First thing is first….What a beautiful day for a half marathon! Congratulations to everyone out there who gave it their all today! I hope everyone had a great experience.
Next, the race pack collection and expo which was held at the KLCC which was packed even on the last day with both nervous and excited supporters. It was a bonus to pick up the race pack in record time. Somehow, from out of the blue…..I bumped into my running buddy all the way from Indonesia, Muthmainnah Amri, I met her during our run last year in Lombok International Marathon. We were excited and thrilled…We hugged and exchanged our joy and fears and happiness and then wished each other all the best and parted!
The morning of the race is always incredibly tense. As always I had butterflies in my tummy. 3.45am is a ridiculous time of day. Particurlarly on a Sunday. But today, I was awake at 3.45am and had to fully embrace the ridiculousness of it! Because today is the Standard Chartered KL Marathon- the most anticipated race of 2017….just imagine 36,000 runners……woot woot!
We took a slow walk from our hotel to Dataran Merdeka. Once 5.00am rolled around, everyone started heading to their designated pen. My hubby was in pen 3 and I was in pen 4- for 21km Honda Half Marathon, about 10,000 runners and things can get a little congested. At sharp 5.30am, we were flagged off. I waited in line for almost 12 minutes just to get to the starting line. Over the loud speaker, we could hear the race started and the elite runners began. Once we started going, I was so excited, I don’t know why I was giddy, but I just was all by myself, smiling while I was running. I was soaking up the fact of how completely blessed I am to be able to run. I can’t describe to you the feeling you get when you see the city streets blocked off for you with volunteers cheering you on. It’s the most amazing experience.
Throughout the half marathon, there were multiple things that surprised me along the route and helped me understand why runners rave about SCKL Marathon. The first mile brought the first delight-no bottlenecking! The entire course was very wide so there were no bottlenecking, a welcome change from many races I ran in Malaysia.
The second mile brought the first of many delights- water stations and porta-porties all along the routes. Due to the wide course of the water stations and isotonic stations, never got in the way and runners could easily run to one side of the road to avoid them. The volunteers at these stations were so friendly, offering support in addition to water and also first Aid and medic support.
The first several miles were great! I felt good. Breathing and legs were working together. The hills weren’t too bad, but I knew what was ahead. A gradual incline with only noticable inclines near AKLEH Highway and the Tugu Negara.
At one point, we were out running on a pretty main road in KL City. It was great to see drivers on the otherside of the road with their windows down watching us and grinning. Shouting support for people that they didn’t even know.
The route was altered slightly after that. We got to run through Tugu Negara-and iconic landmark in Malaysia which was awesome! However, the hill, how do I put this…… a nightmare! I could actually feel runners around me going “Ohhhh NOoooooooooo” as we climbed out…..But we soldiered on….After winding around through parts of Jalan Tugu Negara and Padang Merbok, I suddenly felt something shift in my body. If you’ve ever heard a runner talk about “hitting the wall” or “bonking”, that was exactly what happened! At the 18km, my body just quit on me. Then, I’d switched gears in my brain…..It’s all about mental running now! “I got this! I got this! I am not going to stop! I can do this! I can! I will!” Phew…somehow, I was able to re-focus!
20 km went by in a bit of painful blur. I was just focused on keeping my legs moving. I kept repeating my mantra…”Don’t quit! Don’t quit!”
Then at the 500 metres mark to go, I saw my fellow buddies the KLCC Runners- Thank you Matthew Barsing for being there! They were cheering, clapping, dancing and shouting for us! There is always something weird that happens in a runner’s body when you know you are approaching the finish line. There is always this weird reserve energy that comes out. You speed up and use everything you have left (you may have heard runners call this “the kick”) and that’s what happened…..
I did it! I made it! I finished it! I was ecstatic…. Tears of joys just flowed through my cheeks, while I lined up gratefully and accepted my much deserved 21 km Honda Half Marathon medal, picked up my goodie bag and went off in search of my “sole mate” my darling hubby, Segar who finished 21km Half marathon in 2 hours and 17 mins.. We didn’t hang around long. Took a few photos and headed back home.
The race organization was spot on! I have not a single bad thing to say, well maybe some school kids- cheerleaders or marching band/ choir along the lonely route would have helped motivate and push the runners. LOL….Otherwise, the water stations were exactly where they were supposed to be, the markers were sufficient, signages were really motivating and awesome, the transition from getting your medal to collecting the goodie bag was so seamless and hassle free. A huge KUDOS and congratulations dear organisers for a race well run!
With that said, good job to each and everyone of you for actually being out there running, walking or crawling! YOU ALL DID AWESOME!!