I've lost count of the number of marathons I've run even though I haven't run that many. I'm not even sure if I've done 15 road marathons so far. But I've done many other races ranging from 10km, half marathons, triathlons, even up to the recent Ironman triathlon. Not forgetting several ultra trail and road marathons up to 100km. Although I don't consider myself in the least an elite runner, I'd like to believe that I know quite a bit about running. I've been to a fair number of races in the region, and except for a few of them, I almost always try to achieve a personal best (PB).
Well, last Sunday (4 May), I ran the Borneo International Marathon (BIM). In fact, I ran the BIM since 2008 except for 2012 because I was helping some friends to organise the event for that year. My best performance in the BIM was 4:29, I believe set in 2011. After that, I tried to achieve something better in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, but I was only able to achieve 4:09 in 2012.
Going into the race last Sunday, I was determined to run a sub-4 hours full marathon. I have of course achieved that feat, but that was in Hong Kong where the temperature was much colder. I reckoned that it's doable in KK too. But oh boy; I was in for a tough race!
Well, to cut the long story short, I finished the race 7 minutes adrift in about 4:07. I stopped trying at about 5km to the finish line, because having made a bit of mental calculation, it was obvious to me that I had very little left in my legs for the required pace to achieve the target. It was one of the hottest marathons I've joined, if not the hottest of them all.
You know what, I could blame the ruthless weather that day; I could grumble about the hydration stations that ran out of isotonic drinks and cups; I could grumble about the insufficient sponge stations which came rather too late at the tail end of the race anyway; I could grumble that the drinks at the stations were not iced. I can never run out of things to blame for my failure to achieve my target time. Perhaps I should grumble like how a seasoned marathoner would. It's much more agreeable to my ego! After all, in most cases, only the seasoned marathoners would complain in such a manner. But when seeing the newbies, they were profuse in compliments; they praised the organiser and volunteers for a job well done and pledged to come back again next year!
If I'm fit to run next year, god willing, I will participate again. I take the race as it is, for what it is, for better or worse, and try my best to achieve what I can. For I don't expect everything to be perfect. I go for these things for the challengemay it be the heat, the slip-ups at the hydration or sponge stations, or lack of paper cups. The only way the race can be perfect according to my liking, is for me to arrange everything myself exactly how I like it to be. I'm not saying that I won't appreciate a perfectly-organised race though.
I run these races knowing very well that it won't be perfect. I view them much the same way I face life on a daily basis. Too many people expect everything to be perfect. But sometimes in life, it's all those little imperfections that make it worthwhile pursuing.
May I appeal to the many so-called seasoned marathoners out there for their understanding and kindness to give the organiser a bit of leeway and breathing space. Trust me, they are trying their best, even if their best is not good enough for you. Your valuable feedback will be greatly appreciated, of course, and that will be brought back to the drawing board to be discussed and deliberated for future BIMs.
I am therefore inclined to join the non-seasoned marathoners in pledging my return yet again to the Borneo International Marathon 2015, perfectly-organised or otherwise. Bring it on!