Each time I ran a race in Japan and was amused by the runners dressed up as a cuddly mascot and such, I used to wonder....what is it like? Well, at the most recent Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon - Boost Juice 10KM, I found out while dressed as Pikachu.
Right up until 15 minutes before flag off at 615am on 30 Sept 2023, I was still on the fence about wearing it for a whole 10km. But then the girl math kicked in - since I had already bought it for RM120 in Japan, went through the hassle of bringing it home, used it as my charity hook and now, brought it to the race site, why not?
As it turned out, the answer to why not was...it was hot.
I started in Pen 1 due to my initial optimism of running 1:10 for this race when signing up. That was of course, before I decided to dedicate the run to raising funds for a good cause as part of the Run for a Reason. But yes, you can imagine what a sight I was - decked out in yellow, standing amidst some of the nation's fastest runners.
Again, why not?
I started out with the intention of taking it easy. On top of the Pikachu suit, I was nursing a knee misalignment so going slow seemed like the best bet. But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all of that good intention went to hell as soon as we flagged off.
In the first 5km I hit a 7 min pace and did 35 mins, fast by my standards la ok. It also didn't help that my watch GPS was going haywire in the city so I ditched relying on it and ran based on feeling. And I felt fine at that point.
But silly little me started to overheat in the Pokemon furry suit and ended up drastically dropping my speed after 5km. Then came the uphill turning toward Padang Merbok and Lake Gardens and all thoughts of running vanished as quickly as my stamina.
I was gassed and despite the situation I had unwittedly placed myself in, I was irked that I could not run faster. Onesie, knee and pride be damned. Then out of nowhere, I could hear people cheering me on.
"Go, Pikachu! Run, Pikachu!"
I ran the last 1km like my life depended on it, spurred on by the cheers of the crowd. As I approached the finishing line, I spotted the Seiko timer ahead, counting at 1:19:45...and I thought just gun it for that sub 1:20 finish. And I did.
1:19:51 was my finishing time in a Pokemon suit. And if you asked me if I would attempt it again. Well, maybe one day, when I am not the only one in my group of friends doing it. Until then, my cap off to those who do this for fun regardless of distance - you have earned my respect.
Once again, thank you Dirigo Events and KLSCM for inviting me to run this event annually and see you next year!