Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hindsight is Twenty-Twenty

I used to spend a lot of time having interesting conversations with my running buddy, Dr Peter. You see, we were not what one would describe as runners when we were younger. But as fate would have it, we started running at more or less the same time in 2008 when the first Borneo International Marathon was organised; and within a few months we became running buddies. It was during those many, many running sessions that we've been having our interesting conversations—discussing about topics ranging from life experiences, world issues, the medical profession, and practically anything under the sun.

Alas, throughout the years, I have developed the passion for cycling and swimming, and our paths would cross less frequently these days. It feels like it's been ages ago since the last time I ran together with Peter. But this evening, I met Peter at the Likas Sports Complex, and we were able to indulge in our typical conversation again.

One of the issues that came up was on the recent Vibram HK 100km that had to be aborted due to severe weather condition. Many participants were stranded at Tai Mo San, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. I have seen video clips, and I was rather surprised. The rescue mission was quite dramatic. 

I've done the Vibram HK 100 twice of course, and it was during my first attempt that I almost gave up at CP8. Those who know me well would know that I almost never give up on anything once I set my mind to do it. I can still remember that I was shaking uncontrollably from the cold, and it seemed like no amount of blanket and hot tea could help me. My fingers were numb and I had little sensation in them. A lady volunteer then gave me her gloves, and after a few minutes, my fingers felt much better. I struggled through the remaining few kilometres and eventually crossed the finish line a few hours later.

Now bear in mind that although it was cold when I almost gave up, there was no ice then. Yet it was horrible for me. So I can just imagine what the participants were going through when ice set in on Tai Mo San. I find it interesting to note that while some people are praising the organiser for aborting the race when the weather turned for the worse, others are saying that the race shouldn't have started at all. 

Actually, what I've learned from my own experience in the many, many races that I've joined before, is that when things go wrong, especially when there are casualties. The blame will be on the organiser no matter what the organiser does. No amount of preparation can help the organiser.

We have our own The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT) here in Sabah, of course, and the organiser is very strict on the mandatory kit. Some of the items may seem irrelevant, and it's amusing that some participants were ridiculing the organiser for seemingly being paranoid. Some participants have gone on to challenge the organiser's decision.

The truth is that the organiser is also human; it is impossible for him to know what will happen in the course of the race. Things can suddenly go horribly wrong when you least expect them. One can only try to mitigate those by being prepared.

The frosty condition at Tai Mo San was reported to be the worst in 6 decades. What's the odds of ice forming on Tai Mo San at the time of flag off? It would have been  nice if the organiser had a crystal ball. Yeah, that would be good enough for the organiser to abort the race altogether.

The thing is, when seeing an accomplished event, it is so easy to say that the organiser should have done this and that from the very beginning. Hindsight is Twenty-Twenty! Too many of these people would say they would have known so and so would happen. But I bet if they were put in the shoes of the organiser, something would go wrong too. Something almost always would go wrong!

Wouldn't it be nice if we can see the future? There will never be any accidents in this world. Nobody will ever make mistakes. And my step-mother would be a rich woman today because for heaven's sake, I don't know how much money she has burnt on buying 4D TOTO up to now. But no, she is not a rich woman today, having been buying 4D for ages now. Alway the same story on each draw—Kalau saya tau...

Hindsight is Twenty-Twenty!

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