Last Sunday, March 5 2017, my daughter and I participated in the Malaysia Women Marathon. Why is it so popular? Maybe because it
has all the categories from a full marathon 42 km, a half marathon 21 km, 10 km, 6 km fun run and also the Columbia Kids run 2.5 km. I think it’s because of all those reasons!
It was one of those mornings I actually had to wake up earlier than I should just to eat breakfast and have time to digest before the race. However, this race was special….why? Because I ran with my 14th year old daughter Anjali Wong Rajoo for the Malaysia Women Marathon.
On race morning, we were all up nice and early. We were there an hour before the race started-plenty of time. Anjali and I met Siew Kiem, changed our T-shirts ( oversized T-shirts!) and put on our bibs and we walked towards the starting point. (Which was about 2 km). The volunteers were perky and helpful, the DJ had music blaring and everyone seemed to be having fun even though the flag off for 10 and 6 km hadn’t started.
At 6.00 am, the officials announced that there will be a warm up session by the Curve. Then at 6.33 am (3 minute delayed due to the excitement and hyped of the warm up session by the Curve) the 10 km were off. As usual, it was pretty crowded at the start, but I was able to settle into a decent pace after about half a mile.
The race starts and finishes at the Stadium Shah Alam, we started running up a steep hill which took us towards Persiaran D’ Kayangan roundabout. The course did not disappoint. It had it all: Steep hills, winding downhills, loose rocks, mud, sharp turns and loopy loops. The crowd support/cheerleaders was pretty minimal since I assume most people were waiting to cheer for the marathoners (totally understood!), but I loved the drum boys they had out there at the 2 km.
I read a little about the course description prior but I was not prepared for what followed in 2 km through 7 km, hills and lots of them. 2 km met us with a long, gradual ascent that I thought would never end, then a joyous downhill, followed by a steep incline. This went on and on….However, it was nice to care more about my mother and daughter bonding time, instead of keeping pace thoughout the race. We made some awesome, funfilled memories, laughed until our sides ached and got some really great pictures too.
The 10 km course was the 5 km course looped twice. Many 10 km were basically fun runners – to what I have noticed, many did not go through the 5 km check point. Ohhhh, then at the 7 km distance a familiar voice called out…Helloooooo, mummy.. It was simply fantastic! It was my girl, Anjali caught up with me and we even managed to take a selfie.
The course was pretty hilly all the way. Somewhere between 5 km was the check point and the turn around for the 10 km and this is where there was a little problem. The water station was located too near the check point, many 10 km runners almost took the 21 km route- there were no marshalls to direct runners. Several runners went the wrong way and many just stood there for a minute or two thoroughly confused.
The best thing about this race was, we were not focused on the finish line but rather we appreciated the run itself. The hype, the runners (98% women) and the emotions!
There was a huge crush of people after the crossing line as runners filed by to claim their medals (only to discover that the line was for apples and bananas) and it was literally like herding cattle. The organisers do have to consider how a bottleneck venue will perform with as many entrants as there were. It was a bit of a mess as runners (VERY) slowly shuffled and pushed to claim their snacks, water, apples and bananes. A few minutes later, there was an annoucement informing all finishers to collect their medals located at the basement of the Stadium….!! Urrggghhhh….Proper instructions or more volunteers to guide the finishers- next year please!
Overall, it was a good race and well run. The only suggestions I would like to make is work on the turn around directions and medal and goodies distributions.
To me:- Running isn’t about speed, running isn’t about PR’s and running isn’t about how far you go…..Running is a process and one that I should enjoy by allowing myself to go on a journey…and I did it…It was an awesome journey with my daughter, running the Malaysia Women Marathon 2017! Every runner has a story!! What’s yours???? See you next year!