Monday, December 17, 2007

12th Angkor Wat International Half Marathon

Written by Wai Mun:

When I viewed the beautiful Angkor Wat pictures taken by Runwitme last year, I was inspired to visit the place and at the same time run the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon there.

Therefore, when Air Asia was having a promotional blitz, John & I grabbed the offer and booked ourselves a seat without any hesitation. Two months before the race, Uncle Hooi dropped a hint that he was keen & asked if he could join us. What can we say to this healthy 70 something marathon enthusiast? He certainly deserves to run any race anywhere cos’ he really knows how to appreciate each & every one of them. We welcomed him to board with us just as we welcomed Yew Chee Chung to join us in Chiangmai last year.

Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2007.
This event is organized by Khmer Amateur Athletics Federation & the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, co-operated by the Japan Medical Joggers Association & NGO Hearts of Gold. Therefore, it was no surprise to me when I saw the number of Japanese runners turning up to support this marathon. I was fascinated by how an event like this can draw such a multitude of runners from all over the world…from both far & near to come, contribute, run & raise fund in support of the landmine victims, education & prevention of HIV in Cambodia. The response was overwhelming.

Pre Race
We managed to catch up with a local lass, Arun Sinketh (Gary’s girlfriend) the eve of the race. Arun made no mistake when she took us for dinner at Khmer Kitchen. The food there was simply delicious. I took a liking to Khmer food almost instantly as it was healthy, not too spicy & not expensive. Arun works as a Public Relation Personnel at the Angkor Hospital for Children. She shared with us her work at the hospital, her lifestyle and taught us some common greetings in Khmer. John & I felt very blessed to have made new friends every time we travel & the most astonishing part was we didn’t look for them…we just met. Many times, they happened to be our friend’s friend or …we just met.

Race Day
As usual, we woke up during the ungodly hours of the day & hopped into our pre booked tuk-tuk that took us to the marathon site. The morning was rather cold but bearable. When we arrived at the starting point, the magnificent view of the Angkor Wat greeted us. What a sight to behold! We met 3 of our other Malaysian friends – Tee, Subra & Norizan who also came for the race & took photos with them.

Later, a lady approached us & introduced herself as Koo Ai Lin. Ai Lin is a Malaysian working in Singapore for many years. She is also a marathon freak and like us, running & traveling at the same time.

A Different Kinda Race
The running course took us through from the Central Sanctuary of Angkor Wat…passing a series of ancient temples & ruins namely Prasat Kravan – Banteay Kdei / Srah Srang – Ta Prohm – Victory Gate – Bayon – South Gate – Baksei Chamkrong – Phnom Bakheng – Ta Prohm Kei and ended at the front of the Central Sanctuary of Angkor Wat again.

Water stations were adequate. In fact, I found it such a waste to be given a whole bottle of water to runners as most was unable to finish them. The turnout of supporters comprising of mainly little children, never failed to amaze me. They came…waited…clapped…cheered…laughed & offered us their hi-fives! Some were a bit shy and just smiled. Most of them wanted us to clap their little hands or touch their little cheeks when we ran pass them. I slowed down my pace to hold their tiny hands & made sure that I didn’t miss any one of them. Who cares about recording a good running time then?

After the 17km mark, my back began to ache as we were running on the hard surface of the gravel road. My buttocks hurt too. But then…there standing ahead of me, were another row of children. They were waiting to cheer me – their generous applause took my pain away & their giggles warmed my heart. I was truly touched by their simple gestures. They are all so innocent & poor and life is hard on them but they remain happy. I was smiling throughout the last few kilometers admiring the scenes all the way until I reached the finishing line at 21km. Running at a relax pace, I was pleased that I could still clock below 2 hours.

Later, much to my disappointment – there were no position, no prize money & no medals at all. Nevertheless, I comforted myself that the running experience in the World Heritage Site & one of the 7 wonders of the world itself is the prize & it’s priceless!

What made us proud is that we were able to witness how runners from all over the world gathered together in the name of charity (or love) to raise awareness & funds & to help people who are less fortunate in a foreign land. My pain pales in comparison to the millions who have been afflicted by HIV etc. Hopefully, in our lifetime, we will be able to find a cure or some kind of solutions & then John & I will be proud to have played a small part.

An estimate of US$13,000 was raised from this year’s marathon & distributed to different charitable organizations in Cambodia.

Post Race
The rest of the day was spent at leisure. John & I pampered ourselves the much needed massage. Later, while Uncle Hooi & John were having their siesta, I managed to finish reading The Alchemist which left me bewildered cos’ at the end of it, I still find some contents too deep to comprehend. Anyway, we caught up with our new friends Ai Lin & Soo Ling for dinner at the Bayon restaurant that night and had a marvelous time.

We were excited to explore other interesting places in Cambodia for the next few days of our stay there.

A Medal, A Movie, An Awakening
Back to my humble abode, I gazed at the wall panel now filled with a hundred something medals. Each one has a story to tell. They speak to me of my achievements and reminded me of every race experience, friendships formed, mistakes made & lessons learned. Each one holds some meaningful memory. Here, back from the Angkor Wat Marathon, there’s nothing to remind me I’ve run there?

3 days later, I was glad that I made the decision to attend Dr. Aaron’s workshop where the movie ‘Peaceful Warrior’ was shown. The movie relates so well to my recent running experience that inspires me to write & share this with you.

‘Peaceful Warrior’ is a sports movie not about imagined perfection of victory but about heart. It explores the highly competitive world, while introducing an astonishing philosophy that awakes the human spirit. It is a whole new ideology – one that values consciousness over intelligence and strength in spirit over strength in body. It is about letting go of all expectations and simply live in the Now. Ultimately, celebration of achievement is made possible by an open mind.
I began to fully understand that winning a race or getting a medal is not so important after all.

It is not about the medal - it is my passion to run. With or without the prize money or medal, I’ll still run at the end of the day because I enjoy running. And there at Cambodia, I was actually running for a good cause and I was proud of it.

It is not about the race - it is the experience. And this experience is totally refreshing as I didn’t have to push myself crazy to record a good time. I shook hands with the locals, hi-fives the little children along the way and it just felt so good!

It is not the destination - it is the journey. As I reflect, my journey here has been enriching. I’ve learnt that if my purpose to Cambodia is to run & take a break at the same time, then I should not be expecting so much (eg. the medal!). I should enjoy the run & the beautiful sceneries. I should savor the moment and be thankful for having John & so many other friends to share, travel & run together with me all these years.

Yes, it’s not about the medal anymore…

One hundred years from now…
It will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in,
how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes may looked like.
But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.

- author unknown

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Love Cycling More Than Running Now

The beauty of cycling - you get to go places and enjoy the scenic views in an environment-friendly manner! Picture taken by Gerard Pereira during our ride to Semenyih on 17 Nov 2007.

Woke up very early the next morning to drive to Ipoh for the KRI 12km Run. The end result was pretty obvious - I was extremely exhausted in body and mind.

Sleep, sleep & more sleep - That's one thing that was playing on my mind as I was crossing the finishing line. I would rather exchange the finisher medal with a good sleep!

P/S I got 22nd placing in my 30-39 age category with a time of 54min! Was so pleased with the result as I could still manage to maintain at 4:30 pace in this situation. My wife got 2nd in 57min! Congrats to her.

She again won a 2nd placing in the Penang International 12-hour Walk in the subsequent week. She did 75 laps with a distance of 80.85km. I'm very proud of her right now. Click here for the full results of the Walk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Alor Setar 50km Ultra Marathon

The report for this run will be short just as I cut short my run during the race.

On the eve of the run which was held on 7 Sep (Fri), I felt both legs were weak upon waking up. Expecting the worst, I checked on my body remperature and true enough, I have fever of 37.5 degree. However, as I had earlier agreed to Ching Tai, another fellow runner and participant of the run, I braved myself for the trip back to my hometown - Alor Setar, about 5 hours drive up-north from Kuala Lumpur.

I couldn't eat much for dinner as I felt like throwing up. Neither could I drink much as my stomach also failed on me - which I don't wish to elaborate here the number of times I went to the toilet! Thanks to one Chinese herb medicine - Wong Lou Kat, I have a good-but-drowsy night sleep even though it was for a mere 3 hours!

It has been a very hot day in Alor Setar the whole day we were there. Just as unpreditable as I'm, the sky suddenly opened up and poured as if the organiser needed to cancel the race. Honestly, I was so relief as it affirmed that I would not start the run. But then it stopped after just an hour or so!

There you go, I dragged myself out of the bed with another hour to the gun time. We reached our destination - Taman Rekreasi Gunung Keriang, the Start and Finish point just in time for a light stretching. At 3am the run was flagged off.

Although there were only 63 runners taking part, it was never short of fire and enthusiasm. Everyone was running like brothers and sisters, motivating and cheering each others. Our common goal was to complete the dreaded 50km mark! And because of this energy, I managed to cover until 15km mark before my stomach gave way again and I have to call it a day. A "DNF" is never in my dictionary but I think I have to accept it and be humbled by it and life goes on!

Call me a reflexible guy as I quickly volunteered my service as a waterman by handing the runners cup of drink and sponges.

Will I do the 50km again if you may ask? It's definately a YES!

Congratulations to Ching Tai, Ben Swee and Narumol for their achievement in the run. For more pictures, visit Tey's blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

4th Malaysia International 24 Hour Walk

The Walk is into its 4th series and for the first time it's held at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. Unlike the past 3 series where it was held in cool mountains of Genting Highlands, this time the competitors have to brace themselves for a tough challenge of walking in the heat and humidity amidst heavy traffic.

The race is flagged off at 8am, Saturday and will end at 8am, Sunday.

Here's the FINAL results :

To view some walkers in action, please click here,

Or Album2,

Or Pacemaker22.

For more Race report, please visit RunWitMe's blog.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Adidas King Of The Road 2007

This is the first time Adidas incorporates a 21km in their run and it is also the first time the race is held at Sunway Pyramid. I think that is a great idea as it will attract lots of tourists-cum-runners to this resort (if the right marketing promotion is implemented) as the Sunway Pyramid offers facilities such as shopping, entertainment, dining and theme park all in one roof!

Runners are required to run the whole 21km on the New Pantai Expressway (NPE). Kudos and thanks to the highway authority for closing the whole expressway for us runners! We understand this will definately burn a hole in their pockets as a result of a loss of revenue in toll collection. Thank you.

I am also pleased with my form this morning as I did 1:29:37 and placed at 45th. position. Alas, only later after the race did I find out that the actual distance is only 19.6km. So, if the distance has been exactly 21km, I estimated I should be doing around 1:36 which can easily be my season best too! For the record, I've always finished around 1:42 to 1:45.

With another one more month to go for my debut 50km in Alor Setar, it feels good to know that I'm on the right track!

Just like me, my wife also took this race as a training. However, she is preparing for something more gruelling - the 24-hour walk this coming Saturday! If anyone is free on that day, please do spare sometime and give your moral support to these walkers at Dataran Merdeka (8am - 8am).

For more reports on Adidas KOTR, please click:

1) Impossible Is Null
2) der_pacemakers
3) Watermelonog

For more photos on Adidas KOTR, please click:

1) KC & The Sunshine Runners
2) Running With Passion
3) Pacemaker 22

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sign Up For Angkor Wat Half Marathon

Picture courtesy of Run With Me.

We have recently signed up for the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon which will be held on 2 December 2007.

This run, to me, is like a revisit to our history book when we were in Form 1. The difference is now I will physically be there to see it on my own eyes. It's going to be an awesome experience for me for sure. 25 years have passed since I picked up a history book. Therefore, in order not to embarrass myself, I've better read up some of the interesting facts about the world renowned Angkor ruins.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

MII Big Walk 2007

Shh...share a secret with you - my buddy won a prize this morning! According to him, this is the first time he has ever won something this big! The last time he won something was when he was still much younger, in a very small run in a very small town in Selangor - that was just mere RM50!

Look at these gigantic trophies! One for him and the other for his wife.

The medal look impressive? All in gold & I love it! Can someone please give me some napkins to wipe my saliva...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

StarWalk In Ipoh

Wai Mun and I took part in the StarWalk Ipoh this morning.

I must admit that I'm not good in walking, be it on leisure or competition! I hate the feeling esp. when my shin sometimes burns to its limit during those walks!

As Wai Mun is taking part in the Walk, I might as well join her...otherwise, the trip to Ipoh will be futile for me. Furthermore, I thought it would be a good idea for me to train the other muscles of my body at times.

The race flagged off punctually at 7am. Indeed, my fear came true when my shin gave way during my first 3km. However, after the 3km mark, I guess I must've warmed up by then and the pain just subsided. I was able to walk fast and started overtaking lots of participants. The feeling was really good!

When I hit the tape, I was really surprised with my timing and position. I got 13th (later upgraded to 11th after some other walkers got disqualified!) and with a PB time of 64'31" (previous best 65+' in StarWalk Penang dunno how many donkey years ago). What surprise me is I was able to do this with only one training last Sunday and while still recovering from my flu!

My joy was further enhanced with Wai Mun emerging champion in her category and finished her 10km below one hour! What a feat!

Now it's time to go back to running....

Newspaper clipping courtesy of Abdul Haris.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My First Back-To-Back Full Marathons

Yes, I did it! 2 full marathons within a week! And of course it was by chance rather than a planned one! I did the second marathon in Penang on 24 June 2007 because I felt I have done quite badly in Phuket a week before. It was more of a redemption effort. Even though I did not achieve my target eventually, surprisingly I felt much better and happier after finishing the second marathon.

I completed Phuket Marathon in 3:53.31 and Penang with the time of 3:56.

Phuket International Marathon, Thailand, 17 June 2007

If this race was flagged off at a much earlier time and if it was not for the rain on race day, it would’ve easily justified its tagline as “Run Paradise”!

The start and finish of the race was held at the beautiful Laguna Beach Resort, the exact place of their prestigious annual triathlon event which we could see on TV! On Saturday, we collected our one-piece BIB, the Champion Chip and t-shirt in one of the air-conditioned halls in the resort. All were done efficiently and effectively and within 5 minutes, we got our Race Kits! (Penang Organizers, please take note!)

The race course was a mainly flat out-and-back course on paved roads. Having said that, when it came to hilly part, it could still pose a challenge to a season runner like me! One plus point is that there were distance markers on every km and plenty of toilets with clear signage along the route! (Penang Organiser, please take note!)

Race Day
At 5am local time (6am Malaysian time) sharp, we were flagged off. Gingerly, I stepped on the 50-metre long carpet, feeling like a triathlete more than a marathoner!

First 10km (my every 5km split as follows: 5km – 27’36”; 10km – 27’13”)
We ran out of the resort into a generally flat kampong road. Although it was still dark, I could see paddy field on both sides, making me feel as though I was back at hometown (I grew up in Alor Setar where paddy field is a norm)! We ran past 2 Siamese temples before heading to a market. Suddenly, I could smell food and felt a bit hungry!! Few monks were seen walking and performing their duties. At this moment I wish Chan WK or Tey ET were there to take a photograph of me running past these monks. It should make a good picture, I think!

Suddenly the tar road turned to a cerment road and we could see more kampong houses.

11km – 15km (27’01”)
The sun began to rise and the day was getting brighter. By now I came across the first “slope”. This is no big deal, Bukit Tunku is tougher, so I thought! Now, we could see rubber trees by the road side. The terrain became undulating but I just ran on confidently. By the 14th km, all of a sudden, I felt the heat on both my cheeks! Wow! How am I going to last this heat for the next 28km? As I was figuring that out, the first runner was on his way back! Bravo! This guy is fast!

16km – 20km (26’18”)
I think God must be kind and without any warning, the skies opened up and poured at 16th km! I guess most runners’ prayers were answered when it rained cats and dogs! My handsome face was badly hit by the rain water and my nicely gelled hair immediately turned flat! Hehehe! I could hardly open my eyes for the next 2km (due to the rain water hitting on my face) and I was worried of any incoming cars hitting on me. Thanks goodness, no vehicles to be seen at that time (or I didn’t see any)! Needlessly to say, my socks and shoes turned wet and heavy. I was worried I would develop blisters as it was my pair of brand new shoes! Oh, my shoes!

Luckily, by the 19th km, the rain subsided. In fact, it drizzled from here onwards until we departed for home. We turned left into a private beach (or was it Sirinat National Park?). I enjoyed this part of the route the most as we were shaded by big trees and free from any vehicles.

At about 20th km, we were required to make a u-turn and step on the red map. I purposely slowed down my pace and stepped on the map. “Beep! Beep! Beep!”, okay, I can be assured that my timing was recorded accordingly! Hehehe!

I was so delighted to see bananas and watermelons at one station. (Penang Organizers, please take note!) It meant a lot to me as I don’t have a habit to carry any power gels during my trainings or in races. I quickly grabbed a banana and did my monkey business. I meant eating it!

21km – 25km (27’48”)
At 21st km, I was shocked by a lightning and thunder! I was praying hard it doesn’t strike on any of us. By now I was running on the main road where I came from. Ooops, did I say a road? It’s more like a stream now after the heavy downpour. I saw water flowing on the road, flood at some places, landslide and red mud! You name it, now I know these things can happen in even paradise too! Hehehe!

26km – 30km (26’59”)
Back to the undulating terrain and rubber estates. I wished I could do a F1-pit stop to change the rubber of my shoes and stinky socks!

I quickly grabbed a 2nd banana at one station.

31km – 35km (25’57”)
This was my fastest section. I think it’s because of the flat course. I reckoned I would do 3:45 at this pace.

36km – 40km (31’12”)
Alas, did I say flat too early? Immediately I got this hot-Wisma Tani-slope to handle! To make the matter worse, we had to cross a construction site where it has an uneven 100-metre stretch full of mud! The workers had already started their day and lorries were plying on the same route as ours! (Hope the Organizer will improve on this in the future runs).

Really “potong steam” at this moment!

41km – 42km (13’21”)
I “jogged” (any name for a pace slower than a jog?) past our resort room and was tempted to turn back and jump into our bed! No grand finishing kicks from me this time round!

Congratulations to my beloved wife for coming in 3rd in her category in the half marathon!

Penang International Bridge Marathon, Malaysia, 24 June 2007
If Phuket tagline is “Run Paradise”, this Penang run should call “Running Into The Past”! Why? It’s because they never learn and improve over the years!

Things are the same as I first started running here 10 years ago. No Champion Chip till now. Colour ribbons were used instead. The amount of chaos at the starting line (especially for half marathoners) and the finishing (for half and full). The lack of isotonic drink. No fruits provided. Almost non-exist toilet facilities. The only thing they have “improved” is that they charged RM1 for the luggage safekeeping! It must be nuts when they expect us runners to bring cash to a race like this!

If not because of my wish to redeem myself after my “disastrous” performance in Phuket, I wouldn’t be bothered to make last minute arrangements for the bus and accommodation services with our PACM to be here!

At 12 midnight, I woke up or rather got up from the bed to prepare myself. There was zero sleeping for me.

I was at the reporting cordon-off area by 2.30am after a saga with the luggage boys and girls!

When the run was flagged off at 3am, I was concern if I would make it to the finishing line without incurring any leg cramps as the weather then was so hot and humid. Luckily as we entered the main bridge, there was a slight breeze which was most welcoming.

Throughout the run, my left hamstring kept sending me signals. Fortunately enough, I managed to complete the run in one piece. To be honest, I thought I had it in me to better the Phuket timing as I did 26’33” for the 1st 5km and 26’11” for the next. However, my pace slowed down gradually without me realizing it! It didn’t help when I pressed the wrong stop button of my watch at 25th km onwards, where I headed into total darkness.

Thank you to PACM for their services and Powerbar team for providing the complimentary power gel.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Triple Double Hills

This morning I did my last longest week-end run, ie 3 times on DH loop and then Lake Garden for a 35km before hitting Phuket. Total time taken is 3:08:08. This week mileage is approximately 72km.

I must say I'm feeling good at the moment and much better compared to my condition 5 weeks ago.

With another 2 weeks to go, I'm into last phase of my training - tapering. Although it's the easiest phase amongst all, I always find it the most critical one as I have to be very careful not to fall sick, get injury or succumb to fatigue both physically and mentally!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rebound In Form

I'm so relief as I managed to cover about 32km this morning, the longest distance so far before the Phuket Marathon which is due to start in one month's time.

I had the company of my wife for the first 11km before we parted. I was to participate in the NB Pacesetters 15km and she has volunteered her service for the event.

I clocked 1:16:54 in the 15km event and was glad as I had the early feel of the marathon pace.

After some sips of water, I continued for another 6km.

I think I'm slowly regaining my confidence after a bad patch for a month due to the flu. I can feel that my body system is slowly but surely getting better now. Just hope I can hit top form comes June 17 in Phuket!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I was supposed to do a 30km run last Sunday. However, due to a cold and sore throat and also the rain in the morning, I cancelled the plan. Instead, I turned spectator and cheer leader for my wife as she was taking part in her 7km-MM Big Walk. Congratulations to her as she got second, trailing behind a Singaporean walker. You always make me proud of you!

Total weekly mileage for week 4 = 20km, way off target of 55km! I hope this will not haunt me later on Race Day!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Just Signed Up For Phuket Marathon

Week 2 of 11 training update:
1) Tuesday - 6.5km easy jog
2) Thursday - 6.5km easy jog
3) Saturday - 7.8km easy jog
4) Sunday - 20km easy long run to Hartamas (1:50:40)

Total weekly mileage - 40.8km.

I'm still struggling on the long run. This morning I have the privilege to run with the Ultra-marathoner, Mr Ngae. This ultra-long distance guru set a pace that I found too difficult to cope. I ended a spent force on the return leg. Hats off to him!

Next 3 weeks of training will emphasize on strength. Expect a much more mascular John after this! Hehehe!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Start Of The Journey To Phuket

Week 1 of 11 training update:
1) Wednesday - 6.5km easy jog
2) Friday - 6.5km easy jog
3) Saturday - 7km easy jog
4) Sunday - 20km easy long run to Hartamas (1:49:44)

Total weekly mileage - 40km. Task completed and objective achieved although I struggled a bit in the long run. But that's expected!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A New Pair Of CNN Sports Newscaster?

Great news guys!

Recently, we went to Hong Kong for an audition with CNN and were chosen to be their newscasters for the sports section!

As you can see from the picture, we were looking good on TV too!(Ahem!)

Looks like we are gonna pick up the mic and read sports news more often soon!

Till then, wish us luck in this new and foreign assignment of ours.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Honeymoon Is Over

One more week and you will see me hitting the road more often in my preparation for the Phuket International Marathon to be held on 17 June 2007. For more details of the event, please click here.

Click PACM members registration for special discount.

All the arrangements for accomodation, transportation and even the training programmes have been sorted out. What's left is the race registration and the execution of my 11-week training programme which is to kick off from April onwards.

I'm looking forward to the marathon and hope my momentum in 2006 will continue to carry me through to this year. However,I need to shelve off 2 to 3kgs extra weight gained during my "honeymoon" after the 30k run!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

They Are The Men

One of our fellow PACM members, Mr Ngae will be competing in the Sahara Desert Ultramarathon which will be held from 25 March to 31 March 2007. This super-duper tough and challenging race covers a total distance of 243km! The temperature may go up to 49 C!

Mr Ngae will be accompanied by another runner, Dr Tan. These two guys are also running for a charity. All the best to them and may they complete their race with triumph! They are the men with Big Ambitions and Big Hearts too!

For more details, please visit PACM website.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Amazing Race Asia II

This will be interesting! You will instantly turn famous and become one of the celebrities the world will know! You will get all the cheers especially from us, the loyal audience for this show from the word "GO"!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Different Kinda Race Experience

What : Ocean To Ocean Relay Running (total distance is 136.6km)

When : 11 February 2007, sunrise to sunset

Where : Pacific Ocean to Indian Ocean, Songkhla to Satun, Thailand

How : A team of 8 runners, relay running for 3 sets per person, in the ordering number.

Who : A total of 189 teams turned up. Pacesetters are presented by 3 teams:-
Pacesetters A – Dr Lyou, Hooi Siew Weng, Lian, Lynn Toh, Lim Chin Kuan, Francis Cheng, Richard Tan, Bala.

Pacesetters B – Garry Goh, Felix Kan, Yap, Wai Mun, Carol Low, John Tan, Peter Lim, Ho.

Pacesetters C – Lim Pueh Tian, Boey Kwong Wah, Gurdip, Ng Chooi Lin, Amelia Ang, Jeffrey Kok, Nigel, Thong Phiam Seng.

At 5.20am local time, all our 3 teams were flagged off together. First we saw Garry, followed by Dr Lyou and then Lim, leaving the Haad Kaew Resort after dipping their baton into the water of the Pacific Ocean.

It was still very dark. Luckily the organizer has arranged for some oil lamps to be placed along the roadside. What a thoughtful planning!

We jumped into our pre-chartered van and stopped midway to cheer Garry and also provide him some water. Thereafter we proceeded to the next checkpoint to drop our next runner, Felix. Not long after that, Garry appeared and passed the baton to Felix.

The excitement started when Uncle Hooi of Pacesetters A overtook our Felix. Uncle Hooi was in top form. He built a good 7 minutes gap before passing his baton to Lian. Our gap from them was widening further as Lian easily outran our 3rd runner Yap. At this point, Pacesetters A team morale was running high. Their captain, Richard Tan was seen jumping for joy. Even their oldest runner, Francis was busy warming up to prepare himself for his turn.

By now the gap was already 15 minutes. I calmly told Wai Mun who was the next runner, not to worry but just stay focus and try to close the gap. And yes she did! The distance was reduced to a mere 80 metres.

Our fifth runner, Carol did a splendid job by sticking to Lim’s pace and retained the distance.

When Carol passed me the baton, Francis was already 100 metres ahead of me. Pacesetters A knew that in no time I would overtake Francis. Richard Tan tried to use all his dirty tricks to stop/slow me down. For example, he tried to hug me tightly and also invited me to step onto a banana skin he placed on the street!

I shamelessly ran pass Francis. Sorry-lah Francis, this is a race! Being the fastest runner in the team, I tried my best to overtake as many runners as possible especially those in the same category. By now, the weather was getting very hot as the sun was blazing on top of my head, even though it was only about 8.30am. I foresaw a tough day ahead!

I managed to build up 13 minutes before passing the baton to Peter. I believed Peter had to suffer the hell of his life as he had to go through a town which was definitely hotter as there were not many trees around. Really salute his strong will!

It’s our 8th and last runner, Ho’s turn. Frankly, I was worried for him as I had never seen him run before. As it turned out, he did extremely well. Besides, he really knew how to enjoy himself by getting all the high-fives from the school boys and girls and the traditionally-dressed supporters!

Soon, the baton was passed back to our Captain Garry again. This time, he had to go through the roller-coaster terrain. I was anxious in case he would walk as he always does on the upside of the Double Hill. Remarkably, he went through the challenges. I supposed it’s the responsibility of a captain that pulled him through. Bravo, Garry!

The heat is at its peak now. However, it had lesser effect on Felix as he came well prepared with a little umbrella head gear! One female runner from Penang was amazed and wished she could buy one immediately. I saw disappointment in her when I told her it was bought in China.

Not long, Lian came chasing from nowhere and overtook our 3rd runner, Yap. Fortunately, the lead was only 500 metres. Wai Mun became our savior again to make sure our team takes the lead from Pacesetters A until the finishing line.

The incredible heat had really taken its toll on most of us. I encountered a cramp on my rib which made my breathing difficult during the 3rd stage of my running. It was as if an asthma attacks you while you are running! I was almost out of breath and this was the most difficult 5km run of my life.

After completing the 3rd stage of the race with Ho being our final runner, we gathered together at the last 1km to meet him and the team of 8 of us ran in a line occupying the whole road. As we were heading towards the finishing line into Satun Pakbara Pier, we were fortunate to catch a glimpse of the sun setting on the horizon. It was the most beautiful scene after 13 hours and 13 minutes on the road. The tan we received could hardly beat how we felt right now – total satisfaction!

As we crossed the finishing line, Ho ran down the steps to the sea, dipped the baton into the Indian Ocean symbolizing our arrival and finally, the relay is over!!! We were all exhausted but relief and happy. We made our way to collect our hard earned medal and were surprised that everyone were given a beautiful jacket with our team name embossed on it. A buffet dinner was served and video clips of the recent race were shown. Later, fireworks were displayed as well. What a carnival!

Overall, I was so overwhelmed by how grand a race like this can turn out! Tremendous efforts and thoughts put in to ensure that we enjoyed ourselves and talk about it. And indeed, this is another different race for us…

For RM45, we were treated to a banquet by the beach at the Haad Kaew Resort on the eve of the race. One could eat and drink as much as you like while being entertained by Thai cultural shows, singing etc. No questions asked. No coupon required! The next morning, we all had porridge with “Yau Char Kwai” and coffee for breakfast. Along the way, we were given sufficient supply of drinks and fruits to keep us hydrated. Some villagers made cakes and offered them to us. The organizers even arranged children at different stations to dance and cheer us. Others stood by the roadside to offer us their high-fives. It really made a difference especially when you are so hot and tired. I am absolutely amazed with the hospitality and generosity of the Thais. Thumbs up to them!! If there’s anything the Malaysian Tourism Board or Athletes Association wishes to learn, they should learn from our neighbour, Thailand.

From a simple race like this, I am glad that Wai Mun and I are able to learn and take home something with us. We learned how to run as a team (a team of 8 is certainly more difficult than a team of 4 especially if you don’t even know half of them). We need to help and encourage one another no matter how slow a person runs. We had to bear each other’s body odour (from the sweat) as we had to travel together in the same van for more than 15hours!!! And finally, we cherished the friendship we made and the team support. Apart from the heat, we never regretted making our trip here.

We would like to thank Richard Tan for organizing our trip there and our team mates for running with us. Special thanks to New Balance for generously sponsoring our group tee-shirts and throwing discounts for their running shoes.

For more pictures, please visit Runwitme blog.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


21 January 2007 – As my next marathon is only going to be in June, this GE 30km run seemed to be meaningless to me. I just wanted to enjoy the run and at the same time I hope to do better than my last year’s timing of 2:35. Deep inside my heart, I knew I should have no problem, as this year’s distance is about 800m shorter than last year’s 30.1km.

This year’s event has indeed attracted more quality runners. It was obvious that most of the runners were very determined, preparing well for the main objective – the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon to be held on 18 March 2007. I was surprised when I realized that my fellow runners who are usually slower than me in training, suddenly ran side-by-side with me. As the result of this, I was influenced to run faster than I had planned even though I know I am not in perfect shape that very day.

The first loop of “bull run” covering the Double Hill, I did 53:57. After that, I tried to increase my pace for the next loop from the National Memorial to Hartamas. However, I found myself tiring down especially after the mosque. I think the huge slope prior to the mosque has taken its toll on me. I was a spent force! Luckily the organizer provided power gel at the Hartamas water station. I was recharged again and continued my journey back. I did 46:11 for this section. I need to mention that I encountered an unpleasant experience at this water station – a fellow runner unintentionally spit water to the right side of my face and the water fell into my cup! Sigh!

For the final section of Hartamas to the Lake Garden, I did 48:04. I was struggling all the way – consequence from the lack of training. I must say it was my mental fitness that helped me cross the finishing line as physically, I was totally worn-out! My back, shoulder, thigh and Achilles tendon muscles were aching for the next 3 days after this race.

Ah, yes! I completed the race in 2:28:12 (unofficial) for this second edition of GE 30km run.