Seremban Half Marathon 2017 Race Review

I have been wrestling all week with my approach to writing this review. The day has come and gone, the most eagerly anticipated race in Seremban, boasting almost 10K, 7722 runners from the school category and the 1865 runners for 21km and 10km category A to J. This was the 30th Year, claimed to be the “oldest” Half marathon in Malaysia.

So, with us, this race is personal. It is my hometown. It’s a commitment to always going the distance, no matter what! To high fiving/thumbs upping friends and strangers, to pushing ourselves beyond our purposed mortal limits and the generally have a great time. I am truly honored that this year, Hubby and I were under the armour of Malproc Sdn Bhd- Mr Robert Tio. Thank you very much, sir!

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As usual, we arrived early and managed to get a safe and nice parking spot. The minute we stepped out of the car, it started to rain cats and dogs. But that did nothing to us:- at sharp 6.30am we walked to the starting line, in the heavy rain, it was chaotic with more than 10K runners walking around without any sense of directions. The sound system was unclear and no one could hear the announcements. Then at 6.45am…bang! the gun went off and the 21km runners were flagged off, 10 minutes late and some confused 10km runners also ran along with the 21km and at a check point, these 10km runners were disqualified.

Unsurprisingly the first KM or so was spent trying to get past quite a lot of runners. People say this route is quite good for achieving a PB, which it probably is if you’re an elite runner, but back in the main pack lots of people seem to stand closer to the start line than they should. Why? We all get our own individual chip time, so you have nothing to gain by getting in the way of faster people! Not that I am fast, but I’m far from the slowest at this type of mass event and it is a bit annoying when you see runners who started near the front begin to walk about half a mile. You can waste a lot of energy trying to get round them. Note to self-get up and in the pen earlier next time!

The flagged off for 10Km was delayed too about 10 minutes, eventually, after the gun went off, I got into a steady pace and managed to keep going, right along the road in front of my old school- KGV, runners had to risked their lives running side by side with some “wannabe” fast and the furious car racers, the roads were not fully closed just a few cones were placed in between. Never mind there hadn’t been any major incidents with traffic before but I wish organiser would still place safety of runners as their priority! Just because no one got run over (YET) doesn’t mean it will stay that way.

The route we did for the 10KM and 21Km was exactly the same as the previous years but blamed it on age or soemthing, it had long gradual climb littered along the route at Forest Heights, nothing steep but a long climb. ‘Seremban-rians’ also have their own ‘Bukit Tunku”- stair way to hell route….hahahahahahahah

My energy was high.I was gleefully floating along the miles..running into puddles of water. The legs talked and I listened. Then came a main junction, a crossroad between Ampangan, Paroi and Sikamat, there was no sign or marker at this point, so all the runners just kept running, it was a scene from the three blind mice- where the blind was leading the blind. There was a traffic police trying his level best to control the traffic at this main junction.After crossing the main road, I saw a sign 21km and 10km…Ohhhhh nooooo! I panicked and was alarmed. If the 10km-school category and half marathoners joined this route now, I’d be swept up in the stampede. I’d die like Mufasa in the ‘Lion King’ movie. Anxiety welled up in me. So I had to do more bobbing and weaving, between flooded roads, narrow spaces and moving vehicles.

I needed to finish- I saw a sign 4Km to go..In desperation, I was on the go again, and I was completely over other runners, what they were doing and what they thought of me. By the time the marathoners started overtaking me I was totally lost in my own experience, just me and my legs and my lungs and the road and wet weather and grey skies.

Then I spotted the sharp corner, near A&W and made the final turn and saw the finish line ahead, just a few hundred meters down a muddy paved field. A weight had left me- I’d done it, I’d proven that I could do it, Then the official wrote down my number- No 26….oh wow! I clutched my medal with happiness and pride.

Overall review:

The bad:-

  1. Late start: Flag off for 21km was supposed to be at 6.30am, it was delayed about 10 minutes and the rain started to fall again. For a half marathon, don’t you think 6.30am for the flag off is a bit late?
  2. Short distance:- by that I mean the distance fell short by 1KM. Falling short means that avid and ‘elite’ runners do not get a new PR on their GPS devices.
  3. Water stations: runners need water to hydrate. For the 10km, only two water stations were located at the 5km and 8km. As for the 21km, there were only four water stations?
  4. Route: The same route again. Roads were not fully closed. Lacked of marshalls. Lack of signages.
  5. Safety: Once again, organisers put runners at risk. Roads were not properly secured with cones. (Being the 30th year, don’t the organisers try to get better and improved year by year?)
  6. The medal: By far the greatest pet peeve or shall I say the ‘bling’ of the race has to be the medal. Seremban half Marathon have made us grown accustomed to their innovative medal designs over the past years, this year however, the medal was disappointing. It was a size of a 50 cent coin! The reason behind this is beyond me. Medal serves as a reminder of the ‘glorious run’ and day in the future, I nominate this medal, as the smallest medal in my collection.
  7. T-shirt: This year’s running T-shirt was like a bad haircut or ill-fitting jeans. Sizes were not accurate- it was enormous. The thing about T-shirt is they are a fashion statement. From a racer’s point of view, the shirt is a symbol of accomplishment, a great way to connect with fellow runners and walkers. From sponsor’s point of view, T-shirt provide exposure.

The Good:

  1. Lots of parking available
  2. 21km finishers’ T-shirt was awesome
  3. Medal collection was smooth

I always like to have an aim on race day to keep me going and have a dream of completing a 10km in under 60 minutes, just to get a time with a 5 at the beginning! As I get older I realise that’s less and less likely to happen, but it’s still a good motivator. Will I be back next year??? Hmmmmm…….It all depends….

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