Behind each participant is a story of love, hope and courage that inspires them to run…and run to the finish line. While reflecting on the many lessons I have learned on this journey, one of the most important lesson is to ‘ Always do what you are afraid to do’, but remember, whatever you do, means so much more, when you do it for someone else. Last Saturday, I was given the privileged to run 21 km half marathon for MAKNA Founder’s Night Run at Putrajaya.
MAKNA Founder’s Night Run is a race to save lives, aiming to raise funds for cancer treatment subsidies, awareness, welfare assistance and more- No one should fight cancer alone- this event invites people of all walks of life to join in the fight and run alongside those who are impacted by cancer.
This run is special and it’s close to my heart. Why? Because this time I ran with my heart and not with my legs, this 21 km half marathon is not achieving a certain time or individual goal, this race is about making a difference!
We arrived at Putrajaya at 6.00pm. Headed to the starting point. The set-up was pretty fantastic. It was like a carnival atmosphere. Music, balloons, parents and children were seen all around with happy faces. At 7.50pm, the announcers called all the 21 km half marathon runners into the pen, to the starting line….instead of a flagged off, we were led by three gorgeous ladies for about 20 minutes for a warm up Zumba Session. Don’t get me wrong- I love Zumba and I was enjoying every minute of it, until I turned around and realised that I was the only one dancing and moving to the beat- all the other 21 km runners (probably elite and PRO) were getting annoyed and some even were venting out their frustrations by protesting and yelling and shouting for the race to start!
Then at 8.10pm, a chap says go and blows the whistle/horn and the 400 runners for the 21 km half marathon shuffle into life! A stunning diversity of masses bouncing around for position.
This is a funny time where you are not really sure who is in front of you and who is behind of you. The next 5 km, I actually got a decent pace going, I overtook a few runners. The organisers did a good job, roads and routes were well condone, marshals were on standby and traffic police were placed at every traffic lights and junctions.
Then, after the 5 km, we were running in darkness, I was solely depending on the moonlight-however, it was a very dim moonlight on that particular night, there were no street lights for about 1 km, the first check point came at last, then we had to make a U-turn and run once more about 1 km in the darkness.
6 km to 10km : This is the best…..such beautiful night, the weather was great and this pace feels so easy….Life is so amazing, enjoyed the views in Putrajaya and this breeze feels so good! These downhills make me happy. I was extremely glad that there were sufficient hydration points with 100 plus and mineral water.
At about 15 km, my lower legs felt fatigued. My legs became heavy. Cramps! Glorious! Cramps! It was then I understood the mental aspect of endurance running. I would have to dig deep within myself to reach the finish line! I kept pushing myself! Then the opposite side I saw my brother, Bufford and he kept saying – GO GO GO! See you at the finish line!
Then came the 17 km, my calves threatened to cramp, my hips tightened. My shoulders tensed. I had become hyper-aware of each and everybody part, those parts that hurt as well as those parts that didn’t! I shrank into my head, slowed to walk and started thinking of my mum, a breast cancer survivor, my aunt Doris, my iron lady aunt, my cousin, Annalee- a strong woman, and fighter and never gave up her battle against Cancer and my sister’s BFF- Jen who never ever quits and Sibendina, my childhood friend- a tough cookie…Then I told myself, this pain that I am going through is nothing compared to theirs! And in that moment, tears just flowed down my cheeks as I thought of these awesome warriors and this is the reason I am here, this is the reason I am running a half marathon and I am gonna cross that finishing line. THEY ARE MY REASON!
With those thoughts on my mind, suddenly I realised that I have reached the last hydration station and only 2 km to go and I will have finished! The true moment where I realized no matter how bad I may hurt, no matter how tired I am, I will be crossing the finish line- and more awesome! I ran in honour of my mum, my aunt, my cousin, my friend and the Cancer warriors!
I finished it! I crossed the finishing line…with tears in my eyes, grinning like an idiot, limping like a clown…but loving every second of it! Now excuse me while I go get myself some first aid help at the medical station.
Entry and information: Regular updates of information regarding all aspects of the venue.
Race registration/pack: Collection was well organised,quick and easy.
Venue: Plenty of space at the venue,porta-porties were plentiful.There were plenty of volunteers around if anyone needed assistance.
Parking: There were several large parking areas near the start point.
Organisation:The event was organised to the highest level.
Course: A good city road course,rarely what you could call interesting,especially at night,no steep climbs but some long tough inclines to test legs,lungs and will power.Overall, a not too tough course that most runners throughly enjoyed.If anyone set a PB on this course,I would be suprised and they should be very proud! (Congrats! My dear brother, Bufford for doing your PB)
Marshaling and water stations: The course was for the most part, run on unclosed roads, being a night run the roads were generally not too busy but due to the excellent and abundant marshals,it would not have caused a problem.Very impressive.
Water stations were ample in number and well stocked as I went through.The duty marshals were very well drilled, a great bunch of happy and encouraging people.
Post race: The post-race was smooth and efficient and although when I reached the finishing line,most of the booths were closed… Plenty of resting area available and all the medical requirement were well in place.The full result were available in a very high timely manner,yes,full results!
Overall,I think the Race Director and all who have been involved can be very proud of a well managed,enjoyable and safe event.