Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Curse of The Marathons

A loyar buruk friend of mine, Teo Chen Lung, pointed out a curious trend in marathon events over the past couple of months. You see, he spent some months preparing for the New York City Marathon last November, seeking to achieve his personal best, and then had to spend quite a lot of money on travelling, food and lodging expenses; not to mention the long, long exhausting journey from KK to New York, only to be told that the race had been cancelled when he arrived there! He ended up running in the park to make the best of what was already a hopeless situation. Leter on, when he arrived home, he wrote to the organizer; I don’t know how he did it, but he eventually got the official medal for the race by running in the park! 

To digress a bit, Teo has an unfathomable fascination and fetish for medals—in fact, any type of medal. He’s been collecting his medals for some years now and it’s becoming something of an obsession to him. He reminds me of Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel in The Ice Age, whose obsession of the acorn is the trademark of the Ice Age movies. Teo pictures himself at his old age—probably smiling to the ceiling while he’s doing this—showing off his medals to his grandchildren sitting on his lap, and explaining to them all the great achievements in his day. But I hope I’m able to live long enough to be there to remind him that the New York City Marathon medal should not count! 

Anyway, After the New York City Marathon, the world was shocked by the senseless bombings at the Boston Marathon earlier this year. Terrorism has now spread to affect sports events too. 

Then more recently still, our very own Borneo International Marathon here in KK had to be postponed on police advice, on grounds of safety issue. 

And now, this!—the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) scheduled for this coming Sunday (30 June) is at risk of being cancelled or postponed too; this time because of the haze situation which has reached a dangerous level. As I’m writing this, we’re still waiting for the latest decision from the organiser. According to the weather forecast, apparently it’s expected to rain in KL within a day or two, and that may help to clear away the haze. So the organiser remains hopeful to proceed with the race. 

I ran the full marathon in the SCKLM last year with a 4:09 finish. I have since achieved a 3:53 finish in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon earlier this year, but somehow I feel the SCKLM is tougher because it is much warmer and humid than Hong Kong. Also, the hilly terrain at the tail end of the race does not help at all. Nonetheless, I’m hoping to at least improve on my 4:09 last year. I’m not even going to consider repeating the Hong Kong feat in KL. But at the start gun, I will try to plan for a 4-hour finish and try to hold the pace for as long as I can. Then hopefully, if I lost steam as the race progresses, maybe I can still finish inside the 4:09 mark. 

I’ve been looking forward to the SCKLM; flights and hotel room all paid up. If it doesn’t happen, I’m really gonna be disappointed! If there is any truth in Teo’s observation on the recent trend in marathon events, maybe I should consider exploring a new hobby. 

Keeping my fingers crossed.


Mas Light said...

I'm gonna pray hard for rain and hope that it'll be safe for us to run the SCKLM.

I think earning a medal and did not finish a race within the allocated time is nothing to be proud for. It's just my personal opinion though. I would rather complete a race with my all my effort and be proud for all the hard work I put in to finish the race. :D

Cornelius said...

Thanks, Mas Light, for you comment.

I must say that in light of the recent allegations flying around via facebook, cases of cheating in running events are getting quite rampant. But I'd like to believe that these are very isolated cases, and I would venture to suggest that we're only talking about very few runners who keep repeating their tricks.

Teo's story in New York is a bit different though. He went to New York seeking to achieve his PB there. But I can imagine his disappointment when the event was cancelled. It must have been a double blow to him. Firstly, he couldn't race; and secondly, he couldn't get the medal.

So he ran a few laps in the park for a distance of 42km in his PB time (according to him). He felt that the deserved the medal even though he did not actually run the official race. I suppose it's quite debatable whether that medal should count or not, but I was just teasing him in this post as I usually do all the time!

Anyway, I'm still hoping to be able to run SCKLM this Sunday! But if it's cancelled or postponed, I won't to KL at all, so I guess there goes free profit for AirAsia!

Cornelius said...

Oh well, it is now confirmed that this race has been postponed to 29 September. So I guess I'm no longer going to KL this weekend.

I can't say that I'm not disappointed, but I'm convinced that it's a correct decision by the organiser. Safety and health of the runners are paramount.

But I'm not even sure if I wanna run a marathon on 29 September, as I'm running the Sundown Ultra 100km 2 weeks before that. I don't think I have it in my legs to run 42km 2 weeks after such a big torture. Sigh...

Juin Yi Ng said...

Well, I'm at KL right now. Haze is no longer as bad as it was last week. But I do agree with the organiser's decision. While it's not as severe, the haze is still around. There is still a risk of participants developing respiratory complications.

On the other hand, I am personally glad that I has been postponed. You see, I just had and incision and drainage done on my left thigh, and the wound wasn't healing as fast as I'd expected. Initially I thought I was missing this event for sure. But it turns out now I have a chance to redeem myself.

But overall, it might be troublesome for those who are flying in and had their accommodations booked. I would've preferred if they make that decision tad earlier.

Cornelius said...

Hi Juin Yi Ng, I meant to blog a bit about the postponement of SCKLM, but as I was saying to a friend this morning, I just don't have the mood to blog these days! But I will try to anyway!

I'm not sure if I wanna do the race at the end of September, as it is only 2 weeks after the Sundown Ultra 100km. I just don't have it in me! So ultimately, it seems likely that SCKLM 2013 is out for me. I will try again next year.