Running

Great Eastern Live Great Run 2016

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Posted By Zyen Hoo

Great Eastern has been organising runs for a few years now, but this year is the first time they were offering a half-marathon as one of their runs. They normally organise two runs a year with the same theme – first in Penang, then followed a few months later in Kuala Lumpur.

gebubbledashrun2016This year, the theme was “Bubble Dash Run” – a 5km fun run where participants will go through different “bubble” zones where they can play with coloured bubbles. It’s a similar concept to the Color Run, but with frothy foam instead.

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Starting from the beginning of this year, I decided to cut down on fun runs, and focus on only doing serious runs. Serious, meaning a minimum of 21km (half-marathons). It meant joining a lot less events, hence less medals; but I was no longer interested in collecting medals; plus I’d save a lot more money too since I didn’t have to spend so much on entry fees.

I know my blog doesn’t reflect it to date – but I have joined a number of half-marathons, a couple of full marathons, and a couple of hamster loop ultra marathons. It’s just that it has been a super crazy year, and I simply didn’t have the time to update my blog. Posts will be coming up soon, even as a throwback!

So anyway. Back to the Great Eastern Live Great Run.

This was my third year joining the Great Eastern Live Great Run. I first joined it two years ago in the 3km Buddy Run, where some of my friends and I took the opportunity to get dressed up (since we don’t celebrate Halloween here, getting dressed up is a HUGE deal!). Last year GE’s fun run theme was the Colour Run, but by then, I was already focusing on runs of minimum 10km, so I joined their 12km Live Great Run instead.

So this year when GE introduced a half-marathon, I decided to go for it instead of the fun-sounding Bubble Dash Run.

Farah was supposed to join me in this run, but she had unexpected plans that clashed, and had to cancel on me…

RUN DAY 23 OCTOBER 2016

I met up with Andrew before the run, which was due to be flagged off from Dataran Merdeka. There were not that many people yet, at that hour. We were told that there was a whopping 15,000 entries for this event, but most of it was for the Bubble Dash Run.

Me with Andrew before the run started
Me with Andrew before the run started

I wasn’t sure what the route of the run would be like. Truth be told, I never check out the routes before I start running – I usually go in with blind faith and hope for the best.

Fortunately, the half-marathon route wasn’t too much of a killer. There were a couple of slopes when we ran up the overpass, but otherwise it was pretty flat – unlike last year’s crazy slope in the 12km route!

I had only just hit sub-3 in my last half-marathon at the PJ Half Marathon (seriously just made it; I did 2h59m) – and that felt as if I was going to die trying. So I wasn’t hoping for much this time; all I wanted was to maintain my pace and hopefully hit sub-3, even if it’s just under 3 hours again.

I’m also a bit of a leisure runner. Well… semi-leisure, semi-serious. I would like to improve my time, but I don’t train regularly enough to improve my time significantly. Normally when I run in these events, I do a run-walk-run-walk sequence, although I do end up walking mostly. I did see a significant improvement in my pace during the PJHM, and I thought that was all I would be able to manage again this time.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to keep running! I wasn’t keeping a close eye on my pedometer, but with a sudden surprise, I saw the Finish arch ahead of me. I pushed myself to run all the way to the end (maybe a little too hard, because I actually felt a little nauseous as I raced the last 200m).

21.7km in 2h45m!

Yes yes, I know to you running buffs out there, it’s nothing and this is probably your walking pace. But for a non-athlete like me, it’s a huge achievement.

Overall, I found the Great Eastern Live Great Run to be very well organised, with plenty of water stations. I can’t write about the Bubble Dash Run obviously, because I didn’t participate in it, although it looked like a lot of fun. I saw the white-T-shirt-clad crowd being released in waves of hundreds, and coming back with streaks of colours all over their hair, clothes, and faces. Maybe next time I’ll drag some of my cool cats to go with me to get dirty…

Thank you Great Eastern for yet another awesome run!

Runners waiting to be flagged off from the Start Line. The large balloons are tied to event-assigned official pacers.
Runners waiting to be flagged off from the Start Line. The large balloons are tied to event-assigned official pacers.
The emcees getting us pumped up for the race
The emcees getting us pumped up for the race
There were plenty of distance signs along the entire route
There were plenty of distance signs along the entire route
Me with my finisher medal!
Me with my finisher medal!
Me with former colleague, Ms Cheng who is also a running enthusiast (and a much faster one than I am!)
Me with former colleague, Ms Cheng who is also a running enthusiast (and a much faster one than I am!)
Me with another former colleague and also run enthusiast, Mr Raj
Me with another former colleague and also run enthusiast, Mr Raj
Bumped into Chris who is a super run enthusiast, and he happened to be one of the pacers for this run event!
Bumped into Chris who is a super run enthusiast, and he happened to be one of the pacers for this run event!
Managed to take a selfie with this super cute mascot of Great Eastern!
Managed to take a selfie with this super cute mascot of Great Eastern!

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