Dragon Back – February 23, 2014

Dragon Back 23km race today. Completed the 23.46km in 1h:51min:26sec (4min:45sec pace) with an elevation of 204m. Despite the slow pace I finished as first runner up in the Men Veteran category, thanks to the absence of some top runners.

Dragon Back race in Meru, Klang is the coolest race in Malaysia. I mean where on Earth can you run on the back of a dragon? You can only do that in Wales and … in Malaysia

I am so into it but let me vent off some criticism first. The race used to cover only one distance, 14.5km, from the school to the end of the Dragon Back and back. I ran that last year. This year for the first time the 23km route was introduced. Having similar high expectations from that route like from the traditional one, I was completely disappointed of km 2 to 15.

Two km after the flag off the 23km route turned left into Jalan Batu Arang. This is a wide road, partially with 2 lanes. For the next 8km I had to run on that road, it was very dark, the only light was shed by the moon, cars passed me from behind at high speeds. Traffic from the opposite direction with high light blinded me, in that moments I couldn’t see at all where I am running, the surface was uneven, patches with gravel, some stretches didn’t offer an emergency lane making me run on the road. This was only interrupted by 2 water stations and 2 RELA officers doing nothing but standing at the side of the road. No road safety, no police or marshalls on motorbikes patrolling the route, no cones to separate the runners from the cars, no signs urging the traffic to watch out. Sorry to use this word but I hated this part!

When turning into left again after 10km the situation didn’t get much better for another 5km until slowly daylight eased the situation. However, the road became narrower with actually no place to run. Obviously it isn’t my time, as this was the perfect opportunity for the Grim Reaper to get me. I am not joking but seriously concerned about this route!

After km 15 or so I finally entered the Dragon Back route and it immediately lifted my mood. A beautiful straight stretch with nasty hills awaited me. Caught up to some competitors and “played” with one of them on the hills but eventually had to let him go as I ran into stomach problems. Knowing of the snake situation in that area I didn’t want to hit the bushes, thus slowed down

Reaching the finish line I was surprised to have completed 2nd in my category. For my personal standards the result is rather poor but as I mentioned in earlier race reports I can’t make as much time for running as before. The impact is quite drastic and obvious, other fast runners I could beat previously finished today ahead of me.

The organization itself and the supporting program were great. I love to spend the time after the race on this particular Sekolah Kebangsaan campus. Meeting people, hydrate, eat a bit, it is such a fantastic place and a good investment of time.

I’ll be back next year if I can, certainly not doing the 23km again if the route isn’t changed

Thank you to Alvin for helping me getting my bib. Congrats to my fellow LYN runners for their top placings, Zijill, Hong Lan and Muhd Firdaus.

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