Personal thoughts about the current situation around THE Malaysian running event and more

In 5 days at this hour most of the 35,000 runners that signed up for SCKLM 2015 will be on cloud 9, exhilarated, happy, rewarded for their training effort, on a runners high, robbed of their reward for a long prepration, exhausted, tired, sore, sad, angry, thirsty, hungry, any emotion we could think of will be met in the finishing area on Dataran Merdeka in the heart of beautiful Kuala Lumpur.

All of us hope so at least, as this meant that the event actually took place. It is highly regretful that we cannot fully look forward to this event due to the uncertainty, introduced by The Haze, causing bad air quality.

The Haze

The haze has been affecting runners in Malaysia for the last few weeks. Events had to be cancelled or were postponed. The crucial last few weeks of training prior the top running event of the year in Malaysia have been terribly impacted. Running clinics were cancelled, training runs had to be moved to indoors or completely cancelled, cross training outdoor was not possible due to unhealthy air. Also private life and the economy is hit. Everybody is affected, no matter which position she or he holds, rich or poor, schools had to close, many people got sick.

The situation sucks big time, I agree! Personally I have no clue how to deal with a cancellation of the SCKLM 2015. I have been preparing for this event as main focus since February this year. I improved in many ways, did more quality sessions than ever before prior a race and feel like being in the top shape of my running life so far. How to deal with it, when then the Haze steals the reward of all these trainings, countless hours, around 2,000 km of running in that time frame alone? I don’t have an answer at this point.

Like that, all registered runners are impacted in their own ways. International runners booked flights, hotels, planned their hard earned annual leave around this event. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars are spent already. There will be considerable economic loss for many runners, should the event not take place on October 04, 2015.

As such we all would like to have answers, what is going to happen this Sunday. Will the run take place? When will the decision be made, that the run is called off, if the situation requires it?

Some needed answers as soon as possible to mitigate their monetary loss, to cancel hotels in time to get refund for payments done, potentially cancel or rebook their travel arrangements.

On the other side, many, e.g. me, would like to have the decision of cancellation to be made as late as possible. Hoping the haze situation improves and the show this Sunday can go on.

In this manner the 35,000 registered participants all have their own preferences, expectations, constraints and demands. It is fair to engage the organiser in this context and check what they are planning to do, by when. And so far the organizer is doing what he can do – Communicate! Some may argue it could be more but that is rather subjective and what do you expect? The organiser is currently in the most difficult situation of us all. There are countless of details to be managed, prepared in time, aligned with stakeholders, respecting notice periods of public authorities, there are 3,000 volunteers to be coordinated and much much more than we can see. All this on top of the uncertainty if the event can take place in the first place due to potential health hazard for runners.

In this context I have no understanding for individuals that shoot nasty or non-constructive comments/suggestions on social media or whatever channel against the organizer. The continuous improvement of the SCKLM event over the last 4 years since I have been participating has been tremendous. All / most in the interest of the runner and to make the runner experience better and better. That proves to me that the organizer does act in the interest of the runer. So who or what gives you the right or what is the rationale to demand a “haze solution”, that is hitting the entire geographic region, from the organizer of a local running event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia?

People! Boot your brain, activate your brain cells, leverage on your education, go for tertiary studies, ask people that you trust, whatever your deficiencies are that prevent you from seeing that the organizer is in the same boat as us. Sorry for potentially sounding rude, I am actually not, I’m just trying to help people that have so much grieve and anger in their hearts for a situation that is beyond the influence of anybody involved in SCKLM. There is nothing that you or the organizer can do about the haze problem but hope that the air is good enough to run.

 

Sure this discussion will keep us busy in the coming days, so let us talk about more pleasant and interesting things.

Interesting facts about SCKLM 2015

Earlier this month the race director Rainer Biemans shared some interesting facts about this year SCKLM event compared to previous years, as well as innovations improving the runners experience:

  • 34,256 runners are registered. Top 3 categories are 10km (14,897 runners), Half Marathon (8,974), Full Marathon (6,718)
  • 821 running tourists joining the event together with 33,436 Malaysian residents (incl. Malaysian citizens and foreigners calling Malaysia their home, like me)
  • Top 10 running tourist countries are Singapore (261 runners), Japan (132), Indonesia (107), Philippines (49), Brunei Darusaalam (46), Hong Kong (46), Thailand (28), Kenya (28), Germany (26), Australia (12)
  • Innovations / Improvements / Changes
    • Prize Money Increase, incl. top up of the prize money for Malaysians only giving incentives to the Malaysian running community to train and compete on international top levels
    • Sweeper Bus stations, incl. smaller shuttle buses that collect runners not making it within cut-off time to those sweeper bus stations from where larger buses transport the runners back to the finishing area
    • Public Transport improvement the “Ampang, Sri Petaling, Kelana Jaya and Monorail train lines will commence operations from 2.30am and will run at an interval of 10 minutes” on event date. Get details here.
    • Ballot system was introduced with some additional slots opened after the entire race initially sold out within 4 days. This ballot system may be applied to the entire registration process in 2016, managing the demand better than today, when many couldn’t register in time. I for example couldn’t register my kids, as I tried to register them 2 days after registration opened.
    • FM Medals according to finishing time. There is a sub-4, sub-6 and above cut-off time (participation) medal
  • 8,000 tonnes of bananas will be consumed at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, that is equivalent to the weight of 7 Honda City cars
  • Over 64,000 litres of water and 17,000 litres of isotonic drinks will be served to all runners at the Marathon

21 Pacers will help runners to achieve their target at this year SCKLM

SCKLM Pacers receiving their outfit from apparel sponsor adidas

SCKLM Pacers receiving their outfit from apparel sponsor adidas

The 21 pacers of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon received their official pacer vests from race owner and organiser of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Dirigo Events and the official apparel suppliers of the Marathon, adidas in a handover ceremony that took place at the adidas store in The Gardens recently. Check available pacer times here.

 

 

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