Bursa Bull Charge 2014 – October 21, 2014

One month after the established Rat Race Kuala Lumpur the inaugural “The Bursa Bull Charge 2014″ running race took place. With Bursa initially being one of the co-organizers of the Rat Race, this year they started their own charity running event with following vision ” The inaugural Bull Charge will bring together all of Malaysia’s Capital Market players in a great collaboration for causes and for community.” (taken from http://bullcharge.bursamarketplace.com/). Meaning the collected fees that companies had to pay to register their teams went towards charitable organizations.

DiGi Telecommunications sent one team to this event, with me being one of the selected and lucky runners. Race day fell in my holidays but that didn’t prevent me from participating, considering it as an honor to compete for my employer in a fair running competition.

I made good progress with training over the last one month since the Rat Race. However I had a lot of respect of the running route, which was again hilly like last year Rat Race that also started from Exchange Square.

I ran with three of my colleagues in the 5km Corporate Challenge. Other categories were the 1.5km CEO’s Run, as well as the 2.5km Corporate & Youth / Young Execs Relay.

Scheduled start for my run was 3:50pm but was flagged off 10 minutes earlier with heavy rain setting in. I welcomed the rain with open arms, as it helps cooling me down during the run, allowing me to perform better.

Right after the start the route led downhill for something like 200m before taking a sharp right turn into Persiaran Raja Chulan. Here a nasty hill welcomed the runners. I did not know this area, just was aware that if I don’t adjust my pace up the hill I would be tired out for the rest of the run. A lot of other runners overtook me during that phase. Once reached the top of the hill maybe 25 runners were ahead of me. That didn’t bother me, as I did see this so many times before. Less experienced runners chase off right from the start but then have problems to sustain their pace and even crash completely sometimes.

Knowing that I increased pace during the downhill segment leading towards Jalan Raja Chulan. Already here I took over a number of runners. I reached km 1 and realized I just finished it in 4min:05sec. This meant I was 19 seconds faster than planned with my target finising time of 22 minutes (4min:24sec pace). I was OK with that for the time being. I thought I could still accomplish my target.

Km 2 led towards and into Jalan Sultan Ismail. The route led through some of the busiest roads in the heart of KL but road safety was fantastic. One lane was reserved and blocked for the runners at all times. Great also the many distance markers at every 250m or so and every full km was symbolized by an inflatable arch that runners had to pass. This is great for setting intermediate targets and seeing actual progress of the race. KM 2 came also with the first of two water stations. Thanks to the cool conditions I did not have to stop for my cooling down activities, i.e. pouring water over my head, I actually could keep my pace and run on.

Km 3 was completed just after Wisma Denmark in Jalan Ampang. Wisma Denmark was the office of Alcatel in the 90s and I spent more than 3 years there at the end of last millenium 😉 The run started to take its toll. I could feel fatigue setting in, my legs became tired. Luckily also rain became stronger, helping to keep a cool head – literally!

A few hundred meters after the second water station km 4 was completed. Good news I thought but only until the route led into a small alley behind Wisma Olympia another venue I spent a lot of time many years back with one of my clients sitting there. The alley led up a hill. It felt steep at this moment in time with 4 fast completed km in my legs. The rain helped to stay cool and I caught up to more runners. Upon reaching the top of the hill I knew that only a few hundred meters had to be completed and I pushed to increase my pace.

I overtook more runners and closed in to the finish line. Just around 300m before the finish line I could here another runner behind me approaching. It surprised me that at this time I was still able to become faster, being determined not to allow anybody to pass me. I succeeded, the steps behind me faded, I obviously increased the distance to the runner behind me.

Great feeling to pass the finish line, even though I did not receive a placing tag, as this was only for the first 3 runners. I stopped my watch and was super happy to see that I completed the self measured 5.04km race in below 20 minutes! Rather than running an average pace of 4:24, I finished with 3:58.

I got my finisher medal, a banana, a can with isotonic drink and a bottle of water, all within 50m after the finish line. I loved it! Just my expectation to be allowed to hydrate right after the finish line. It was raining still very heavily now but I did not seek shelter like most other runners. I just stood there in the pouring rain enjoying a great run, with a personal best over 5km and looked at incoming runners. That is one of the reasons I love running, this feeling of achievement is simply great and in moments like this overwhelming.

The official results confirmed my timing. My official timing is 19:53 bringing me to a fantastic 6th place in an open field, i.e. without age restriction/limitation but most top finisher looked anyway more like veterans, just like me. The winner is a former national runner, so no sad feeling to have lost against him. The other 4 runners ahead of me all finished within 19 minutes and are in close reach. Give me 6 months time for my normal running training and I can make it into the top 3 the next time.

The organization itself was great and done by Dirigo, the owner and organizer of the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon. It was a close to perfect run and most enjoyable. A big thank you as well to all the volunteers that had to work extra hard under the heavy rain – great job guys!

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