New Year Eve Fun(d) Run – December 31, 2014

The running year 2014 ended with a blast with this run organized by Pacesetters Athletic Club Malaysia (PACM) or in short the “Pacesetters”. I am actually not into such very short distance races, as 5km are not worthwhile for me to wake up early morning on a weekend. Of course this run was different, taking place on New Year Eve and close to my house some more. This plus the change of mind that a 5km race once in a while is very beneficiary to a runners overall performance, made me sign up.

Start time was 9pm on a normal working day, at least for me. Left work relatively early just before 6pm, traffic was unexpected heavy and I got home only after 7pm, I actually wanted to leave for the race by that time to make sure I get parking and have time to check out the event area. All got a bit late and I left home just before 8pm. To my surprise everything went smooth from there, traffic OK, traffic control at the event area OK and I managed to park by the roadside leaving for home any time I want without being obstructed by blocked roads due to the event.

The run was part of a bigger event organized by the shopping centres in this area, IPC, The Curve and E-Curve. A big stage for a concert leading the people through the countdown into the new year was already setup. The starting/finish arch/area was also ready and a number of runners were already present. Small torch lightes and disposable rain coats were distributed to the runners, as well as balloons. Didn’t go for the balloon, as I took this run as a serious workout.

A podium position, i.e. to make it under the top 5 was out of the question with no veterans category offered, thus running against much younger (some half my age) runners. A few of the top runners were there and the short distance is not my hobby-horse. OK, enough with excuses. I didn’t know how I will perform, only 3 days after the tiring 25km race on Sunday (more excuses?) but I was getting really excited.

After a good warm-up I went with fellow runners to the starting line with the crowd getting bigger. We wanted to be close to the starting line to avoid the human (slow) traffic later. Time went by fast. Runners were informed that the run is actually no more fun but rather a fund run, to give it a more charitable touch. Reason being the natural disaster hitting Malaysia with a major flood hitting large parts of the country. Many runners had been anyway very busy and engaged to buy goods needed by those unfortunate suffering from the flood the days before.

Very punctual the race was flagged off around 9pm and a few hundred runners were unleashed, hitting the busy roads of Mutiara Damansara. I didn’t run in this area before, so didn’t know what to expect, was it flat, was it hilly? With heavy rain before the run it was relatively cool, so a good time was possible if not for too many hills. Let’s see.

A big group went off very fast and went far ahead of me. I guessed that most are going too fast and won’t be able to maintain a crazy pace of 3:40 or so, that is as fast I also went for the first few hundred meters until I checked. My target was to stay below an average pace of 4:10, so I had plenty of buffer. I slowed down a bit. As expected I started to overtake now runners continuously.

After some dark patch through a rather uneven road (construction area) we had to go up a short slope. On top of that elevation we turned left towards a busy crossroad we had to cross. Traffic there was controlled by police so no issue and safe passage was possible.

we went into a residential area, a wide and quiet (not many cars) stretch awaited us. It even went downhill for a bit, later just flat. We spent something like 2.5km in that area. Very enjoyable and I found motivation in overtaking other much younger runners, even a young chap (1/3 my age maybe) that looked so fit and strong at the starting line.

Into the 4th kmthe only water station came up. I was worried about the continuation of my pace, until then I completed every km in a pace below 4min/km. I couldn’t resist, I slowed down, poured something like 4 or 5 cups of water over my head, sipped a bit of water and isotonic drink and off I went again. Surprisingly nobody overtook me during that few seconds I spent at the water station, meaning I left others far behind me.

Shortly after the water station we entered a busy road leading back to the busy crossroad mentioned earlier. Cars were stuck there, obviously caused by the run, having the crossroad blocked for flow of runners with the second category, the 3.8km family fun run also crossing that road.

Cars parked to the left and the two lanes on the road were filled with waiting cars. The alley for runners was very narrow here for around 500m. I was OK with that situation, being in the leading pack the available space was sufficient. Was worried though for the following larger groups of runners and how they would make their way through this sea of cars.

At the crossroad we turned right towards the finish area. I checked my watch, still one km to go and felt excellent. It was of course tough to go that pace but I had reserves. This feeling gave me confidence to catch up to the runner I saw ahead of me. He was quite a bit ahead but my engine was ready to utilize cylinders 7 and 8 of my smooth and well cooled running engine. We came close to the finish line but checking my watch we still had 700m to go to make the 5km complete. To my disappointment however I was directed to the left, meaning to the finish line. The distance was heavily under milage, 500m according to my GPS watch.

No chip system was used to take timings and only the first 5 runners of each male and female got placing tags. I didn’t get one but also not many runners finished as I could see. Still until now I don’t know if I made it into the top 10 or not and may never get to know :'( so sad 😉

Anyway, my finishing time of 18min:08sec for the 4.51km is already excellent and exceeded my expectations. I am really pleased with that result, showing very positive impact of my training. More was possible would I have known the route is only 4.5km or if it actually would have been 5km, as I was ready for a strong finish that was unfortunately denied. As such I finished not completely powered out and with some reserves.

I was very happy that I got two bottles of water immediately after stopping to run – loved it! a banana and bread were also provided, sufficient to re-fuel after such a short distance. After saying hi to a few running friends I left home. After all I had to wake up before 5am the next morning (year actually) to make it to the New Year run of the LYN Runners at Lake Garden.

For me it was an excellent event and a perfect ending of a difficult running year. I wish you and myself a happy, fun filled, healthy and prosperous 2015!

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