The 2013 edition of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) marked the third time I participated in the Full Marathon (42KM) category. To be honest, I was really disappointed with the postponement of the race earlier this year due to the haze, simply because I actually had time to train back then. I didn’t have time to train or participate in any races prior to the new date with exception to the Men’s Health Run as taking care and raising my daughter became the priority.
So with that in mind, I didn’t set any lofty expectations as I approached the starting point at Dataran Merdeka in the early morning of 29th September 2013. The first two things I remarked to my brother (who was doing his second full marathon) were, a. the weather was really hot at 3.30 in the morning, and b. there weren’t that many participants as last year, judging by the number of cars in the Padang Merbok car park. The first point would come back to haunt us later.
The starting area had this carnival-like atmosphere; I guessed that those who decided to show up were just happy that they got to participate in what can be regarded as the best running event in Malaysia. I met several friends and that was it, we were in the race pen ready to run this thing. The race started off at 4.30 a.m. and this being my third time running the Full Marathon, I had the race course map right in my head, well, except for the water stations (CPs). The first water station was further along the course compared to last year’s, so instead of Brickfields, it was on the Federal Highway, but I skipped that and the second one as my brother was carrying water.
Like last year’s race, the kilometers seem to pass really fast even though I was running at about a 6:10 pace. The reduced number of runners made it pretty easy to run, I was afforded a lot of space despite the fact that the race occupied 1 and half road lanes at any given point of time when we hit the highway segment. The first 10 kilometers were completed at around 1 hour 7 minutes. Like I said earlier, the lack of expectations made me didn’t pay particular attention on my timing, but then as I hit the 21 KM mark, it was about 2 hours 22 minutes.
Not bad. I continued running and by the 25th kilometer the sun was already up in it’s all blazing glory. The Tun Razak, Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Kuching stretches were a horrible mess. I started to run/walk after the 30th kilometer and somehow managed to reach the start of the Bukit Tunku area at the four hour mark. Yup, it was crazy but somehow I managed to almost match last year’s pace. But then, I decided to walk. I wasn’t really cramping at that point, I just got bored of the race, and Bukit Tunku has always been THE WALL to summit.
Summit I did, but at a snail’s pace. My barefoot running friend caught up with me, and we decided to just hike the segment. After a while, my brother caught up with me at the final downhill stretch. Traffic management seemed to have improved at the Bank Negara u-turn, we didn’t have to jostle with 10K or 5K runners, but the hallmark of this year’s race would be the overall horrible conditions of the roads, no thanks to the MRT construction going on this year.
I also noticed the lack of clean-up crews for a number of checkpoints. The last stretch of the race involved a u-turn into Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and it wasn’t as crowded as last year, although crowd control at the finish line was a disappointment. 10K and 5K runners were also crowding in our race chute, so yeah…disappointing.
My net time in the end was 5:30, gun time being 5:31. Not bad for someone who didn’t train for the race. Last year’s timing of 4:56 remains a Holy Grail of sorts that needs to beaten. Perhaps next year. For more race reports from the previous editions of the SCKLM, head over here: http://www.nineoverten.com/?s=standard+chartered