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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Skechers GOrun 5 Review

It's been more than 2 years since I've put on a Skechers running shoe. It's not because I don't like the brand but on the contrary. I love the brand but due to contractual agreements, Skechers and just about every other brand was off limits to me. 

But now that I'm able to, I've been putting some miles into the Skechers GOrun 5, the 5th iteration of the GOrun series. I've ran in their first ever performance model, the original GOrun and came to love the GOrun series since then. In fact, the 4th iteration (2015 edition) of the shoe gave me my marathon sub-4 PR and it has never disappointed. 

Sadly, the past 2 year have seen a decline of Skechers performance series shoes in this part of the world. While there are many Skechers outlets around, the number of people in a Skechers performance series running shoes has been declining slowly but steadily. It's sad really cos the brand still has lots of potential. It could be in part that Skechers over in the Asian region seems to be going the lifestyle path.

Back then the brand was slowly but surely making its presence felt over here in the running industry with a lot more people taking to the roads in them. From hardly being able to see a single Skechers Performance series to seeing them just about everywhere during a race event spoke volumes on how good the shoes were (it still is, mind you!).

But these days you'd be hard pressed to spot the latest Skechers Performance series shoes and many good Performance models don't even see the light of day over here. I haven't even seen the Skechers GOmeb Speed 4 till today but I've already read reviews by wear testers for the GOmeb Speed 5 (and what a review it is). There really is a lot of good Skechers Performance series models out there but sadly the only way I'll get to try them is to probably purchase them online.

Anyways, back to the GOrun 5 (GR5). The pair that I've been using actually belongs to my wife (she gets a better fit with the men's version). She's been a fan of Skechers as long as I have and she gets the credit for getting me to try on a Skechers shoe in the first place all those years ago! She decided to pass me the GR5 simply because she thought I'd be able to put the shoe through the paces better than she could, she's such a gem that way, and I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

My last experience with a Skechers was with the Skechers GOrun 4 (review here) and there were actually two versions with the second version utilizing the new GOknit™ upper, something that I haven't had the chance to try since back then the knitted version wasn't available here. The only other shoe that I had experienced something close to the GOknit™ upper was the Skechers GOrun Bolt (review here) with its woven FitKnit upper and I personally loved that shoe.

Now, the GR5 employs a non-stretch knit upper called the GOknit™ that keeps the fit and feel of the shoe the same even after running in them for a few weeks. They fit the same as the first day of use and you'll not find any hidden component or surprises in them. I dislike shoes with too much overlays and thick synthetic uppers but the GOknit™ upper of the GR5 is something I truly love. In fact the Skechers Performance series shoes has been seeing the GOknit™ used on a lot of models, for instance the GOmeb Razor and the GOmeb Speed 4.

As I mentioned above, I love the upper of the GR5 which is fully seamless and was practically a picture of comfort! The GOknit™ was so breathable that on a more windy morning run, I could actually feel the breeze flowing through them. The drawback to this was the shoe wasn't at all waterproof in any sense. On days when I ran in the rain, my socks were soaked within minutes even in slight drizzles. I guess you can't win them all and I don't always run in the rain anyway.

The tongue and lacing system has seen a redesign of sorts with the tongue on the GR5 now being padded unlike the more raw version of its predecessor, the GR4. I had no issues with the change and in fact found them to be an improvement as it stayed in place without any slipping during all my runs.

The GR5 uses the same flat laces as the GR4 but the lacing now passes through fabric loops instead of eyelets and cuts down on the number of rows from seven to five. This in turns leads to a lot more space between the rows and is bridged by adding two elastic bands which only spans over the tongue and not around the entire midfoot though I found it didn't do anything for me.

Aside from that, the usual detailing like the fused Skechers logos and reflective elements are carried over from its older sibling. The Quickfit pull tab, something that was actually part of the back heel in the previous version is now located separately on the top of the heel as a synthetic pull tab. I didn't like the Quickfit pull tab on the GR4 and I still don't like it on the GR5. I see no useful reason for it really.

The heel holds pretty firm and there really isn't much changes in the heel mesh and padding. A hard internal counter is added to shape the heel and the collar walls are sparsely padded like before. The GR5 fits true to size and my pair fit like a charm.

While the Skechers GOrun 5 still states 'M-Strike' under the midfoot, the midsole has now been transformed into a more flat design. With the ditching of the rocker-shaped design, the GR4's Resalyte EVA foam has also been changed to the new 5Gen® EVA foam variant instead. The entire midsole is now a single density foam unlike the separate foam component of the GR4.

The compression molded 5Gen® midsole gives the GR5 a more cushioned and responsive feel. The cushioning is actually pretty remarkable seeing as how the GR5 no longer uses the pillar cushioning of its past GOrun models but now features a much flatter profile.

I had mixed reactions about the cushioning when I first slipped them on. They felt really soft and I was afraid they wouldn't be as responsive. I'm so used to running in much firmer shoes that the GR5 felt like I was walking with cotton on my feet. But that fear was quickly put to rest the moment I started running in them. The GR5's cushioning, while feeling a little pillow like but not to the point of sinking into them has just the right amount of firmness and bounce which propels your feet nicely as you toe off.

The Skechers GOrun 5 has shed a little weight from its previous iteration, now weighing 7.5oz for a men's size 9. The GR5 has a stack height of 18mm in the heel and 14mm in the forefoot giving it a drop of 4mm which is something I really like in a shoe.

Skechers Performance has decided to drop the original GOimpulse pillars found on the previous generations of the GOrun series and have gone with a more developed outsole without sacrificing the weight or flexibility of the shoe. The entire outsole has been redesigned and there's a lot more rubber used now. The forefoot and rear are now covered with a thin sheet of rubber save for a small area under the midfoot.

The amount of rubber on the outsole this time around is a lot more generous than the previous iterations of the shoe and the exposed windows cut into the outsole provides a more cohesive cushioning behavior with a much wider opportunity for durability, regardless of how you land, well almost anyway. The outsole lacks any aggressive lugs and while the GR5 grips just great on dry surfaces, you'd have to watch out a little when running in wet conditions.

I've put in more than 80k (not including my wife's mileage in them) with the Skechers GOrun 5 and I've loved every moment of it. Right from the first time I slipped my feet into them, I couldn't find anything wrong with them. I've put them through various paces, from easy runs to tempo and track work, various distances, from 5k runs to 20k runs and they were a breeze to run in. I've always loved the GOrun series right from the very first model and the 5th iteration of the shoe doesn't disappoint one bit!

The Skechers GOrun 5 is a much softer shoe than the GOrun 4 and the new 5Gen® foam has made a huge difference in ride experience. The design features on the side wall of the midsole which has sharp grooves making the midsole easier to compress as you run has also contributed in the feel good experience of the GOrun 5.

Like I said earlier, the cushioning of the GR5 is simply just right. It's not too soft and the softness tapers from heel to forefoot nicely with the rear feeling more cushioned compared to the forefoot where a thinner midsole gives it the firmness it needs. For what it's worth, the Skechers GOrun 5 is a versatile shoe that can be utilized for a variety of runs, be it a 10k or a marathon. Being a minimal 4mm drop shoe, you'd need to be a little careful if you're coming from a much higher drop shoes as you could feel some initial soreness in your legs.

If you're looking for a trainer/racer, I'd say the Skechers GOrun 5 delivers just that. It's a shoe you can go fast in or simply just cruise around in them. If you've never tried a Skechers Performance series before, I'd say it's about time you tried one. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thanks For The Memories

While the year really isn't up yet and I should really only post this next year but heck, I'll probably be too busy running or going places during the holidays to even bother with my blog let alone sit and write a post so here we go!

The year has been pretty much up and down for me. There's been some good times, some great times, some bad times and some really awful times but through it all, we take what we can from the good times, learn from the bad and move on with life. Nothing really much happened except for three key moments running wise that made me wise up to certain things.

This blog is basically about my running life so I'm not going to dwell or touch on my personal life, after all it's called a personal life for a reason, right? Don't worry, I won't be my long winded self but there's some things I need to jot down so I can go thru them again one day when I hang up my running shoes, sitting on the rocking chair in my verandah (not that I have one yet, mind you) while sipping a mug of hot coffee. See, I have my future planned out already!

The racing year started a little bitter sweet for me. The Seoul International Marathon was on my list of races for the first quarter of the year and I was so excited for it. I would also be turning 50 just days before the race and that added the excitement factor up a notch or two. It would be the first time I would be celebrating my birthday out of the country and for it to be my 50th was kinda momentous.

A training programme was drawn up (Hansons) for the race and I religiously put in the training for it day after day. The training wasn't at all easy, there were times I was so focused on it that I neglected the people around me, namely my wife but she knew how much I wanted to chase that ridiculous dream I have in my marathon quest and stood by quietly cheering me on. 

Sadly, the entire Seoul International Marathon experience was bittersweet. My dreams came crashing down like a ton of bricks during the last quarter of the race. I'm not really sure what happened but to say I was disappointed was putting it mildly. I was devastated! I put the devastation aside for another day and enjoyed the rest of my holiday which was nothing but fun. I've never been to Korea and in fact didn't think I would even like Korea but somehow ended up loving it. Let's not even talk about my wife. She would relocate there if she could ... LOL!

Next up was the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. It was a race that's really close to my heart seeing as how GCAM14 was my first ever overseas race and I fell in love with the race and the place. I almost wasn't sure if I would make it to the race this year as ticket prices and accommodations were not really cheap. My son would be starting his Automotive Engineering course just after the race and that would involve lots of money so I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to make the trip. 

But fate had different plans for me and through the kindness of Tourism & Events Queensland, I would after all be running GCAM17. I was ecstatic and a training plan was drawn up or rather a plan was drawn up for me. A good friend, a Bostoner at that so kindly said he'd draw up a plan for me to hit the goals I was aiming for and I jumped at the opportunity. I've never had a coach before, albeit one online, and I was excited. This would also be the first time I would not base my training on the Hansons Method. 

I spoke to my wife about it and while she wasn't excited that I was diving into another plan so soon, she knows me so well and how stubborn I can be at times but she also knows what I'm capable of and she threw her support behind me again. I dove right into the training. I was eager to get things right this time without really thinking things through properly. Had I recovered enough? Had I even figured out what went wrong in Seoul? And here I was diving into another strenuous training plan.

The first few weeks went decently. I could keep up with the plan and back and forth updates on my status with my 'coach' kept me going. But I began to feel the lethargy and the lack of purpose soon enough. I was still able to keep to the plan but I wasn't enjoying it anymore. It was a chore, it was something I just wanted to get over and done with and I knew at that instant, something was wrong. This is not what running is all about. I wasn't happy, I wasn't excited waking up in the morning to lace up anymore. I was dreading it even. 

I spoke to my wife and she somehow knew I would be going through something like this. She is after all the only person who witnesses my training close up day in day out and she knows when I'm not able to do something even though I'll be in complete denial about it. The decision was made to pull out of the training plan. A complete reboot of my running was needed. I decided to drop the marathon and instead run the half marathon in the Gold Coast. I informed my 'coach' and he understood, at least I hope he did. 

The weight that was lifted off my shoulder with that decision was enormous. I felt invigorated again. The half was something I could do and was excited about running again. Suffice to say, I started enjoying my runs again. The decision to do the half marathon in the Gold Coast was actually a blessing as I finally managed to collect all four categories of the event, something I'm pretty proud of. The holiday also did help rejuvenate the soul though the sad thing was my wife opted not to follow since we would be needing the funds for the younger fellows college once I get back.

One other major highlight that I was glad to be a part of was being invited to run the Queens Baton Relay around the Bukit Jalil Stadium for the 2018 Commonwealth Games that will be held in the Gold Coast in April next year. I've never ever participated in something like this and was really honoured and lucky to be a part of history. The baton I held for a fleeting moment was the actual games baton and knowing that my grubby paw prints will be all over it as it made its way across the oceans was something I'll remember for a long, long time to come. Seeing as how it's going to end up in the Gold Coast, a city I'm slightly biased with somehow makes it all that much more memorable.

Those were basically my three highlights of the year running wise. I really opted out of running back to back races, something which happens over here on a weekly basis simply because I wanted to concentrate more on actually putting in some real training for key races that I've set my mind on for next year. After all, how many times would I want to run the same race routes for races over here and the exorbitant price of a race these days can be utterly ridiculous. I'd rather save up for another shot at my favourite race #GCM18 which offers a much better race experience hands down!

One other milestone in my running will be seeing its end. I was honourned to be given the chance to be an ambassador for Saucony Malaysia for the past two years. It was something I've never even dreamed of nor expected would ever happen. I've had some good times with the team over here helping build and promote the brand as much as I could. I enjoyed my time as an ambassador but it's time I moved on. I have other challenges and goals that would need my utmost focus with no distractions.

With that in mind, I decided that I would relinquish my position as an ambassador for Saucony Malaysia. It wasn't a decision I came by easily but it was something that needed to be done. I've enjoyed the 2 years and the support from the Saucony team and am grateful for the opportunity to represent the brand but it's time to step down. I wish the team nothing but the best and hope that in my time there, I've managed to make a difference and help bring the brand to the new level of awareness it enjoys today.

Besides I've always been a shoe geek at heart and trying out new brands of running shoes has always been my first love. One can never have too many running shoes. That said, my wife is already giving me the eye at the shoe buying binge I'm currently on! Yeah, Jamie and Choon Yuen, you guys better watch your sixes cos I've been blaming it all on you two .... Hahaha!

That basically summed up my year in running. See, I told you it wouldn't be too long winded. With all that behind me, I've got some goals that I need to focus on for 2018 and it would involve a lot of training to try, keyword here is try, and achieve those goals. All the plans are drawn up and ready to go when the time comes. With the goals and dreams more streamlined (and more realistic), my confidence level is slowly building up to face the challenges ahead.

With that I'd like to wish everyone an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Two-time U.S. Olympian, American 10,000m record holder and three-time BAA 5K Champion to make Boston Marathon debut

WALTHAM, MA (December 12, 2017) – Saucony today announced that Molly Huddle, two-time Olympian and three-time winner of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) 5K, will make her Boston Marathon debut at the 122nd edition of the race on April 16, 2018. Huddle, who has earned 25 U.S. national championship titles on the track and roads, set the American 10,000-meter record (30:13.17) with a sixth-place finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics. In her highly anticipated first race at the 26.2 mile distance, Huddle ran 2:28:13 to place third at the 2016 New York City Marathon. Huddle, 33, lives and trains in Providence, Rhode Island.
“At Saucony, our athletes inspire us; they make us want to be better in everything we do,” said Mark Bossardet, head of sports marketing for Saucony.  “Molly is one of the most gifted runners in the world and she’s already had great success on the streets of Boston, having set the American record here at the 2015 BAA 5K. The whole Saucony family joins the Boston running community in our excitement to cheer Molly on in her Hopkinton to Boston debut as she becomes part of the prestigious Boston Marathon legacy.”

In November, Huddle won her 25th U.S. title at the 2017 USATF 5K national road championships in New York City in 15:24, bettering her own course record of 15:27 set in 2013. Huddle’s win came one year after she finished third in her marathon debut there, giving the United States a spot on the podium for the first time since 2010. Huddle has also proved her dominance on Manhattan’s streets by winning the last three NYC Half Marathons.
“I’ve always had a case of major race envy when it comes to the Boston Marathon,” said Huddle. “Every year I’ve been in Boston during the marathon always wishing I was running it. Now that dream is going to become a reality and it’s hard to not get too excited. I’m inspired by the Boston fans and my family at Saucony for standing by me throughout the years.”
The last American woman to win the Boston Marathon was Saucony sponsored athlete Lisa Larsen Weidenbach (now Rainsberger) in 1985.

Huddle is coached by Ray Treacy, who is also the Cross Country and Track and Field coach at Providence College in Rhode Island.

About Saucony: Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW), is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals.  Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including EVERUN™, ISOFIT™, Geometry of Strong™, PWRGRID+™, and the Total Run System™ apparel line. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to


T. 617.824.6126
F. 617.616.6126


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saucony Zealot ISO3 Review

I've had the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 (Reflex Edition) for a little over a month and have come to love the shoe so much that at the moment it's my go to shoe for my easy runs. This is actually a little surprising seeing as how I couldn't really get its older sibling, the Zealot ISO 2 to work for me. I was a little skeptical about the Zealot ISO 3 but having read some rave reviews about the Zealot ISO 3, I was keen to give it another try and I was glad I did.

Now, if you've run in Saucony's Kinvara series of running shoes, then the Zealot ISO 3 can be described as sort of a Kinvara with a lot more cushioning to it and easily a lot wider in the upper as well. The Zealot ISO 3 is not a replacement for the Kinvara, mind you but more of an add on, for want of a better word, to the Kinvara.

The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is a completely major upgrade of the Zealot ISO 2. The Zealot ISO 3 sheds almost all of it outer material this time around which in return frees up a lot of the forefoot room making this a much roomier and less restrictive shoe as compared to its older sibling. The lockdown in the midfoot is a lot better with the previous versions ISOFIT panel evolving into a neater twin strap configuration. 

For a shoe that looks this bulky, it's even more surprising that Saucony has managed to reduce the weight of the Zealot ISO 3 down even more to 8.5oz (based on the men's size 9) as opposed to the Zealot ISO 2's 9.5oz. Even my wife was pretty impressed with the weight after she took the shoe out for a run cos she thought the shoe looked pretty bulky. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is a completely new shoe. The upper consists of a brand new engineered mesh free from all the layering of the previous version and is now a whole lot less stiffer and breathable than its older sibling. Two independent straps replaces the ISOFIT of the Zealot ISO 2 and is similar to the Prolock found on the Kinvara models. These 2 straps stretches over the inner sleeve and the outer mesh of the shoe and has reduced the number of lacing rows to 5 against the 6 of the Zealot ISO 2. 

Without the added overlays of its predecessor, the Zealot ISO 3 looks a whole lot sleeker now. A short strip of Flexfilm over the toebox, a fused logo and with some reinforcements over the lacing area, there's really not much Flexfilm on the rest of the upper. The rear of the Zealot ISO 3 also gets a facelift with molded mesh being used instead of synthetic with the hard internal counter staying put. A soft 'Rundry' lining is used for the heel collar with a little more padding than before and provides a nice lockdown heel fit.

The tongue doesn't feel as padded as its older sibling and consists of a mesh top and a softer lining below. The tongue is part of the full inner sleeve and has absolutely no slide whatsoever. I prefer this version's tongue compared to the older version.

The midsole of the Zealot ISO 3 is made of a single density injection molded foam and is similar to the Kinvara 8. The Zealot ISO 3 has done away with the SRC crash pad that was found on the Zealot ISO 2's midsole and comes with an EVERUN topsole just underneath the removeable insole and is basically one of the reasons why the Zealot ISO 3 is a full ounce lighter than the Zealot ISO 2.

The outsole is made of soft blown rubber molded into Chevron shaped strips, a design similar to the Ride and Triump. The flex grooves are a little deeper than its predecessor and loses some outsole coverage under the inner heel which now has a smaller rubber piece and the rest just being exposed foam. 

The Zealot ISO 3 is a 4mm drop shoe with a heel stack height of 26mm and a forefoot of 22mm which makes its midsole run a little thick and provides the cushioning while the softer blown outsole runner makes the forefoot landings more muffled and provides great grip throughout your run.

I've put in close to over a 100 kilometers in the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 and have really come to love the shoe. Like I mentioned much earlier, it's like a cushioned Kinvara and I love the Kinvara as well. For me, the Zealot ISO 3 is great for those longer runs when you want a little more cushion under your feet than what the Kinvara can offer yet still want to be able to up the pace whenever you like and the Zealot ISO 3 will let you do just that. Be it a slow, long easy run or a faster paced run, the shoe delivers!

I've taken it out on various surfaces, road, track and even on grass, covering various distances and in all kinds of weather, well we only have three types of weather here anyway which is hot, really really hot and rain and they came true it with flying colours. The upper was so breathable that I hardly felt any hotspots and when it got wet in the rain, it didn't become water logged and drained out real fast. 

I run very early in the morning when it's still pretty dark and my model, which was the Reflex edition, was designed with fully reflective midsoles and 360 degrees of reflectivity all round kept me pretty visible from all sides. And the reflectivity really works cos from afar, it looks like I have lights on my shoe which gives a whole new meaning to being light on your feet!

Would I recommend the Saucony Zealot ISO 3? Yes, I most definitely would. If you're looking for a nice daily cushioned trainer that is light but still offers a decent amount of cushioning, then you can't go wrong with the Zealot ISO 3. Even my wife, who hates bulky looking shoes really likes the Zealot ISO 3!

The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Reflex edition is available at Running Lab 1Utama, TopMan World, Studio Sunway Carnival, Key Power, Stadium KLCC, Stadium Pavilion, Stadium Mid-Valley and RSH 1Utama and retails at RM499.00. The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Reflex is currently only available in the men's version.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ATM Half Marathon 2017 Race Review

I signed up for the ATM Half Marathon 2017 on a whim and simply because being a military enthusiast, this would be the closest I could get to running an equivalent of the Marine Corp Half Marathon. Besides, the race was to be held in the seaside town of Port Dickson, a town I used to live in for about 4 years when I was still a toddler of 2, and both my wife and me thought it would serve as a nice short weekend getaway for the two of us.

The marketing for this race was kinda impressive, a military exhibition on race pack day, a nice 'short' 21km along the beach (think Gold Coast) and though I don't run for medals, this one was pretty cool and a keeper. So, with that impressive sales pitch, I clicked the sign up button and plans were put into motion. 

I went online, searched for a hotel nearby the start location that would be facing the beach. The location of the hotel was picked cos it gave me the chance to take a slow 1km or so jog to the race start as a warm up. This race was really beginning to excite me. I was even having delusional thoughts of trying to achieve a half marathon time that's currently out of my league, that's how excited I was. And the fact that it would be a nice mini holiday (I even took an extra day off work) for us was also upping the excitement scale. 

But sadly, things didn't actually go the way the organizers, Muse Group Asia, promised. I signed up for the race roughly 3 months or so prior to race day and didn't really bother about it except checking on FB occasionally for updates on the race and everything seemed to be going fine, right up to the last 10 days or so before the race.

Time to get that pesky fly!

That was when the organizers for whatever reasons of their own decided to change the start location, the location of the race kit collection, the event tee suppliers and most importantly, the race route itself. The original out and back route along the beach was now 2 loops of basically horrible scenery with only about a kilometer of ocean view! I for one hate loops and had I known it was going to be a loop, I would not have signed up.

Adding to that, when I questioned the organizers about the extremely last minute change to everything on Facebook, they had the tenacity to tell me not to be 'overly upset' about things. So if I paid for a One Plus 5 and they gave me a One Plus 3T, I shouldn't be 'overly upset' with that? I was fuming and gave them a few pieces of my mind. Mind you, all the changes happened just 10 days or so before race day. I'll be very wary of any Muse Group Asia events from now on.

I wish I could get me one of this on the top of my car!

Since the hotel was booked and my dog's pet boarding fees had been paid, both of us decided that we'd carry on with the trip, get the race over and done with and just enjoy the holiday. And with the prior two weeks the both of us had, we really needed the holiday badly.

We started our journey to Port Dickson around 11.30am after dropping off our dog at the boarders and took a leisurely drive down arriving a little over an hour or so later. The day was to be a hot one with the blazing sun out in full force and being a coastal town, it felt twice as hot as it was in KL. The race kit collection was packed with runners collecting their kits as well as tourists who were passing by. Most were drawn in by the military exhibition which I give credit to the organizers and the Armed Forces was simply super! 

Getting my Uber qualifications.
The moment I saw all the military equipment and vehicles, I totally forgot about the race kit and was running around from one exhibit to the other like a little child on steroids! I did say I was fascinated by all things military didn't I :D? After numerous photos, my wife had to literally drag me to go collect my kit. The race kit collection was a horrendously slow process. I wasn't the only one fuming about the slow process, those behind me shared the same thoughts. Finally after a nice long wait in the sweltering heat, I got my kit and headed back to the expo for more fun and pics with the military.

Once I was finally done, we headed to check into the hotel which was now about 5km away from the race start location. There was no way I could run to the start as a warm up and would now have to drive to the start location. So much for booking a hotel close by. Oh well, you just make the best out of things. Once we checked in and after a short rest, we headed out for some photo opportunities along the beach and to get some food.

It was an early night for me since I had an early wake up with the race flagging off at 5am. Now, I've not been in any training plan but have been maintaining my fitness with almost daily runs and the occasional track workouts so while I was going to give it a go, I wasn't hoping for a spectacular result, especially with the route now being a loop. Did I mention how much I hate loops?

I got to the race start much earlier since I had to make sure I got a parking spot. I managed to find one, about 800 metres away from the start line and decided to jog over as a warm up. Since race start was a ways off, I managed to actually get in 2km worth of warm up mileage before my stomach decided that I needed to use the Porta Potty. Luckily there was no queue and the moment I stepped in the skies opened which caused me to stay inside a little longer. The rains that came just before race start, while welcomed, didn't last long and would only make the place more humid.

Some of the exhibits on display.

There was quite a number of participants, both military personnel and us non military. The thought of running with military personnel was quite exciting. One piece of good news was that I knew way in advance that Twenty First Century Sports would be handling the route and water stations and I heaved a sigh of relief for that bit of good news cos having an up close and personal working relationship with them, I knew how reliable and efficient they were with that aspect of things.

Even though I spotted one or two familiar faces, things were a little lonely for me cos my wife opted to sleep in and the usual gang weren't around. The race started right on time and off we went. I opted to start conservatively, not that I had a choice cos the road was narrow and there were just too many runners in front of me to swerve in and out. Slowly but steadily I made my way ahead catching up with the pacers, yes there were pacers. Thankfully the weather wasn't as humid as I expected it to be. 

There was nothing much I could say about the route, since there really wasn't much to see, except that it was generally flat which I was thankful for. I wasn't about to want to take on any hills. I kept the pace as steady as I could hovering in and out between 5:15 and 5:30 for much the entire race. I was pleasantly surprised to be overtaking lots of military personnel and secretly felt good about it, boosted my ego a little bit ... hahaha! My breathing and heart rate were steady with the legs holding on nicely.

Since I checked out the route before hand and knew it was going to be a boring one, what with no ocean view as promised, I opted to run with my Aftershokz headset. I don't normally run races with music but this time I needed something to take the monotony of the route away. I think it was a good call cos the music helped a lot. 

Everything was going fine until I reached somewhere around the 8km mark and we were diverted into a dirt path full of rocks and mud! I was not thrilled at all by this. This dirt path was close to 800 metres long and really messed with the pace as I had to slow down for fear of twisting my ankles. It was also dark and the one miserable spotlight they had was facing the wrong way! I cussed knowing that I would have to run this again. I found out later this was a race day decision to move the runners to the dirt path cos the Police refused permission to run on the road at that stretch. Again, another last minute change with no notice at all.

Image courtesy of Pic2Go

The rest of the race went without any incidents and since I knew what to expect, I decided that I'd up my pace as much as my legs would allow. I soon caught up with the 2 hour pacers who were going way too fast as I knew from my pace, I was way under sub 2 hour timing. Strangely enough, no one was following the pacers, most were running their own race. I left the pacers behind and made my way to finish the race. 

I crossed the finish in under 2 hours for an over distanced race and was generally happy with the effort and timing. While I'm sure I could have done better if I was in actual training, this was really a good result for me personally. I wasn't tired or beat up like I normally am after a race and that was a good sign. The maintenance work and base building seems to have helped a lot. The race also gave me an inkling as to what I need to do when the time for actual training starts but for now, things are going positively :D.

Image courtesy of Pic2Go

I made my way to collect my much sought after medal and after chatting with a few of the familiar faces there, I made my way back to the hotel. It was still pretty early in the morning and my wife and me had plans ahead of us. We were going to take a day trip to the nearby historical city of Malacca since we still had another night's stay in Port Dickson. I was looking forward to that. 

Overall, the race itself was nicely organized. I'll give credit where credit is due but I'll still blacklist this organizer. I feel like I was taken for ride and not getting what I was promised for when I signed up. And to be told not to be 'overly upset' when I voiced my concerns was totally uncalled for. To all you drivers out there, I raise my hat (if I had one on) to you guys. Not one and I mean not one of you honked at the runners even though you had to wait quite a while on the closed roads. You have my utmost respect for that. Port Dickson drivers are more awesome than the impatient morons in KL.

Here's a little tip from me, if you really wanted a good race by the ocean, awesome crowd support, a superb race experience and fantastic weather, then sign up for the Gold Coast Marathon 2018!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Queen's Baton Relay

When Jamie buzzed me about my interest in taking part in the Malaysian leg of the Gold Coast XXI Commonwealth Games 2018 Queen's Baton Relay, I instantly jumped on board. The Gold Coast has always held a special place in my heart. 

So, there I was on a bright, clear and sunny morning with the gang, all ready to be a part of a historic once in a lifetime experience. Being the slightly crazy people that we are, Jamie, Choon Yuen, Piew and me decided that we'd head there early and get in a pre-run. 

We'll grab any opportunity for added mileage cos that's the way we are. Besides, we were hoping to catch the morning sun and take some vain shots at the same time with the National Stadium as our backdrop.

Once that was out of the way, we made our way to get ready for the start of the event and go down the annals of history. The place was already buzzing with invited participants, former and current national athletes and officials. 

With the GCM crew.

As always, Jamie, Choon Yuen and me are always on the lookout for any photo opportunities that we can get, we're vain that way ... haha! There was lots of opportunities, that's for sure and we even had the opportunity to handle the baton way before the start of the event. And boy, the amount of pictures and poses we got with the baton was just too many to count.

With Farah Ann, our national gymnast and Choon Yuen, the Ironman!

The baton, that personifies the connection between the ocean and the land with its selection of contrasting materials and finishes. The warm, natural, earthy macadamia wood contrasts the bright, structured reclaimed plastic leading edge. Separated by a stainless steel stringer, you can see the linear reflection of the coastline and hinterland in the Baton’s form. 

The fooling around never ends!

The Macadamia wood, which is native to the Gold Coast region, used on the back of the Baton represents Gold Coast's past and serves as an important symbol and example of traditional indigenous sustainable cultural practice.

The mirror finish of the stainless steel stringer will create a literal reflection of the Baton’s present surrounds everywhere it travels. Laser-engraved in sequential order are the three- digit alpha codes of all nations and territories of the Commonwealth, providing a visual depiction of the epic journey the Queen’s Baton will take.

An unbelievable feeling.
Pic courtesy of Li Leen.

The Queen's message, that will be placed inside is printed on a special paper made from Spinifex; a grass-like plant that has extensive traditional indigenous uses will see its way across the world within 388 days before arriving in the beach side city of the Gold Coast of Australia. 

A selfie with Borobi was a given!

While waiting for the start Borobi, the blue surfing Koala, the official mascot that flew in (yes, Koala's know how to take airplane rides) all the way from the Gold Coast for the games made his appearance and was an instant hit and most sought after figure for pictures. Of cos, who could resist a photo op with Borobi so I joined in the queue for pictures!

The team behind Borobi!

Soon enough, the event proper started with the first group leading the way around a 1.3k loop of the majestic National Stadium. We were in the fourth group and were one of the most vocal and slightly crazy of groups much to the amusement of the master of ceremonies. We were finally flagged off and was now part of a historic event for the games. With the baton in hand, we made our way around the stadium handing off the baton to each and everyone for the experience of  a lifetime.

The start of our group's turn.
Pic Courtesy of Max Lim.

I was filled with pride when it came to my turn to hold on to the monumental Baton and I could hardly contain my joy. Here I was, with the very Baton that will eventually land in the Gold Coast was clutched in my own hands. It was a little surreal and hard to believe. Of course, thoughts of running off for home with the Baton and gaining international recognition and fame wasn't far off from my mind ... hahaha! 

An unbelievable moment to be holding the Baton!
Pic Courtesy of ET Tey.

I was humbled and honoured at the end of the day to be a part of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 Queen's Baton Relay and will cherish the experience for a lifetime. We all finally headed for some food nearby at the New Chapter by Owls Cafe for some coffee and food and to share our experience of the relay.

With Edan, Choon Yuen and Mui Khim, who made this historic moment possible

The XXI Commonwealth Games 2018 will be held in the beach side city of the Gold Coast from the 4th-15th April 2018. This will mark the 5th time that Australia has hosted the games. For more detailed information about the games and Queensland, please do head on these site at and

The smile sums it up.
Pic courtesy of Jamie.

Before I end the post, I'd like to thank Tourism and Events Queensland for the invite to take part in this historic event and the hospitality they showed me during the entire event! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Media Release - GC2018 Queen’s Baton Relay

Monday, October 16, 2017

GC2018 Queen’s Baton Relay

Baton visit will put Malaysia in world spotlight

  • Longest relay in Commonwealth Games history ends at Australia’s Gold Coast
  • Welcome mat out for thousands of tourists to visit host city for 2018 Games
  • Malaysian residents in Australia expected to turn out in force to cheer for Team Malaysia athletes
  • Borobi, the blue surfing koala and official mascot for the 2018 Games, will fly in specially from the Gold Coast to join the Baton Relay in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia will welcome the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay this October as part of the longest and most accessible relay in Commonwealth history on the way to the host city, Australia’s Gold Coast. The XXI Commonwealth Games, to be held in Australia’s premier beachside city of the Gold Coast from 4-15 April 2018, are set to be one of the most memorable and picturesque Games ever staged.

The Games will involve more than 6600 athletes and officials with thousands of international visitors expected to flock to the popular holiday city known for its golden beaches, world-class attractions and easy-going lifestyle. The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) began at Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day, Monday, March 13, 2017, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will place her message to the Commonwealth inside the GC2018 Baton.

The Baton will travel 230,000km over 388 days through 70 Commonwealth nations on its journey to, and across, Australia and eventually to the Gold Coast for the Games’ Opening Ceremony where the Queen’s message will be read. The Baton will arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, October 16, 2017 before departing on Saturday, October 21 for Brunei. The Malaysian stop will see Borobi, the blue surfing koala and official mascot for the 2018 Games, flying in specially from the Gold Coast to join the Queen’s Baton Relay in Malaysia.

The distinctive loop design of the Baton was unveiled at a ceremony on the Gold Coast on Sunday, 20 November 2016 in conjunction with celebrations of the 500 Days to Go milestone until the Games.

Made of macadamia wood and reclaimed plastic collected from Gold Coast waterways and beaches, the Baton’s design was inspired by the region’s vibrant spirit, indigenous heritage and with sustainability in mind.

The Baton, similar to an enlarged eye of a needle, has constantly changing neon lighting pulsing around the inside of the loop design and a see-through compartment on the side which will contain the Queen’s message, written on paper made from the Australian desert plant, spinifex grass.

The names of all 70 Commonwealth countries are engraved, in the order of hosting the QBR, on a metal spine through the middle of the Baton. It also contains a GPS device which will allow 24/7 internet tracking of the Baton on its worldwide journey.

Designers said they were inspired by the “boundless energy” of the Gold Coast and believe the “bold and beautiful” Baton reflects the “people, place and spirit of the Gold Coast”

“Our immersion into the Gold Coast revealed a city rich in contrasts and full of optimism – if you can do it anywhere, you can do it here,” said Designworks principal Alexander Wall.

The Baton is certain to get a warm welcome in Malaysia, a nation with strong ties to the Commonwealth Games. It has contested 12 of the previous Games (including the preceding British Empire Games) and hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian athletes have won 181 Commonwealth Games medals including 52 gold. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Malaysia finished 12th overall with 19 medals, including six gold.

Malaysian athletes will again be highly competitive at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and are expected to feature prominently in sports including Badminton, Track Cycling, Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Diving, Shooting and Lawn Bowls.

When visiting the Gold Coast to support Team Malaysia at the Games next April, Malaysians are encouraged to take some time to meet the friendly locals and discover everything the Gold Coast has to offer, including:

  • the cosmopolitan beach lifestyle
  • vibrant, trendy cafĂ© and dining scene
  • colourful weekend markets
  • the chance to cuddle a koala
  • traverse the top of Q1, Australia’s tallest residential building on the SkyPoint Climb
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • thrilling theme parks
  • Skydive, landing on one of the Gold Coast’s iconic beaches
  • Learn to Surf
  • and so much more!

The QBR has been the traditional curtain raiser to every Commonwealth Games since the Cardiff 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE, said a message from the Monarch had been read at every Games since 1930.

“The Queen’s Baton Relay extends an invitation to the athletes and communities of the Commonwealth to celebrate together,” she said.

“It reinforces our shared love of sport and recognises the power of sport to transcend barriers and bring us together.

“Above all, however, it is a message from Her Majesty of hope, ambition and peace for the citizens and athletes of the Commonwealth.

“It is a truly exciting moment to share the international route of the 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay, so that communities and citizens across the Commonwealth can join the build up to the XXI Commonwealth Games.”

Peter Beattie AC, the Chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC), said “The Baton will return to the Gold Coast in April 2018, having been touched, admired, photographed, filmed and loved by so many people from all over the Commonwealth,” he said.

For more information on Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ visit & for destination information visit

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Saucony Peregrine 7: Initial Review

While I do run the occasional trail, I'm really not a trail person. My running is mostly rooted firmly to the roads but there are rare occasions, and I mean VERY rare, that I do hit the trails or even race in one. Which is why it's been kinda difficult for me to write a review on the Saucony Peregrine 7. I haven't really put much miles in them to write a decent review and after the PSP King of Forest trail two weeks back, I don't think I'll be putting much more miles in them anytime soon.

But I do have some personal views on Peregrine 7 (P7) based on the very few times I've used them and thought I might as well get the review out. My experience with the Peregrine series started with the Peregrine 6 (P6). Even then, the mileage I put on that pair is pretty embarrassing. Worse yet, I carelessly left that pair in Seoul during the Seoul International Marathon back in March.

With the wife wanting to run some trails and with me signed up for the recently concluded trail race, I requested a pair from Saucony Malaysia and put it to the test and I must say I came away impressed and might even make me take the Peregrine 7 out for more trail excursions!

The Peregrine 7 is the shoes seventh iteration and weighs in at 9.4 oz for the men's size 9, which is the size I use. The past few models didn't really stray much in terms of design from one another but Saucony have refined the past two models with a lot more updated material. The Peregrine 7 could be considered a completely different model if not for the same 4mm drop (21.5mm heel/17.5mm forefoot) and identical outsole of the Peregrine 6.

The most discerning and noticeable change to the Peregrine 7 is in the upper of the shoe. The upper of the P6 had FlexFilm overlays somewhat similar to its road cousins but the P7 now sports a TPU Exo-Skeleton that frames the foot even more for optimal support and enhanced protection. I found the fit of the P7 to be a lot more roomier and less stiffer than the P6 which I didn't really like all that much. The toe bumper which now wraps around the entire forefoot offers some toe stubbing protection and is flexible and light.

The other not so noticeable update is found in the midsole of the shoe. While the EVA midsole is essentially the same, the P7 now comes with a full length Everun topsole unlike the Everun heel insert of the previous version. Saucony refers to Everun as continuous cushioning and claims that this provides an 83% return of energy which is all just facts to me cos I really can't tell if it does with the measly mileage I put in trail running. Though the P7 is firm there is still some ground feel but you have just enough cushioning underneath that it doesn't feel jarring. 

The outsole remains the same with the same PWRTRAC outsole material coupled with the EBO rockplate to protect the foot from rocks, stones and other debris, that actually worked really well. The directional lugs are aggressive and able to handle just about anything the terrain throws at you. I had first hand experience of how phenomenal the grip was in the recent trail race I took part in. The trail was wet, muddy and terribly slippery from the rains the night before but the P7 kept its grip so well that I had so much confidence running down those slippery trail with reckless abandon and not once did I lose my footing! I can't attest to the durability of the outsole since I don't have the miles in them to compare but from what I've read from shoe reviewers like Sam Winebaum, durability is excellent!

The rear of the shoe features a sturdier heel counter that has some good support. The height of the heel cup seems to have been lowered somewhat with additional padding giving it a little more flexibility than the previous version. The padded gusseted tongue was pretty comfortable and Saucony has removed the metal gaiter ring from this iteration of the shoe which doesn't really make any difference to me. 

Is the Saucony Peregrine 7 as good as it's made out to be? Well, for a trail noob like me, I'd say it definitely is! The P7 is a fast, light and extremely nimble trail shoe that can take on a variety of terrains. The grip quality of the P7's aggressive outsole is superb and really shines in the trails as I found out during my race two weeks ago. The response is excellent and you'll be filled with confidence as you zoom down those slippery and muddy trails. Whether you're planning for a speedy trail session or just a simple hike up the mountains, the Saucony Peregrine 7 will satisfy a wide variety of runners. 

Overall, I feel the P7 is a great upgrade to the P6 which I found to be a little stiff on the upper. The Peregrine 7's new exo-skeleton is a much more secure fit and feels a lot more breathable too with a lot more room in the toebox. The Saucony Peregrine 7 is available in stores nationwide and is retailing for RM429.00 for both the men's and women's models.

Disclaimer - The Saucony Peregrine 7 review above is from my own personal experience and time spent running in them. This review is in no way whatsoever influenced by Saucony Malaysia.