was given during one of the checkpoints in the run.

RUN DAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2015

It had actually been hazy for a few weeks prior to this run. In my last run event, it had already been quite difficult to run in. The Bukit Cinta Ultra had also been postponed because of the worsening haze conditions. By Wednesday 16 September, the haze had cleared up a little bit although it was still present. The organisers chose to carry on with the event.

My selfie with the Start Line
My selfie with the Start Line
Farah and me before flag-off
Farah and me before flag-off

Without much warning or ceremony, the half-marathoners were suddenly flagged off, and we started our run in the dark.

I am not entirely familiar with Klang as I rarely come here, but throughout the run I passed by every single landmark I had visited, which included the dance studio I had visited before, the restaurant where I had attended the studio dinner and dance, and even the Pantai Hospital where I once went for a charity run.

The route was in itself actually quite monotonous; part of it involved a stretch on the highway which we ran straight along, made a U-turn, and ran on the other side all the way back.

There were quite a number of water stations though, which was good; water was dispensed in the form of the prepacked cups instead of having to pour them out into disposable cups. The volunteers made holes in the top of the cups so that we didn’t have to struggle with them ourselves, and we could drink straightaway.

Just hit the 10km mark! At least there were distance signages.
Just hit the 10km mark! At least there were distance signages.

Towards the end of the route though, there were not sufficient markers or marshalls. I would have lost my way if I didn’t have other runners in front of me to follow. In the last 3km as we neared the Finish line, the route involved us weaving through commercial areas, and I didn’t really know where to turn. It was lucky that I was not completely alone in that section of the run.

In fact, as we approached the field towards the Finish line, I didn’t really know where to go as well. The field was already crawling with runners who had finished their run (the half-marathon, 10km, and 5km) and some were even loitering on the run path itself. I had to stop and look around carefully before being able to see which route to take towards the Finish line.

I had been really hoping to improve my personal time in this run, but no such luck… my pace was still the same. I finished at 3h07:30m.

This was probably because I had slowed down several times while I tried to find my bearing and where to turn to… and also because I wore the wrong socks!

Actually I had worn these socks before in another run. These were heat socks that were supposed to help with recovery, and were supposed to be able to be worn during activity. Unfortunately, after about 5km, both my feet started to hurt at specific spots… and I obviously couldn’t change socks because I didn’t have any spare. So ignoring the pain, I doggedly continued for the remainder of the run.

The haze was also no help as the burning smell got worse as the sun rose, and made it hard to be able to breathe!

In addition to that, my Pedometer app in my phone stopped recording the run after 17km!!! So I couldn’t even have a complete reading of my hard-earned run for this morning…

I finally slowed to a limp only after crossing the Finish line, and collected my goodie bag, finisher medal, and finisher tee.

What's in our goodie bag.... the pink shirt is the running tee while the yellow shirt is the finisher tee. I collected my race pack from Adiah after the run, that's why the pink shirt is unworn.
What’s in our goodie bag…. the pink shirt is the running tee while the yellow shirt is the finisher tee. I collected my race pack from Adiah after the run, that’s why the pink shirt is unworn.

And the finisher medals for all distances were the same! Another black mark! I might as well have just run the 5km, because the finisher medal was identical. What was the point of running a half-marathon if I get the same medal anyway? There was no timing chip so I wasn’t going to get an e-certificate. Grr. The only extra thing I get is a rather ugly yellow finisher tee.

All in all… not a good event for me, from a personal point of view.

As for the organisation of the event, it was not too bad, aside from the lack of timing chips and the messed-up registration. The volunteers were actually very friendly and helpful, and at the Finish, there were plenty of watermelons, water, and isotonic drinks for the runners.

Bumped into Mary at this run! Mary was part of my Pacemakers relay team
Bumped into Mary at this run! Mary was part of my Pacemakers relay team
Farah, Adiah and I borrowing a pose from our idol, Usain Bolt
Farah, Adiah and I borrowing a pose from our idol, Usain Bolt
The strongwomen pose. Because we're very strong. Hehehe.
The strongwomen pose. Because we’re very strong. Hehehe.
Adiah and I do jump shots!
Adiah and I do jump shots!
Proof that runners can be dancers too. Rawr!
Proof that runners can be dancers too. Rawr!
Zyen Hoo

Zyen is a Physics, Chemistry and Math teacher with many interests, including running and dancing. She also enjoys indulging in vanity projects such as her personal blog, and is a self-proclaimed reviewer. She is also notoriously slow in updating her blog due to her constant search for the next adrenaline rush (on top of her heavy workload at school and her freelancing projects), so she asks for your forgiveness and understanding of her very delayed updates.

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