The Borneo International Marathon 2013 (BIM), which was originally set to flag off at 3am on 05 May, was expected to be its grandest and most successful installment in the annual series dating back from 2008. The organising team had worked very hard since almost a year ago to ensure its success. But a few weeks ago it was announced that polling for the 13th General Elections falls on the same day. That announcement was a big blow to the organiser, and a late night meeting was subsequently held to deliberate what to do next.
The next morning, another meeting was held with the Police and the KK City Hall to submit a new proposal in an attempt to salvage the race. After much deliberation, it was eventually decided that the race could proceed, but with the starting time adjusted to a good 5.5 hours earlier; in fact at 9:30pm on 04 May. The idea was that the race would end at around 4am on 05 May, so that runners would still have sufficient time to cast their votes for the elections.
The organiser is aware, of course, of the months and weeks of preparation that most runners must have committed to run the BIM. Not to mention that plane tickets have been purchased; hotel rooms paid for. The committee members have also put in many, many long hours into organising the event. It seemed such a waste if the race is cancelled or postponed, so it was understandable why the organiser had tried so hard to proceed with the show despite all the problems.
In the days that followed, the running fraternity around the world was shocked and saddened by the news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon that claimed 3 lives including that of a child; and many others severely injured from the blasts.
Well, the BIM was to flag off this coming Saturday night at 9:30pm, but a last minute letter from the Police has urged the organiser to postpone the race. The organiser was devastated; in spite of all the hardwork to salvage the race, in the end a letter from the Police was the last straw that broke the camel's back.
As can be expected, many participants reacted angrily; they felt cheated and taken for a fool. Harsh comments all over facebook. They demanded for refunds of entry fees, even compensations for air passage and hotel rooms already paid forthe usual knee-jerk reactions. But very few of them tried to understand why the race simply had to be postponed.
I was disappointed too, as I was looking forward to run the BIM again this year, since I was unable to run it last year. But I keep an open mind; whatever decision the organiser makes, I know that it was made in the best interest of the participants.
Just a few days ago, over 700 detonators and explosives suddenly went missing from a quarry in Menggatal as reported here. Nine people have been remanded to assist in the investigation, but so far the detonators and explosives have not been recovered.
Now I'm not suggesting that this is gonna be another Boston, but we have had some rough rides in Sabah over the last couple of weeks. We have had the bloody episode of a mini war in Tanduo; we're gonna have the elections coming very soon, and some of you might still remember the history of bombings here in KK during one of our elections years ago.
Be honest and ask yourselves from the bottom of your heart, if you were the Police and the organiser, knowing very well that those explosives are still out there somewhere, would you really take the risk and proceed with the race anyway?
My heart breaks to see all the harsh words thrown at the organiser. I'm truly thankful to have an organiser that cares for the runners. I hope I'm not alone...