Penang Bridge International Marathon 2008
Venue : Queensbay Mall
Date : 16 Nov. 2008
FYI, this is my 1st ever attempt to do a full 42.2km marathon run. So I took it seriously, very serious until i had the worst nervous i have ever feel. Want to eat, cannot eat much. Want to drink, cannot drink much also. Feel like wanna vomit when eat so much. I need to eat much for carbo loading & hydration.
Me & my wife arrived early, 2 days before the race day, just to relax & jalan2 as that was my 1st time in Penang also. hahaha… Went “jalan2” to Batu Feringhi and Tanjung Bungah. Makan2 & buy some clothing at the famous stalls, similar to Petaling Street in KL.
The night before the marathon, we went eating near our hotel with Chan & the rest, for final carbo-loading dinner. Went back early to hotel for final preparation of my running stuff. Sleep early that night(2100hrs).
Wake up at 0030hrs, wowww.. so early. After having a hot shower, apply the petroleum jelly to the chafe prone areas, wear running clothes & watch tv before going out.
0130hrs. Called Alang(my brother-in-law) room, out we go. Took the 2km walk to Queensbay Mall. Saw some participants camping overnight just for the race. Great effort there guys! Did some stretching & warm-up until sweat. Just enough for me to loosen-up my muscles.
Registered at the race marshal, they gave me 1 band & 1 glowing band (to make us runners visible). From what i can see, the full marathon participants are not more than 500.
At 0300hrs the full marathon started. I started with slow pace. Alang paced behind me. Just maintained my pace. Reached the first water station at km 5. Sipped a cup of 100plus. Then, continued my run with the same pace.
At km 7.5, there was a sponging station. Took a couple of ice cold sponge and pour them onto my head, body & both legs. After a while, saw the front runners passing by at the opposite of the road. There was about 5 Kenyan runners. Wow.. so fast laa them. Saw other trailing runners passed by. My gap with other runners about 100m front & back. Sometime i feel very quiet & creepy running on that road. The wind blows slowly. Sometimes heard noise like someone wanna come out of the bush at the side of the road, but no one there. Just ignore it & continue my run.
Reached the 10km mark at the Air Cargo Terminal. Sipped my 1st Power Gel. YUCK!!! There’s a water station there, given the second band & we have to make a u-turn heading back to Queensbay Mall. 1km after the u-turn, i passed Alang which was on the other side of the road. Shout to each other & continue our run.
Reach the next water station, drank 2 cup of water, pour some water to head & body, & go. Right after the water station, there’s an Indian guy sitting beside the road rubbing his leg. “Bro, are you ok?” He showed me a thumb-up. I smile & said “Just go easy, ok!” Then i continue. The nice thing about this run, each runners care about each other. This will make us not feel down & discourage about the pain we feel.
Ran pass the Queensbay Mall on my right. Sipped another PowerGel before reaching the next water station. Saw 2 Kenyan runners on the other side of the road, escourted by a car with timing LCD on top of it. “2:20:xx”. So fast. But far from the world record. They’re about 2km to finishing line. Saw another 2 Kenyans. Met a fellow runner, did a quick chit chat. He ran faster than me. Asked me to join, i said nevermind, i’m running my own race.
Not far after that, i saw him again sitting beside the road. “Are you ok bro?”. “Nevermind, you go first”, he replied. Arghh… another men down. I must keep my mental strong. Maintain my pace. Concentrate on my main mission.
Reached the PowerBar station. They handed me a Green Apple flavoured PowerGel and said there was a water station 1km ahead. I saw lotsa empty PowerGel packs on the road. Seemed that people very sure there are water station nearby. I’m not gonna sip my PowerGel yet, until i saw myself the water station with water available. Lesson learned from previous experience(ADIDAS KOTR 2008).
Started to run on the bridge. My knees & ankle started to feel the pain. I slowed my pace. Saw so many school students walking, not running. I think they all “kena paksa” run this 25km half marathon. Pity them.
Ran & ran, as i thought, no water station insight. Hahaha.. i know already. These people can’t be trust. The next water station was at the middle of the bridge, which i think about 4km after the PowerBar station.
Sipped the given PowerGel, and drink 2 cup of plain water. Saw Chan at the other side & waved him. “Keep up man!!”, he shouted. My leg feel so pain. Nearly cramped. Reach a medic tent, asked them to spray my leg with the cold & numbing spray. They asked me to take a rest first. I said nevermind, the long journey must continue. I don’t have much time.
Saw so many amateur radio station on the roadside. Looked around for their callsign. There you go. 9W2CMT, 9W2LAW, 9W2ONG… they are all from MARTS group. “Hi, I’m 9W2FER. Base at Kilo Lima”, i talked to myself. Hahaha… no time to greet them. It will be a long chit chat if we radio people meet each other.
Continue my journey. Sometimes run, sometimes walk. Every step was a pain now. Have to spare my energy left to endure this pain. Arghhhhh….!!! Several times, my leg feel like wanna cramp. So i went to the roadside and stretch my legs to avoid cramp.
Finally reached the toll plaza u-turn. Sipped another PowerGel & drank some water. Grabbed the third band & stop a while at at the medic to pour some ice on my pain knees & ankle. Continued my run. From the toll plaza, I can see Pulau Jerejak so far away. Queensbay Mall is behind Pulau Jerejak, so can’t see it from there. Arghhh.. my destination still so far away. Nevermind, keep my mental strong. I must do it. No matter how hard & pain it was. Looked around for any remaining full marathoners, but found nobody. Still could see Alang also. Thinking whether he’s still running or gave up already. Keep on going Alang. May the force be with you.
Run & walk, slowly. Reach the mid of the bridge. Another water station there. Surprisingly, they still have much water. Grab some cups & go. Dont wanna eat anymore PowerGel. “Muak” already. Not far away, met a full marathon runner sitting on the roadside. “Are you ok, bro? Let’s keep on going”. I grabbed his hand and he tried to run with me, but he can’t forced himself anymore. “You go first bro, i can’t take it anymore”, he said. Waved to him and I continued my run. Another man down.
The time was 9:xx am. Sweeper buses keep passing by, full with back markers inside. I hope i will not be swept by them. So i have to keep running & ingoring the pain. Right after the bridge end, met Along. Her legs cramped. I continued my run. Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Until the 1km to go mark, i ran non-stop. Suddenly my energy went up. The determination to finish the run has overcome the pain. With all the remaining energy, I ran to the finishing line. 500m to go, 300m to go, 100m to go… FINISH!!!
Greeted & hugged my wife. Izzat took my finishing photo. My time was 6:43. The medal & cert counter was not there anymore. A huge frustration there. Walk straight to the medic. They put ice to my legs & did some massage. Sooo pain. Legs pain, heart also pain.
A view on both side of the bridge.
I’m finally arrived clocking 6:43
Can’t walk, legs so pain
Treated by the medic
Saw Alang & Along. They were forced to board the sweeper bus by police. What? Just let them make it to the finish line. It’s 2km more to go. They has gone this far, just let them go. Their effort just gone like that. The police just don’t have any idea about how important it is to finish the run on foot.
That’s my story. My 1st attempt in doing full marathon. It’s great to experience it. The run was enjoyable. The pain was just a part of the experience. Love the environment, the ambience, the windy road, the people around me, love the quiet & calm road.
But i have bad things to say about the event. I was told that the organiser has packed up all the remaining medals & cert. They wont give it to the remaining race finisher. What do you think they gonna do with all the medals & cert. Maybe they will distribute them to their family and friends. Hahaha… As a result, I’m a marathon finisher with no reward. Even they dont have any record of me as a full marathon finisher. They dont even care to whoever finish the race more than 6hrs time. Where’s the sport spirit of the organiser? This is not the first time Penang Bridge Marathon was held. I was told, it was organised by the state government itself. Ohhh.. No wonder. That’s why laa it sucks!!! I’ll never run anymore full marathon in Penang, untill the organiser changed. But, i’m looking forward for another full marathon. Yehaaa!!! ADIEU…