I ran the KL Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM) 2019 as a returning individual runner. For the first time in the history of this iconic sporting event in Malaysia, the organiser of KLSCM implemented a ballot system due to the high number of registration this year. Along with other participants of SCKLM 2018, I managed to secure a slot through their 'loyalty registration' program.
While successful registrants were elated to get an entry to this increasingly popular running event, the dreaded haze problem which started in early September cast a dark cloud over the event. Air quality for the weeks leading up to Race Day was at moderate to unhealthy levels in and around Kuala Lumpur, serving a bitter reminder of the cancellation of SCKLM 2015 due to poor air quality. Running plans were abandoned, goals revised as it was not feasible nor safe to run outdoors.
I took my training indoors and ran on the treadmill. On the upside, I did maximise my gym membership for the month of September.
Thankfully, the haze started to diminish on three days to race day with intermittent rain in the Klang Valley. I joined a running group with the theme "Haze go Away" and ran my heart out with other keen runners who were all eager to run on Sunday.
A heavy downpour in KL on Saturday afternoon cleared the skies of smoke and dust which have enveloped our city and with that, the haze was finally defeated.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, the KLSCM 2019 will be taking place on 28 & 29 September, it was announced by Dirigo Events on Friday 27 September.
The KLSCM 2019 switched to a two-day format this year - the first day for the Kids Dash + 5km competitive category. There’s also the Friendship Run which started in 2016, a warm-up fun run for the FM registrants, followed by a Pasta Party where runners get to mingle with other runners, exchange ideas and forge new friendships.
On day two, the race categories are 10km, the Half marathon and Full marathon. This year saw the biggest number of participants in the FM category (13,000), followed closely by HM (12,500).
With a record number of participants numbering 40,000 Dataran Merdeka turned into a sea of blue in the morning of Race Day.
I signed up for the HM this year with the goal of breaking 2 hours. I came close to achieving it in the the Great North Run (2:01) back in 2016 but since then a sub-2 finishing has been elusive.
This year I had the company of Cheng Yee (who stepped up from 10k) and JJ who was making his HM debut in KLSCM 2019. A Run For a Reason (RFAR) participant, he helped to raise funds for Hospis Malaysia. Danny on the other signed up for his favourite, no-less-competitive distance of 10km in the speed category. CY, JJ and Danny and I recently had a fantastic time running in the Asics Relay Malaysia.
|Selfie time while we make our way to the starting line from Pen 3|
So I ran alongside CY and JJ starting from pen 3. We were delayed by 8 minutes before we reached the starting line, taking in the electrifying atmosphere of flag-off. It was great running together with my team-mates. I broke away from CY at km 1, and later from JJ at km 4.
|Confetti blast with the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad building in the background|
The HM course was familiar to me as I ran the same route in last year's SCKLM; I was strong and steady in my pace; the heat which usually slows me was not too bad even as I picked up my pace - thanks to the rain the night before. Even on the elevation along Duke expressway and the Duta tunnel I managed to keep on running by reducing my pace but not did not walk at all. As I stood a good chance of reaching my goal of a sub-2 finishing, I stopped only briefly at the water stations. The volunteers were awesome as always. With their outstretched hands offering a choice of water or isotonic drink to the runners, they gave out fun cheers and motivational chants - ‘"jia you", "looking good", "you can do it" and "don't give up".
|Keep calm and carry on running..|
|Getting closer to the finish line..|
|Ya baby.. finish arch is in sight|
I'm happy to report that I finished the race in 1:54:11 and achieved a new PB!
Well done to the organizer of KLSCM 2019 for a doing a great job and congratulations to all the runners who achieved their running goals. I’m sure the KLSCM will continue to grow in popularity as Malaysia's no.1 running event.
|We are the winners.. We are! We Are! We Are!|
|100 Plus Active is my preferred isotonic drink|
|At the title sponsor's booth before it was crowded|
|The moment when you find out it's a sub-2 finishing|
Gun Time: 2:02:28
Net Time: 1:54:12