It was surreal arriving at the start 4am in the morning to accompany my mom the marathoner and watching the full marathoners flag off at 430am. As I waited for my turn to flag off, I could hear the emcees announcing the ongoing positions for the full marathon.
"Kenya, Kenya, Kenya, Kenya, Morocco, Kenya, Kenya, Kenya, Ethiopia... this sounds like a rap song."
At some point, I found a bootcamp friend and we positioned ourselves near the start to avoid the backlog but as a result, nearly suffocated myself from accumulated BO. By the time we started, I was relieved for the space and 'fresh' air.
Omagawrd, the first 5KM was a struggle to find my usual pace!
Everyone was blitzing Jalan Sultan Ismail and as much as I wanted to increase my pace, I had to keep telling myself that I needed to save my energy. Then came Akleh Highway which was surprisingly pleasant to run on. It was a cloudy morning so the lack of sunshine was welcomed on the open highway with gentle slopes and a wide space for everyone to space out nicely. As we entered Jalan Kuching and the 16km, I checked my timing and found myself at 2 hours in the dot. From there on, it was run, walk, run, walk, well mostly walking because the hills nearly gave me cramps. Even at 500 meters to the finish, I was walking and decided to steadily jog it back to the finish. I was well within the 3 hours cut off time and wanted to conserve my energy for the walk back to the car after.
Until they decided to run with me back to the finish line. There goes my slow jog and without realizing, I was near sprinting. My leg had threatened to cramp up earlier and I feared sprinting would bring it about. I tried telling them but I guess all they heard was 'Awwww, I love you gaise..."
But with their encouragement and cheering, my finishing time was about 2 hours 49 minutes at a pace I was comfortable with.
And it's also with their support and numerous other donors that I was able raise funds for MNS in my Run for A Reason.
A huge thank you for Dirigo Events and Essence PR for letting me be a part of SCKLM in a different and interesting way other than just running it and raising funds for MNS. Appearing on TV was truly an experience money can't buy!
As always, the event was well-organized and there was never a moment I felt lacking throughout my run. There was ample water and medical stations as well as distance markers along the way. I was glad to pick SCKLM to be my first half marathon.
Also thanks, Honda for the special half marathon shirt. The finish line is my pride indeed.
So what next for my next challenge? A full marathon, perhaps? We'll see.
*Photo credits to Grace and Alex.