Last Sunday’s run at Bukit Jalil, the Brooks Half Marathon 2014 almost got cancelled by the organizers due to the haze. Coming from Klang (which fared poorer on the air quality index), I’ve been chomping at the bit for a good run since the haze has resulted in me staying indoors most of the time, so thankfully the organizers chose not to cancel the run. In my opinion the air quality was far better in Bukit Jalil then when I left Klang that morning so I had a feeling that it was pretty good conditions for a run (and I was right).
The run’s start and finish points were at the same location, the Bukit Jalil stadium but this year, parking was horrendous as most of the stadium parking area was taken up by a furniture/home expo of sorts. A majority of the runners chose to park by the side of the road, which also happens to be part of the running course. While I understand the benefits of the half marathon and 10K events close to each other, there were simply too many people coming in at the same time. I took a detour and quickly found a spot near the National Squash Centre and made it to the start in good time.
The start point was very cramped considering the amount of runners and there was not much a runner’s enclosure to begin with, so we had 10KM runners mingling with the 21KM ones right before the start of the half marathon at 5.30. The cramped conditions created a bottleneck and this continued for the first few kilometers due to the cramped running lanes. Things began to look up a little as we entered KESAS and turned back into Bukit Jalil for the start of a pretty hilly course. This brought us into the Sri Petaling area running underneath the MEX highway flyover.
At about the 8th kilometer we turned into a route bringing us past Happy Garden, and this was one mother of a climb. And this was the part where the distance markers started getting a bit wonky, but first, about the climb. The incline was pretty killer and claimed at least one victim when I saw one runner sitting in ambulance with a bloody leg. If the torture wasn’t enough, there was a u-turn and we had to face the hill again. I actually prefer this route though over the first time I ran the then-named Bareno Half Marathon (Bareno is still a sponsor in this year’s edition), which brought us through high-traffic areas in the OUG/Happy Garden area.
In comparison, this stretch was fairly devoid of traffic and after that crazy hill stretch we turned left into the road right next to MEX and at the end of it there was a u-turn to the other road on the opposite site of MEX. This was a gentle uphill stretch which led us back into Sri Petaling. Remember when I said the distance markers were off? There were off by at least a kilometer before things got back to normal right before entering into Bukit Jalil. We ran past the LRT station, turning into the road next to the medical school and into a upper-middle class housing area.
My legs went dead at this point, (18KM) and I’ve to say my head as well and for the first time in ANY run I couldn’t feel my legs nor think. That was a pretty scary experience but I somehow managed to rally through running past the Calvary church before turning into the highway to face another massive climb (which was kinda like the last climb in the Dragon Back run few weeks back). Once I walked through the climb, I ran the entire final leg, passed my car and the finish line at the Bukit Jalil Stadium, finishing in a net time of 2 hours 19 minutes.
The timing was pretty ok given the lack of training and the hilly course. The run had a crappy start but it was fun and challenging throughout. The water stations could have served the drinks cold given the heat but that’s just a minor thing. The finish had a lot of food with kiosks and food trucks serving cendol, tau fu fa, soya bean, watermelon slices, Milo and 100 Plus, that was just totally awesome. I would recommend the race to anyone but if you are on a budget, let’s just hope they revise the price a little since at RM 75, it’s pretty steep.
The results are over here: http://www.championchip.com.my/2014/Brooks%20Half%20Marathon%202014.pdf. And if you need to check out the course, head over here for the map, which I recorded using my Garmin FR10 watch: http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/501417609#