Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brooks Half Marathon 2013 Race Review

The Brooks half just concluded this morning with me seeing a personal worst time of 2:29 for a half marathon. It's easily one of my worst race results ever but I'm not too concerned by it. I never had any expectations or goals for this race and I'm just glad I finished the grueling course in one piece with no signs of any recurring injuries, especially my knee.

The race gave me an indication of my limitations and the direction I will be taking for my approach to my marathon training plans which now goes into full swing. Hopefully I'll have the discipline to stick with the plan to a tee.

What? No medal this time?
This is the second (and probably last) time I'm going to be running this event cos the hills are simply grueling for a half marathon. While I appreciate hill work and challenges in a race but having to negotiate too many inclines that need mountain climbing gear is simply not my cup of tea, especially with a route that was overly crowded.

The wife and me started our journey to the race location a little too early. Got there slightly around 4.15am and found a nice little parking spot that was coincidentally right next to Kelvin. Chatted with him till slightly before race start when he went off in search of the loo and I decided to start a couple of laps doing some light jogging.

Headed to the start area and met up with Jamie, Calvin and Yvonne there. The gun went off while we were in mid-chat but with the cramped start area and the amount of runners there, it took like forever to cross the start timing mat. Got into an easy 6 plus pace following Jamie, Calvin & Yvonne. Not that we could go any faster even if we wanted to cos there was just too many runners in front of us.

We lost Jamie around the 2K mark when he needed to use the loo. I think Calvin either stopped to use the loo or just sped off cos it was just Yvonne and me from that point. I was cursing myself for not carrying a bottle of my own hydration cos the water stations weren't in the same spot as last year. I only have myself to blame for not really reading the race guide and finding out where they were located this time round.

The route was small and VERY crowded that I was finding it difficult and tiring trying to weave around all the other runners. The route really needs some looking into. The enthusiastic response to the race saw the number of participants increase this year and personally I think the route was simply too small and cramped to cater for this much of runners.

But nonetheless, since I wasn't giving this race my all, I just lived with it and carried on with my run. Chatted with Yvonne and pretended that I could keep up with her till somewhere around the 11k mark when I decided that the only way I would keep up with her was to break at least one of her legs ... LOL! I officially anoint her the title Speed Demon!

From that point it was just me and my mind. I managed to still keep to an easy pace till somewhere around the 16k when my race fizzled out completely. Neoh caught up with me and we ran together for a few kilometers and then I told him to keep on going cos I was going to crawl into the finish on all fours.

I was glad to finally cross the finish in one piece with no signs of any injuries, thank god. Made my way to collect my ... urmmm ... trophy and finisher tee and then got a change of clothes. Caught up with Adeline and Xydra of Skechers Malaysia for a bit. Finally also met Elvin, his running friend Adeline and Lorna before heading to wait for the wife to come in from her run.

I ran in the Skechers GObionic, the fourth time I've actually used it for long distance races (One 42k, two 21k's and a 25k) and it worked just as good on all four occasions. I've raked up quite a bit of mileage with it but surprisingly it's still not showing signs of wear and tear yet. But I do have another new pair in standby should it reach its mileage lifespan which might be pretty soon since it's my official race shoe.

Race organization wise, I thought the water stations were a mess and way too crowded that I had to push my way in to get some drinks. A little tip people. Get your drinks, move on and clear the space for the rest of the runners. As far as I'm concerned a lot of people also need to learn a little bit more about race etiquette.

With the overwhelming and enthusiastic response to this year's race that I am sure will carry forward into next year, the organizers may need to re-look the route cos I think the route was overly crowded this time around and became more so when the 10k and 5k runners joined up with the 21k.

Other than that, I did have a fun time. Well, if you consider having to slog up at least 4 inclines fun, that is :D

44 comments:

  1. The morning was way too warm and the crowd didn't help with that. I was parched as early as the first KM.

    Agree with you that the route totally needs a relook. It's way to cramp for the crowd we had this morning.

    To make it worse, the impatient drivers really made one feels unsafe to run too near to the cone when or if one wants to overtake other runners.

    I had my PW too at this race and yet somehow, I'm not to concerned (maybe I should be?).

    Ah well, I have a few more weeks to tweak my plan in need be, for MWM.

    Bummer I didn't get to meet you, Jamie or Yvonne. Yalor, sure hard la to meet femes ppl, kan? LOL

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    1. I was so thirsty I actually took an entire 1 litre bottle and ran, which was a bad thing really cos I drank too much and couldn't run after that ... hahaha!

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  2. The most important thing is to finish injury-free. All the best for the SCKLM training.

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  3. Glad I caught a sight of you too :). Agree with you whole-heartedly on the race etiquette. I got people stopping right in front of me, cutting across to get water. Throwing their cups on the floor or right in front of you. Walking in the middle etc. The list can go on but oh well. Might as well we compile a list and get the organizers to give it out to the runners in hope of educating the runners in Malaysia. ;)

    I think to note though, there is no Medical Personnel that I can see. 1 guy collapsed on the 10K run and was given CPR and medical attention by fellow runners. I'm not sure how's his condition and have not been able to find out anything further on this matter. Hope he's ok.

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    1. I saw that guy who collapsed. Hope he's okay.

      No use compiling lists if the runners themselves won't heed them. It's the mentality that needs changing.

      Congrats on your PB.

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    2. Pretty soon faster runners are gonna be bringing along air horn to make way :P

      Thanks. ;)

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    3. The guy who collapsed had passed away, it
      such a sad incident to happened and he's
      someone that I came to know who started
      with so much passion and he was looking
      forward to this event and even thought of signing up for a Full marathon later in the
      year. My condolences to his family

      JW

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    4. Very sad to hear that. My codolences to his family.

      Yik

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    5. hi JW, so sad to hear the news. may he rest in peace

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    6. Sad to hear that, he was about 10ft infront of me when he collapsed, face down. Many peoples gathered around and I decided to reserve some oxygen for him, continued to move on and hoping to find the first aid. Traffic controller was informed. My condolences to his family.

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    7. @JW - Yes, it is such a thing to hear. My condolences go out to his family too.

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    8. @Anonymous - I don't know it if was the same guy I saw cos I saw a guy being administered CPR by some people and was hoping he'd be alright.

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    9. It was about 1km after passing International Medical University. Must be the same guy, else can't image if more than 1 guy collapsed! I was running 21km and finish after 2 hours 18 minutes. Tiring as no 100 plus(except last station), no powerbar. Leaflet stated powerbar will be given at 10th km, but disappointed. :(

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    10. @Anonymous - A lot of things went wrong with this race but the worst was the death which was very saddening.

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    11. Agreed, no powerbar, no water, too dark or to crowded is nothing compare to lost of life!

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  4. http://asokan63.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-sorcerer-and-bug-slayer.html

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  5. Brooks run is no longer for the serious runners. It looks more like a $ making venture. My buddies and I find our Sunday morning LSDs more fulfilling. Also enjoy the breakfast that we have after that!

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    1. Well, we weren't forced into signing up for these events. We do have a choice but yeah, I agree, most races have become a business venture save a few very well organized and runner friendly races.

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  6. What a coincidence, this is my PW too!
    I don't blame the crowd cause I was just following my own plan @ 7min pace.

    Nice catch up with you :)

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    1. Hahaha Neoh, I think we all PW'd this race!

      Yes, it was great to catch up with you too.

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  7. hi nick, congrats on your run. even at your PW to me 2:29 is a very good time, i only run 10k . didn't have a change to hi, the crowd is huge and of course you're fast.

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    1. The crowd was huge, a little too huge for the event but there will be future races to meet :D Hope you had a good run.

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  8. Hi JW,
    The guy who collapsed, was he doing a 10km or a 21km run? Got a bit confused because he collapsed where the 21km and 10km runners merged.

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    1. I heard it was for the 10k event but don't hold me to that.

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    2. Apparently he's doing 21K. He collapsed after the merging of the runners so it's confusing to everyone.

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  9. Thanks for the review - first off, terrible news about the guy who died on the 10k, I guess that overshadows everything else about the event.
    I agree that the course was crowded, particularly the early part where we seemed to be in some narrow and very poorly lit streets - a friend of mine took a fall here due to the darkness. I was also disappointed that the course measurement was not accurate - the race length was about 600m too long and there's really no excuse for that with modern GPS technology. Also the km markers were wrongly positioned - example the 9km marker was at about 10.25km on the course, which makes pacing very difficult unless you have GPS of your own. This is obviously a very popular event and I hope it continues, but the organisers need to "shape up" if its to remain successful.

    Colin

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    1. Hey Colin, I agree with you on most of the points and I knew it was going to be incorrectly distanced the moment I saw the 2k marker. But these things happen though and I just went with the flow.

      I agree, they need to buck up next year.

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  10. oh Yeah, I didn't like how they conducted the water stations. Very environmentally unsustainable in the use of plastic cups and being strewn everywhere.

    I was doing the ten km, and my Timex Run trainer records 9.38km and not ten km. Not sure why?

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    1. The water stations was one of my biggest peeves. I was parched and had to battle tons of other runners to get a tiny cup of water and even then most times I had to wait for it to be poured by the volunteers. It was total chaos.

      I think the race distances for both the 21k and 10k were incorrect.

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    2. CY, my garmin recorded 9.56km, another runner recorded 9.55km. It's underdistanced by quite a bit since I was taking a lot of the larger turns and zig zagging alot.

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  11. First of all, thanks for the replies. I stumbled onto this blog as I wanted to know if the guy was ok. Very sad, he did not make it. May he RIP.

    Second, your timing is aint that bad as one person said it correctly - at least you finsihed without injury.

    I have to agree about the poor management of the event - the start position was too poorly hoarded and needs to be improved to ensure we do not get pushed from people coming from the sides! The route was dark and narrow in some areas and the water stations location must take the width of road into consideration!

    I cannot comment about the running ettique although my wife did same that she was had great difficulty in passing! ( 10km race ) One of the white lady runner was shouting literally to those walking to KEEP LEFT!

    The ending was also another shamble where I saw the race officials shouting cos there was no proper signage for which lane to run into.....i was there for a good 15 minutes and witness all this and even remarked to one of them...."POOR signages and he just smiled."

    Route wise.....nothing special but I know my wife WILL NOT run again next year. Sad.

    According to wife's Nike watch - the route was just 9.6km!


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    1. Yes, I agree, while everyone is entitled to take part, runners who decide to run slow, walk, hold hands and such should really learn to stick to the left lane. There are a lot of runners who takes these races seriously and some consideration should be given to them to race properly without the weaving in and out which in all honesty is damned tiring!

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  12. To think that a small race like this could attract so much interest. Especially with that case of mortality.

    What to say to that? Well, sad but I suppose it's a wake up call to all runners. No matter how seasoned we think we are or even a rookie, get yourself checked out.

    BTW, Nick, 2:29 isn't too bad. Treat it as an LSD. Just the start of the season....

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    1. I didn't think it would generate this much negativity though but I guess it speaks for itself.

      The fatality was sad, put a damper on the entire event. And I agree that we should be more aware of our body and its limitations.

      I'm all excited to start my training now :D

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  13. Good review. wow, 2:29, that's awesome.

    Personally, I think the run was too crowded( does feel like PLaza tol Damansara during morning hours :P) and the water stations zombie rush, i think it can be improvised...ow yeah, the last 1KM (10K run) is just a moral destroyer..arrghhh..

    a friend of mine calculated her distance and it was 10.25 kms...a bit extra..well, things can't always go perfect.

    This is my 2nd run, and i'm still a newbie in this, i hope the SCKLM will be better.

    Have a good day :D

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    1. LOL @ the D'sara toll remark but you're right though. They need to rethink the route for next year or cap the number of entrants cos the roads just can't take that much runners at one time.

      Hope you had a good run and keep on running :D

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  14. Luv reading your race report Nick. Congratz 4 finishing your race strong n injury free. Looks like we r in the same boat. I was cursing myself too coz the water stations were not properly placed exactly every 3KM, Dang! It screwed up my hydration plan too...

    Plus, last year they handed us with a Energy Gel somewhere circa 12KM, I guess so but not this year... Bummer! They even didn`t provide the runners with a goodie bag, unlike last year... I sensed some profit oriented running event involved here... *Sighs

    Yuppp, too crowded, unlike last year too... They should have closed the road completely at some points... Merging with 5k & 10k runners was only making the congestion worse n dangerous too...

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    1. Sad but sometimes profits outweigh the actual purpose of the run.

      I was actually looking out for some form of power gel seeing as how I dropped one of mine and was one short but unfortunately for me there was none.

      The crowd was just way too big for the route provided. So many things just went wrong for this run la. Hope things improve next year.

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    2. They should do what they said, as stated in the leaflet that powerbar will be provided at 10th km. I usually bring 1 pack of power gel for my 21km run, unless organiser provides us the gel or bar. This time I was forced to take no gel to complete the run, so now I know I can run without power gel. Bad thing is I have taken several cups of 100 plus at the last water station, I may have taken other people's share, sorry for that :P else I may collapse also.

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  15. Nick that is good enough with such crowd unless you can have less people or or wider path. I'm on the 21K too, I can't imaging we are running through the housing estate with cars here & there and out of sudden the 10K aprticipant is crushing into the same route, what a poor planing and the starting is also without any announcement made with sudden everyone starting running....
    Secondly is sad to here the participant didn't make it through , condolence to his family.

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    1. Everything about the run was wrong. Hope you had a much more decent run than I did.

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  16. Dear fellow runners,
    This may be a little late given all the foregoing comments but it’s NOT too late for the Organisers to take note of since the next Brooks run will be a year away.
    The following needs to be rectified or deserves special attention in future runs:
    1. There should be more mobile toilets. Those that were available were near the START and FINISH lines. How inadequate this was could be seen from fact that many runners had to run to nearby Construction sites or housing areas to relieve themselves.
    2. Water stations were woefully inadequate. In addition, for a 21K run there should be at least 1 Isotonic drink station midway. There was none.
    3. You need to put more paramedics on duty. Although they would not have prevented the unfortunate death of a runner, their presence would have been encouraging and useful in event of lesser injuries occurring.
    4. Do NOT promise something that you cannot deliver. The running brochure mentioned that there would be Power Bars given out. There were NONE.
    5. Your officials should check the race route at the same time that the race would be run. Then you would have noticed that there were no lights along Jalan Gembira and Jalan Senangria. Since the first road was narrow and the second full of portholes, having thousands of runners dashing forward in the dark risked serious injury if one or more in front were to fall and those behind were following too close to avoid them.
    6. There should be more people giving out coloured bands. There were only 2 volunteers surrounded by runners (with no one to call out for them); many runners raced on without even knowing that the bands were being handed out.
    On the whole, although your run was not as well organized as the Stanchart run, it was at least better than the NIKE one.
    Thank you for your attention.
    Yours sincerely,
    Raymond Kwok
    27.4.13

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    1. Good points, now if only they'll actually take note of it.

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