An open air bus ride on the official SCKLM route tour.
Not long after I posted the unofficial video for Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) route, I had the opportunity to follow the official media tour of the course on Saturday, 6th of September, organized by the event organizer company that was handling the race.
Along with other runner-bloggers like Lina and Max, I had breakfast at Uncle Lim’s near Pacific Express Hotel and then hopped on a KL “hop-on-hop-off” (HOHO) double-decker bus where we mostly sat at the roofless second level. It was my first experience riding the HOHO bus. Let’s be honest, it’s one of those things that exists in your city but you’ve not done it because you’re local!
However before that, a few runners had signed up to run the entire 42.195km course starting at 4:30am. They were supposed to complete the run under 5 hours and provide feedback regarding the route. When asked what advice he would give to all runners doing the full marathon, a runner named Chan said that pacing yourself is of utmost importance. A common tip indeed but one that is sometimes forgotten when we’re running with a large group of people and get caught up in the moment.
Lina also introduced me to Rainer Biemans, a Swiss expat and race director of SCKLM, and he actually acknowledged the unofficial video that I had made earlier in the week. He told me that the video was not 100% accurate but nonetheless much appreciated. 97% was as close as we could have recorded.
The tour & trivia
During the media tour, Englishman and official coach of SCKLM Mark Williams provided some narration through a microphone from the lower deck while we enjoyed the view from the top level.
Police outriders led the bus and actually halted and diverted traffic flow to make way for our vehicle to rumble through the city without delay! It was quite exciting. Now I know what a VIP with such privileges feels like. It must have been a comical sight for the public to see the outriders leading a bus with livery of a giant durian fruit, boarded by young adult bloggers and marathon runners. Usually people are more accustomed to seeing police on motorcycles escorting heavily-tinted black luxury cars transporting ministers!
During the bus drive, Coach Williams mentioned a few trivia items which I remember vividly as he’s quite a funny emcee. Some of them:
- The ideal marathon climate temperature to run in is 8-12 degrees Celsius (but some of us digress – we think that range is too cold, our ideal is higher than that, like 17 or 18. What can I say, we’ve got tropical skin).
- Marathons held in tropical Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore do not make ideal courses for a world record due to the humid and hot weather (no kidding).
- The lowest temperature ever recorded in Kuala Lumpur was 19 degrees Celsius (oh hey, when was that??); annual average temperature stands at about 26C.
- In tropical climate such as ours, runners lose as much as 1kg of water weight from their bodies for every 10km ran, so by rough estimation a marathoner would lose 4kg of water weight by the time he/she completes it! Hydration is a key to a successful run.
- Fastest time for a Malaysian runner to have completed KL marathon: 2h 29mins.
- Coach Williams thinks this year’s SCKLM will set a brand new record as it has been modified from previous years’ to be runner-friendly (lots of relatively flat terrain).
- The longest highway stretch, which is DUKE (10km long), will be closed entirely on one side, leaving the other 3-lane road open to controlled traffic.
There were actually roads which we did not partake on the media tour as it was not possible with a double-decker bus lest heads get hit by overhead highways and old neighbourhood tree branches (e.g. the U-turn at Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway, the Jalan Langgak Tunku-Jalan Tun Ismail stretch which consisted of winding downhill and narrow roads).
After we made our way back to Merdeka Square, Coach Williams popped upstairs to conduct a quiz and give out freebies. I got a shoe bag for correctly answering the question on the fastest Malaysian time for the KL marathon.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the tour, the company was great, the weather and scene were fantastic and the event organizer staff were really welcoming and friendly. How often does one get to feel like a VIP, on a bus at that? Simply awesome.
Thank you to May Huen, Gloria, Rainer, Mark, Lina, Max, Azmi, KK, Julie and all blogger friends who made trip possible and a ton of fun. See you all on 12th October!
Check out more pictures below.