In conjunction with Earth Day in April, the writer participates in two fun runs that are on opposite ends of the spectrum

Fun runs are great even for long distance runners — the atmosphere is lively, the distance is great for a recovery run and friends and families can join in. Last month, I ran two fun runs and found out that while one is really worth joining while the other should be avoided at all costs.

April 23, 2017
Mid Valley City
IGB Real Estate Investment Trust
RM53 (RM50 to WWF-Malaysia, RM3 for registration)
T-shirt, medal, cake and pineapple tart, chicken rice, pizza, canned tea, water bottle, juice, karaage and a voucher booklet.

Crowded Seoul is visible from Naksan.

This is the fourth time The Mid Valley City Charity Run is held and this year, the beneficiary is WWF-Malaysia for its conservation effort. In conjunction with Earth Month, runners were encouraged to dress up in their most creative costume to reflect the eco-friendly/ sustainability/ wildlife conservation themes.

Some 1,800 people came to run, some dressed up creatively but most did not. The race was flagged off at the Boulevard between Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens, so there was a distance where a bottleneck occurred due to the narrow road and the number of runners.

As with all fun runs, running etiquette was lacking among participants. There were those who sprinted, then stopped in the middle of the road, making it hard for other runners to run.

The organisers did a great job by placing orange cones to signify the runners’ lane but when those who walked hogged the road, those who ran had no choice but to get out of the lane to sustain their momentum. There was one water station with Revive isotonic drink and water, which I think is very generous.

The route was easy and once I separated myself from those who walked, running became enjoyable. I especially enjoyed running inside both malls because who would have thought that we could? The air-conditioning was switched on and that made running indoors quite pleasant.

I think 90 per cent of runners signed up for the goodies and who could fault them? There were cakes and chicken rice, pizza and juice, canned drink and Milo van, water bottles and karaage (vegetable tempura) all free for runners.

There were so many things given to us that post-run, finishers emptied their goodie bags to take a flatlay of what were in them, just to induce envy among friends who missed out.

I think this is one of best fun runs I have ever participated in and I’ll be back next year. I just have to remind myself to run slightly longer the day before the race, because the goodies definitely packed more calories than what I will burn. Otherwise, increasing the distance to 8km will work too.

April 16, 2017
Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Putrajaya

MonSpace Mall
T-shirt, plastic medal, certificate, oat biscuit and canned soda.

Leave some flexibility to your travel plans so you can go off the beaten tracks and discover something different. This hanging bridge over the river in Kiulu Valley in Sabah leads to farms, padi fields and the local school.

There was something odd even at the registration stage. The Monspace Mall page wasn't made for race registration but for online shopping, so the slots were placed in a shopping cart and you could even add the "number of products" you wanted to purchase.

No e-mail was received on race kit collection and phone calls to its office were not answered. I even sent an enquiry e-mail but received no reply.

There was no flag-off time given, aside from the poster that says event begins at 6.30am.

We were there at 6.30am and our suspicion was confirmed. This was a race organised because-everyone's-doing-it-so-we-will-too. No proper signage was put up so runners were lost in PICC, looking for the race kit collection counter.

This was a fun run but there was nothing fun about it. There was neither passion nor experience in organising a run. The crew were more self-absorbed taking selfies above anything else.

The announcers were equally not bothered on the main event, getting the crowd to dance and take wefies, not run. I heard “make some noise” and “wefies” more times than I care to remember.

The run was flagged off — finally— at 8am and despite this being Putrajaya, with trees lining up the roads, the weather was hot. But really, who flags off a race at 8am? These days, 10km races are flagged off at 7am but obviously the organisers know nothing about organising a run.

I thought my nightmare was over — I’d just run the 7km before going back to our hotel for breakfast. Man, was I wrong. There were no markers so we did't know where to go. The, 2km later, we realised that the run was along the loop of PICC and three loops would yield 7km.

As there was no one monitoring monitored the race, runners didn't complete the loops and simply walked up at their own convenience to the finish line. Even the traffic policemen looked baffled that the race "ended" so soon.

The water was given in bottles instead of cups and true to form, plastic bottles littered the area, which was very ironic considering this is called the Earth Run.

At one point, the water station was even self-service because the crew were busy doing other things, like taking selfies.


At the finishing line — I arrived from the opposite side because there was no signage — we were given goodie bags that had a plastic medal in it, among other small things. Plastic? You gotta be kidding me, I told myself. But then there were so many are-you-kidding-me moments in the run I decided not to give any thought on it.

The plastic medal was like what I won in primary school 30 years ago. As far as running race medals go, this has got to be the worst. That the whole disorganisation and chaos cost me RM80 is, quite simply, daylight robbery.

But I remember seeing men in T-shirts with MMA written on them while I was waiting in boredom for the flag-off. I thought it was Mixed Martial Arts but no, it's Money Magnet Academy.

I lost RM80 on a dodgy race and I trust other paying runners would've felt the same way too.

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