The Newton Challenge was a good long run to finish up my year. It was the perfect end to my plans – to gradually build up the distance I was running towards my aim of running the half-marathon (21km) in March. Last weekend I ran 12km in the Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon; this weekend was a 15km run in Newton Challenge.
The Newton Challenge had two distance categories – 15 and 25km. My running buddy Farah had told me that initially she wanted to take a break in December; but after a little prodding from me, she agreed to join me in both the Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon and Newton Challenge. In fact, she literally went the distance, by signing up for the 25km! I didn’t dare to because I had never run such a long distance before, so I stuck to 15km. I had no worries for Farah though, because she is one fit lady. She goes to the gym every day!
The race pack collection which was held at Paradigm Mall the week before was quite poorly executed – I had arrived on Friday morning to pick it up, and in spite of it being a working morning, I still had to wait in line for an hour to pick up the race packs!
RUN DAY 28 DECEMBER 2014
The flag-off point was at Giant, Bandar Kinrara. The 25km runners were flagged off at 5:30am, but I didn’t need to get there that early because my flag-off was only at 6:30am. However because there was not enough parking, I had to park some distance from Giant.
While waiting for our flag-off, the emcee made an announcement which he repeated several times: that after the second water station, there would be a short distance where we would have to go off-road, and the path taken will be slippery and muddy and not in a good condition because of the bad weather we had been having of late.
We flagged off in the dark. The lamps along the road leading out of Giant were not switched on, and it was actually a little difficult to see in the dark. Honestly, it was fortunate that no one tripped or fell in the dark.
The section where we had to go off-road was a certainly awkward one. We had to go from the road up a muddy path on the grass, walk across the muddy path which was lined with tarpaulin to keep us from slipping, and back down another path onto the road on the other side – all in a single file. Of course there were many people complaining as we were crossing this. I think they didn’t pay attention to the emcee who had tirelessly made the repeated announcements. I wasn’t annoyed because we had been warned about this; but I was annoyed at how the guys were trying to cut ahead of the people in front of them, forcing the line to move even more slowly.
15km was actually quite a long distance for me! To be honest, it was really quite challenging for me. I was kiasu enough to ensure that I would finish (crawling, if I have to), but I could not maintain my pace.
As I was running the last 3 kilometres, I saw the 3h15m pacers for the 25km runners. There were only pacers for 25km, none for 15km (after all, we were the “short” distance runners). They were running at a consistent pace with balloons strapped to their belts. I used them as my pacers for the finish, and eventually finished 15km in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I know I could have been faster but hey cut me some slack – I hadn’t exactly been training, and I have been battling fatigue for the whole month of December!
After I was done, I waited at the finish line for Farah who came in just before the 4 hour mark. Amazing woman! I’m so proud of her for finishing 25km!!!
AFTER THE RUN
There was a little bit of drama after the event was over. There was supposed to be emails about this, but oddly I didn’t receive any. I did see the drama on Facebook though… apparently the organisers of Newton Challenge had released information about the “sling bags” which hadn’t been distributed during the race pack collection, because apparently the suppliers did not complete them in time for the race. The “sling bags” were available for collection at the 2XU store in Midvalley Megamall.
Pictures taken by runners who had actually collected the bags were uploaded, accompanied with captions encapsulating their dismay. The bags were not “sling bags”; they were the low-cost nonwoven recycle bags, which was not worth anyone’s time to travel out of their way to Midvalley Megamall to pick up!
After much negative feedback, a few days later the organisers posted an apology. Trying to cover their blunder by blaming the suppliers, they put up photos to show the actual “sling bag”. It was pretty obvious that it was a recovery move, since the “sling bag” was a generic 2XU bag, dug out from the supplies of the 2XU company, rather than a Newton Challenge sling bag.
To be honest, the fiasco didn’t affect me much, since I wouldn’t have traveled to Midvalley Megamall for either bag (the types of which I already have plenty of, and I wouldn’t want more bags to add to my unused collection), although the way the organisers handled the bag situation was not quite palatable. The only thing I was really annoyed about was that I was left out of the mailing list. Haha!
To be honest, I didn’t even realise that a sling bag was promised in the race pack and that it was missed out. I didn’t sign up for a sling bag, I signed up for the challenge of running a longer distance. The bag fiasco doesn’t really affect me, although I must admit that the way this whole bag thing has been handled has really done damage to the reputation of the organisers.
Will I join Newton Challenge again next year? Well, if they can get their act together….