The half marathon is a running event with a distance of 21,097.5 metres.
The Putrajaya and Cyberjaya race route was not at all flat as most runners would think. Its rolling hills and the occasional up and down the bridges under humid hot weather could take a toll on a runner.
The venue at Persiaran Flora was a long stretch of road, maybe longer than the whole stretch of Dataran Merdeka. It was an appropriate venue to hold that size of an event with various tents (for goodies collection, sponsors’ booth, refreshment, etc) were set-up at both sides of the road. Parking space was ample while many latecomers just parked their vehicles by the roadside of the deserted Cyberjaya. The start for the full marathon was nothing big, just a simple one.
I experienced a whole range of emotions! In the morning I was completely hyper. I felt both nervous and ecstatic at the same time.
Walking to the race took about 5 minutes. We parked at the designated parking area for runners, walked about 5 minutes from the starting point and were greeted with literally hundreds/thousands of people.
You know the drill…wait in line for port-a-potty, do your thing, get in corral and wait. That’s exactly what we did.
Standing there at the starting line was an overwhelming experience. There were 5,000 people ready to run. It was still dark.
Looking straight ahead all you could see was the “countdown” to the start. The organisers got a band of “Bollywood” drums to kick-start the event. My heart was beating so fast. The music was playing, energy was soaring. Some were crying, others were laughing, some were still “membawang” and still others were just mentally preparing themselves as well!
And we were off!
I paced myself well and just kept moving.
The first sector was to run around the central district of Cyberjaya’s business hub. Was a little pack but enough to navigate through the runners.
I was also really impressed by how the race directors managed the crowds. Setting up race fencing was a great way to reduce the massive wave of people who would likely have occurred if they hadn’t. The start line was pretty narrow, and shoots you up a short, curved hill in the first quarter-mile. It would have been mayhem of pace failures if they didn’t think smart — and I’m glad they did.
I always aim for the inside to avoid getting boxed in. This time, that meant running right next to moving traffic, some of which was aggressively driving past the race, probably annoyed they had been slowed down. Certain parts of the route were dark and the street lights were not lit. Certain stretches of the lane was pretty dark but was lucky the road was mostly in good conditions. For the elite or fast runners, it was quite dangerous running at this route, only cones were placed by the side. Runners safety were at risk!
There were times throughout the race when I wanted to cry just because I was so happy! I’m not saying that the whole 21 kilometer was such a breeze that I was on Cloud 9 the whole time. What I am saying is that there I was -doing it – really doing it. I did it for me – for the me I am now and for the me that I hope to be better and stronger! I did it for everyone who could not be out there running. I was so thankful. I felt so blessed. And so when the hills got tough for me, I just fought them right back!
I don’t remember much except running towards the water and then through a few residential streets where one woman in her tutu’s came and over took some runners and yelled “it’s a beautiful day for a run!” Like it was some casual run we were all out for. I laughed. It also felt very crowded around these miles. I tried to conserve my energy and not weave. My time is evident of being held up a little by the crowds.
Hit the 10K right around 55:00 (Signages and markers were barely helpful. It only tells you from every mile marker to go straight, to turn left, turn right.) I was just running and not knowing the distance…not as easy as it sounds when all your energy is going into moving your legs) and was feeling pretty good. The energy was awesome from the crowds.
Around the 15KM there were people standing with bananas, holding them out for us to grab. I decided I better grab one since the saying goes, there is always the first time for everything! I held it in my hand like a baton. I just tasted it. Somehow that taste helped me get through.
Was merged back again with the full marathoners and I think the 12KM runners too. But was lucky it didn’t clog up the running path as the roads were wide enough to cater for everyone. The only thing I missed was the food stations. It was heaven on earth. It made me so hungry…. but I just kept on moving. At that point, I was ready to be done. I started to pick up the pace. I could feel that my knees were going to be an “achin’ unit.” AND THEN…..the roaring and cheering was heard. I knew the end was there. For about the last 700meters I felt as though I was i n the Olympics. There was Red Carpet. A straight shot. A sprint. Thousands of people on both sides of you…..just seconds away – loud music, cheering, speakers – my last all….everything I had….Crossing the TWINCITY HALF MARATHON Finish Line!
It’s an amazing experience to set off with so many people who all have the same goal. It took me a while adjust to running in a crowd, but the running itself went quite well for most of the race. I found the last 5 kilometres very difficult. There was so much going through my mind. Besides being physically demanding, running a half marathon is also mentally challenging. I kept thinking, “I can’t go on. I have to stop and walk for a while.”. But when I saw how many people were overtaking me, my inner dialogue changed to “Run Chrisy, run! Everyone is overtaking you!” This kind of self-talk is constantly going through your head. It’s an amazing experience to run with so many people at the same time, but the truth is you have to run all 21 kilometres on your own.
As I sit here and typed this review, I am actually truly amazed at what I have accomplished. I am so thankful for my body. It is pretty freaking amazing. It’s crazy how you can run miles and miles if you put your mind to it. And that’s what I have learned through this whole experience. Long distance running is all mental. If you really really want something, you can do it. We are all capable of so much and I am so glad I was able to see exactly what that looks like for me. The biggest takeaway for me though is that when it comes down to it, mentality is everything. Your body is capable of doing extraordinary things, and you can’t let a negative mindset take hold. Perseverance, belief in yourself, and the fortitude to finish, no matter the distance or day, is all that matter.
So my advice: If you have any desire whatsoever to run a half or full marathon, do it. Just sign up! That way you have something to work towards and look forward too.