So… after a frightening weekend in Singapore (blogpost coming up about that!) and a few performances at the Taipan D’Danceworld Graduation Dinner & Dance, all I wanted to do was sleep in on a Sunday morning. But having committed myself to this run, I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 6am to meet my running buddy Farah to go for the Light-A-Life Charity Run which flags off at Central Park, Bandar Utama.
ABOUT THIS RUN
Organised by HELP University’s Child Development Psychology Club, Light a Life 2.0: End Child Trafficking is a charity run aiming to raise awarenesas on the seriousness of child trafficking and to mobilize communities to take a meaningful step to help protect the children.
Their Facebook Page does a better job of talking about this issue than I can. Take a look at one of their posts, as food for thought:
To be completely honest, I hadn’t actually wanted to sign up for this run. I didn’t even want to sign up for a run this weekend because I knew it would be an exhausting weekend. I actually wanted to sign up for the PUMA Night Run, but I decided against it because I knew I would not be up for it. In fact I was going to sleep in on Sunday, but then after discussing with Farah, we decided to sign up for this run even if there were no medals. Well, actually there were, but only for the top ten, and we knew we would not qualify for those.
The students did a fairly good job of organising this run. They did a build up towards the day of the run via social media, by uploading quotes and reminders on their Facebook every day until the actual day. Even after the run, they were still posting thank-yous and photos on their Facebook page. There was also no screw-up of race pack collection, because they had the collection done at their university, so the collection would not be messed up by threats of rain. They stuck to the announced schedule, which is what good run organisers should do.
RUN DAY 26 OCTOBER 2014
Farah picked me up at 6.30am and we drove to Central Park which was about 15 minutes away. The park was already in full swing, with the runners in gear and the volunteers being chirpy and enthusiastic.
The warm-up session was done by a fitness instructor from Fitness First, and I have to say it was the best warm-up session I’ve ever seen in a run. All the warm-up sessions in the other runs I’ve been to were done by group fitness instructors who treated it like a fitness class, by making the runners dance or move vigorously to the music. This guy explained very clearly that the intention of the warm-up was to loosen the joints and to warm up the muscles, WITHOUT tiring ourselves as the focus would be on the run. Erm, I still didn’t join the warm-up though (I never do). But mainly this time it was because I was actually very tired. I was this close –><– to bailing out of the run.
They flagged off the 12km runners first, and shortly after the 7km runners.
Being too tired to run, I stuck to walking the route. I initially fell to the back of crowd because everyone else either ran or jogged. For the first time ever, I found myself to be the very last person in the crowd, because the ambulance that was tailing the runners was right behind me! My kiasu nature was horrified and so I jogged a little so that I was no longer the last person (I became about the fifth last person).
If there was any complaint about the run, it was the route. The 7km route started from Central Park, heading towards The Curve, along Persiaran Surian, turning into the road leading past Effingham, up the hill past The Club, passing through the housing area, leading back to Central Park.
The problem with the route was that there was no connecting road between Central Park and The Curve. When we got to the end of the road, we had to squeeze into a single file to cross the ditch, which was overgrown with grass and strewn with abandoned construction material. It considerably slowed everyone down. I who was right at the end of the crowd caught up with everyone else at that point.
Even the volunteers did not seem sure of the route, because while I was waiting for my turn to cross the ditch, I heard a 12km runner who was approaching us run up to the volunteer who was behind me and asked which way he should go to. The volunteer said, “I think you are supposed to run there (pointing) and make a U-turn” to which the runner retorted, “Aren’t you guys supposed to know the route??” I’m not sure what went wrong there though.
Still, that was the only problem I faced with the route, in the 7km. The rest of the run went quite smoothly, with the help of the traffic police and the student volunteers.
I maintained my walking pace throughout the whole route, not even bothering to try to run. Yet I wasn’t the slowest; others were even slower than I was – my one and only saving grace! There were a couple of water stations, which was great because I had come empty handed in preparation for the ending (more about that later). Some of the volunteers drove by in their cars to take photos and videos of the runners, and the girl who emceed the opening of the event (a young bubbly college student with bright red hair) even shouted, “You’re almost there guys!” To which I humourously replied, “LIAR! I have my pedometer with me and I’m not even halfway there!” Her cheeky response was, “Well… you’re nearer the finish line than when you first started!” Haha, can’t argue with that.
Personally, the worst part of the route for me was the uphill section that led past The Club. All I can say was – thank goodness I was only walking, because I think I would have died trying to run up the steep road!
There were no distance markers, but I saw along the way that they had put up big signs to indicate which direction the runners should go to (for the 12km, 7km and 3km), whenever there was a fork.
My pedometer indicates that the distance covered was about 6.6km, and I completed it in 75:18 minutes. Needless to say it was my worst timing ever – but then I wasn’t trying to improve my personal best.
The route ended with an imitation of the Color Run – the volunteers threw coloured powder at the runners. This was only at the Finish line, and was completely optional. But still, even though it was for those last few metres, it was still quite fun to have colour thrown at you!
I had read their warning about their plan to throw colours at us, which was why I did not wear my Polar watch nor my race pouch for this run.
Overall, I would say that this was a fantastic effort by the college students. Of course we cannot fairly compare them to professional organisers of competitive runs, but I would say that they have covered all the important basics that runners needed – the race pack collection, the water stations, the signages (even though they didn’t have distance markers), and proper motivation by the volunteers. We each also got a goodie bag which came with the certificate of completion.
After the run, the students sent thank-you emails to all the participants, and also posted their appreciation on their Facebook Page. Photos were quite quickly uploaded, and there was even a video done by one of the students.
To the organisers of the Light-A-Life Charity Run – kudos, and keep up the great work!