Last Saturday was the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM), the only race in Malaysia to earn the World Athletics’ Road Race Label – which recognises the event as ‘one of the leading road races around the world’.
The home minister, two friends and I had signed up for the 10km race. A former colleague, Sujartha Kumar, posted on Facebook that she had set her alarm for 4.15am, 4.30am, 4.45am, and 5am.
I joked that one alarm was enough since it was a big race, and we had never been late for our previous runs.
Instead, I slept through the alarm I had set!
The home minister and I thought we would miss the race, as we only had an hour to get to Dataran Merdeka and could not get an e-hailing ride. We could not drive to the venue as many roads were closed.
Rolling the dice, we decided to take the LRT (Light Rail Transit) from Petaling Jaya to the Masjid Jamek station and walk to Dataran Merdeka, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
When we arrived, we discovered that the organiser – Dirigo Events – had arranged for free train rides on the LRT and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to the venue from selected stations.
The complimentary services were from 3.30am until 6am on Saturday, and 1.30am until 6am on Sunday for the half, and full marathon runs.
Deciding to take the train proved to be the right decision, as when we got there, we discovered we were not the only ‘late’ ones.
The train was full of participants, and one Chinese uncle, who saw our worried faces, said: “Do not panic. We are going for a fun run. As long as we get there and finish the race, all will be fine. Enjoy yourself.”
He also told us that since we were in the ‘Leisure Category’, the flag-off would be after those in the 10km Cruise Category.
Feeling calmer as we were not alone, we followed the runners off the train at Masjid Jamek and reached the starting line with minutes to spare!
This was the first time the home minister and I had entered the KLSCM, and it really was ‘crazy’ – in a good way. The usual fun runs we participated in had between 3,000 and 5,000 participants, but this had 20,000 runners.
The roads felt congested, but there was a carnival-like atmosphere, with several musicians along the route to entertain the runners. There were also cheerleaders.
Some participants dressed up in superhero costumes – I snapped a picture of a Spiderwoman and a runner in a dinosaur costume. I met with the famous Ninjacat, and got a picture with an Imperial Stormtrooper.
There were participants in wheelchairs, some with crutches, and parents with babies in strollers. Such inspirational people.
After the 5km and 10km races, there were two Kids Dash races – 1km and 2km. Sunday was the half, and full marathon races.
Meanwhile, the Kuching Marathon in Sarawak was also on Oct 1, and there was a ‘debate’ on social media as there was a sign, 1km from the finishing line, which read: “Hurry, the Kenyans are already drinking the beer!”
Many claimed it was racist, while others said it highlighted how fast the Kenyans were.
A case in point is Kenyan Beatrice Jelagat Cherop, who won the women’s open at the KLSCM after clocking 2’32:51s. It was a women’s course record, and she took home US$15,000.
Cherop’s time was quicker than the Malaysian Men’s winner, Poo Vasanthan (2’37:38s)!
Another Kenyan, Kiprop Tonui, a four-time runner-up, finally won the men’s event in 2’13:49s. He also earned US$15,000. Michelle Chua Khit Yeng was the Malaysia Women’s winner (3’13:07s).
We are already looking forward to next year’s KLSCM. This time, we will set multiple alarms!
ALWAYS BE ON YOUR GUARD
A former colleague and Twentytwo13 reader, Rizal Solomon nearly got ‘scammed’ this week when he answered a phone call, purportedly from a telecommunications company.
A careful person who does not answer calls from unknown numbers, Rizal said he was distracted from running errands, and after his kids, and “absent-mindedly” read out the TAG (Transaction Account Guarantee) he received via short messaging service.
“The number and display picture looked just like the one from my telco. It was seconds later that I realised it could be fake,” said Rizal.
“I immediately called customer service to lodge a report, and they confirmed they had not contacted me. Luckily, I use a pre-paid number and did not link my banking or other financial details to the phone.
“I have also told my kids to not answer calls from unknown numbers.”
Be wary, folks!
BENGALEE CULTURAL FESTIVAL
The Malaysian Bengalee Association will organise a Bengalee Cultural Festival with support from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia (MOTAC).
The festival is from Oct 11-15 at Bengal House, Port Dickson. For more details, contact 012-6251608/011-27768407.
UPIN & IPIN FAMILY FUN RUN
The popular Upin & Ipin family fun run returns in December after a four-year hiatus.
This year’s 5km run is at MITC, Melaka, on Dec 16, in conjunction with the Upin & Ipin Carnival from Dec 15-17.
Sign up online for an early bird promotion and get Upin & Ipin souvenirs at a special price.
Wewoment and Komuniti Prihatin will organise a S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Attack Programme for Standard 4-6 students on Oct 29.
The event is at Grand Barakah Hotel, Ampang, Selangor from 8.30am-10.30am. The registration fee is only RM10.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +6011-5956 9906 before Oct 15. Places are limited.
MALAYSIAN SCOUTS ASSOCIATION TO RECEIVE RM50,000 DONATION
The Malaysian Scouts Association is the beneficiary of the Lotte Group’s ‘All-Star Futsal Challenge’. This ‘sportainment’ event saw two teams of 14 Malaysian celebrities battling across four episodes – broadcast on the group’s Malaysian YouTube channel.
‘New Today FC’, captained by actor Redza Rosli, won the event and will donate RM50,000 to the Malaysian Scouts Association.
The Lotte All-Star Futsal Challenge is part of a regional initiative with similar events in Indonesia and Vietnam.
DEEPAVALI HOMEMADE GOODIES
If you are looking to buy some Deepavali treats, why not try Cheeky Monkeys 3. Order now until Oct 29.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN PRINE
The late John Prine would have been 77 on Oct 10. Sadly, Prine died of complications related to Covid-19 in April 2020.
Here is an article trying to rank his 50 greatest songs. What an impossible task!
We end this week’s Diary with one of Prine’s final songs – ‘When I Get To Heaven’.
Rest in peace, good sir.