No marathon because of haze? No problem!
Mid-June was a particularly difficult time for many in Malaysia and Singapore. Plagued again by the annual haze that billowed its way across the Straits of Malacca from Sumatera, we were choked and cloaked by the fumes originating from the burning palm plantations in neighbouring Indonesia.
The haze reading was so bad that schools in certain districts were forced to close. I myself chose to work one day at home because the area in south Selangor where I work was terrifying to head into.
Runners everywhere too faced a dilemma. Many couldn’t train outdoors, lest they risked contracting health problems. Many resorted to training indoors on the ‘dreadmills,’ others simply chose to take time out or do some cross training. Because the KL Marathon was coming up on the horizon (30th June), many pondered whether the run would take place at all. Some secretly wished it would be postponed (because they felt they lacked sufficient training) while others were more adamant and insisted the show went on.
The moment of truth came when the organizers of SCKLM finally announced on late Wednesday night of June 26th that the race would be postponed after all, to September 29th. Some runners howled with disappointment while many heaved a sigh of relief. I believe the decision was the best that the organizer could have made at the time.
However, like a cruel joke, the weather had started to improve starting that Thursday morning of June 27th, and by the time Saturday, June 29th rolled around, KL was blessed with the bluest of skies with the puffiest of white clouds.
The postponement of SCKLM was most hard-hitting for runners who had traveled from outside Malaysia. Many still came, regardless of the situation – including my friend Kiky who had traveled from Jakarta, and Shinta from Singapore.
Although SCKLM was canceled, many of us local runners still decided to run in KL and bring our foreign friends around on Sunday. While there was an independent group of runners doing a half marathon loop starting from Merdeka Square to Sri Hartamas (apparently 300 people turned up), my circle of friends in Gaited Community and 24Running decided to embark on our own LSD, starting from the Bukit Aman Car Park and into Sri Hartamas territory.
I extended the invitation to Kiky and Shinta (who then invited Aster, another Indonesian based in KL) who both agreed agreed to come. In the end, only Kiky and Aster made it. But we made up the 30-something strong crowd and it was truly a day to remember.
We split the group into the 10k and 14k routes. I decided to do 10k and bring Kiky and Aster up Bukit Tunku earlier into our running time to give them a taste of Double Hill. About 8 of us did the 10k route, including Gai who ran with her camera and took many silly shots of us.
As the 10k group finished, we hung around the National Monument (Tugu Negara) area until our 14k friends had finished their route. When everyone finally finished, we took some more pictures as memento – creating more noise and chaos than a bunch of tourists. In fact, I think we did scare some tourists away. 😀
So even though SCKLM didn’t materialize that weekend, we made the best of it and had a ton of fun that wouldn’t have been possible during a more competitive scenario such as a race.
So here’s to 29th September – when we reprise the date for KL Marathon in – hopefully – weather that is equally, if not better, than the original date of 30th June 2013. Good luck to all training for it!
Photo credit: Gai