Last month when I realised how few runs I had in August, I quickly looked for a run to sign up for. By then I had missed a number of deadlines, but the MK Land Colourful Fun Run was still available for registration. It was initially scheduled for 7 June, but it was suddenly postponed to 23 August, giving me the opportunity to sign up.
Initially I thought of inviting some of my non-runner friends to join the colour category of this run so we could play with coloured powders; but when I tried to look for more information, I couldn’t find much. The info was so sparse that I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like; so to be on the safe side, I decided not to join the colour fun run. Instead, I signed up for the competitive run of 10km.
I thought more information would be provided closer to the date of the run, but no such luck… the only information available was on this online flyer.
I picked up my race pack from the MK Land office in Damansara Perdana with little hassle. But I was surprised to see a sticker bib for the first time. Double bib, at that.
I’m not sure who thought a sticker bib would be a good idea. Doesn’t it cost more than printing normal bibs and providing safety pins? Once the T-shirt starts absorbing sweat, the sticker would not stay on the T-shirt. And as expected, on the day of the run, we saw a lot of discarded stickers lining the roads.
And obviously, with the sticker bibs, that meant no timing chips.
Andrew, Fitri and I pinned the bibs on instead of relying on the glue to hold the bib to our shirts.
We were not given any additional info in our race packs – we were only given the T-shirt and the sticker bibs. I thought that they might provide leaflets with more info, but no such luck. As it is, I didn’t even know what time we would be starting. I tried searching online, but there was no official website, no official Facebook Page, or any other information other than the measly flyer above. I had to go on a hunch, and assume we would be flagging off at 7am.
RUN DAY 23 AUGUST 2015
Because it was held in Damansara Perdana, there was plenty of outdoor parking in the commercial area where the shoplots were.
It seemed the name was suddenly changed to MK Land Colourful Merdeka Fun Run… this was not on the entry form. I suppose they could easily change the name since there was no official website. I think this was changed to be in conjunction with Merdeka Day which was next week.
The event started with the usual warm-up session, which was held just in front of the Start/Finish arch. After that they asked the runners to walk back behind the arch to prepare for the run.
It seemed as if some of the people in the organising committee didn’t have all the details of the run either. Some of the marshalls on the road started calling out for only the 10km runners to gather at the line (categories A & B) but the emcee using the mic told A, B, C and D category runners to gather. Andrew, who had signed up for the 7km run (in category C for the men; category D was 7km women) kept going in and out of the holding area, confused as to whether he would be flagging off with us or not. Finally the people in charge got their act together and told only A and B to gather. Then the emcee kept calling for the marshalls to remove the front barriers to prepare for flag-off, and finally after several minutes, the metal barriers were removed and the countdown started.
This 10km route is easily the most challenging route I’ve experienced so far! We had to go through many hilly areas, with the worst at the 5-6km mark. It was steep uphill for 1.2km! At that point, almost everyone walked. Some did try jogging up initially, but gave up after the first hundred metres. The only other steep hill I’ve encountered was at the Live Great Run, and even that was only about 200m!
Fortunately, what goes up must come down; and the route downwards was on the same upward slope, so while it was tough going up, I was able to run all the way down in less than half the time it took to go up!
Because of the many U-turns, to try to prevent people from taking short cuts, there were two checkpoints where they gave coloured ribbons to the 10km runners. There was also a few checkpoints where marshalls recorded the bib numbers of the runners who passed that checkpoint.
Two water stations were provided; at the 3km and 6km mark of the 10km route.
I was really hoping to improve my personal best, but no such luck… the hilly route made it impossible! I finished 9.1km in 1h14m. Not my best time, but not bad (for me) considering the really challenging route.
Truth be told, I was actually a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the Finisher medal. According to the online flyer, only the first 700 finishers would get the medals. The thing is, we didn’t know if it was the first 700 in each category, or in each distance, or 700 total. Not enough info provided on the flyer!
I was quite disappointed however when I crossed the Finish line. Well… I did get the Finisher medal (yay, I guess?). But there was no distinction between the 7km or 10km distance. Everyone got identical medals, which didn’t state the distance.
I felt a little sore about that… running an additional 3km was tiring, especially with the ridiculous hills that we had to encounter! I felt as if I should have just signed up and ran 7km in this race. It wouldn’t have mattered, because the medals were exactly the same.
As for the colour run, Fitri told me that they only walked 3km around the vicinity of the shops. I don’t think they played very much with the coloured powders because the runners I saw at the Finish line were only mildly dirty.
All in all… not very well-organised, in my opinion. There were only photographers at the Start/Finish area, and none along the route at all. And Damansara Perdana was one of those awkward commercial/residential areas which had only one exit to the Damansara-Puchong highway (LDP). So because the runners were taking up the roads, the marshalls had to stop traffic for safety reasons. I am sure that many of the drivers were cursing us runners for hogging the roads, when all they wanted to do was try to get home (although I am not sure why they were trying to get home at 7 in the morning – makes you wonder where they have been all night, haha!).
Personally, having joined so many run events, I felt that the organisers could have done a much better job than this. I am not annoyed about the route – I am ready to take the hilly challenge. I felt that the organisers could have provided better and more information, even if it was just a simple Facebook Page or on a website (surely MK Land can afford to pay a website developer or get someone to do it in-house?), and the medals should be distinguished clearly. They can easily print the number of medals based on the number of sign-ups in each category.
Hope to see MK Land improve its run organisation in the future! (Though I do not know if I would join again!)