The Haze Does It Again
4th October 2015 0600hrs – What should have been the start of another run in KL turns out to be the start of my return back to Singapore on a flight booked immediately after the announcement of the cancellation of the race. It was probably a tough decision to call but one which was made in the best interest of runners.
The initial sign for this event bold well – probably for the first time all categories were sold out in 4 days – 2 of my running buddies actually missed out on the slots and were resigned to this trip being a makan trip Then in a way, it went wrong. To coincide SCKLM with the Malaysian Sports Day – a decision was made to shift SCKLM to a week later! This decision didn’t go well with the runners both local and foreign due to the arrangements made according to the original dates – some local runners had also signed up for other runs on that weekend while the overseas runners had already booked their flights! Eventually sense prevailed and taking into account the online furore – the runs reverted to the original date. But somehow the damage was probably already done as the organisers were seen as been wishy washy. The only good thing coming out of this was that they actually conducted a ballot for slots and both buddies who missed out on registration got their slots!
September saw the haze scuppering a few events in Singapore and it seemed SCKLM would be the next one. However, on 2nd October, the organisers made the announcement that with the improvement in the Air Pollutant Index the race would go on as planned. While this was the confirmation that most overseas runners needed to begin our journey, this announcement was not entirely well received amongst those who felt that it was not safe to run and lamented the organisers call. This was actually when I started to feel for the organisers – because had they decided to postpone or cancel it there and then, they would get the brickbats as well. The more sensible runners agreed that the organisers did the right thing to proceed and allow the runners to make their own decision to run or not.
Off We Go
So on Saturday the trip was made to KL on one of the earlier flight. Making our way into KL – we saw for ourselves what some of the runners had spoke about with regards to the safety of the event carrying on.However as optimists, we told ourselves of strong winds that would soon clear up the sky. As with last year, a short LRT from Sentral to Masjid Jamek brought us to where our stay was – at Swiss Hotel. This ‘gem’ of a place to stay is probably known to most season SCKLM runners and the number of runners walking in and out on Saturday is proof of it.
After a quick check-in, we headed to Dataran Underground for our race pack collection. Probably because it was already the last day of collection, there was only a small crowd and we were done in a jiffy. SCKLM half marathon runners should note that Honda Malaysia has been offering a free t-shirt to half marathon runners on a first come first serve basis. You only need to pre-register beforehand and the tee is yours!
Done with our collection, we headed for lunch and a quick dash to the supermarket for drinks before taking a short break. I even manage to squeeze in a swim with another friend who was putting up at another hotel!
Sadly, as the evening drew near, the dreaded announcement was made – the race would be cancelled. Not even postponed but cancelled. As with the earlier announcement, there were mixed reactions – some applauded the organisers for their bravery/pragmatism while others criticize them for the last minute cancellation. To us, it was a logical move given the conditions and we immediately made arrangement for our getaway from KL the next morning – grabbing for of the remaining 7 seats out at 0845hrs. We also made news plans for the night – given that our sleeping time would be push back by a few hours! We had a very filling meal costing less than 50SGD before we splitted up for movies and to catch football.
So on race day, we proceeded to the Dataran – not for the start but for the post race entitlements. While some may question why we even bother – but to me it is something to remember this event by – of a race that didn’t take place! From there it was a race to the airport – LRT to Airport Express to Check In and then to the boarding gate. Thankfully we made it with time to spare for the 0845 departure.
Some of my friends ask me(even laugh) as to whether this trip was worth it. But I think it is a redundant question. My view is that as a runner (jogger) – we do not give up. If we could we probably would have waited till 0300hrs for a decision to be made. As always it was an experience and a trip made with friends and bond over food and drinks! The draw of KL is the cost which I actually managed to reduce from last year(probably due to the exchange rate)
Registration Fee 46
KLIA Express x 2 23(70)
LRT x6 2.3(7)
Meals x 4 30(90)
Misc (Drinks+Snacks) 13.3(40)
Cut Them Some Slack
Credit must be given to the organisers – other than the flip flop in dates – who gave hope to the runners to make the trip and also for taking the hard decision to cancel the event. They should also be applauded for making the arrangements to have the race entitlements given out on race day, getting the emcees in as well to create the atmosphere and even extending the hospitality facilities to those who turn up to collect their entitlements. To anyone wishing to complain or lament about the decisions – the choice to participate was yours, if you are not prepared for such calls then you might want to reconsider signing up for such events. Remember – live to run another day!