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Sunday, October 13, 2013

First experience with Penang Run Series

I ran the Penang Run Series today. Penang Run Series is an interesting concept whereby the series consist of 4 half marathon distance races with different route each time. All the races are point-to-point, meaning the start and end point is a different place. By the end of the 4 races, participants would have covered around Penang Island on foot. The 4 races are 2 to 3 months apart.

Today I ran the third series taking me from Sg Pinang in Balik Pulau to Teluk Bahang. It was a tough route as it brings us up the Balik Pulau hill; 5km of continuous uphill. The Nine Emperor God Festival is often associated with rain. True enough to the Chinese belief, the rain started the night before as I was going to bed. When I woke up at 2sth, it was still pouring. When I leave the house at 3.30am, it was still raining!

When I reach Tg Bungah, the rain has slowed to a drizzle. After meeting up with Sam, Gary and AL, we continue in a car to have our car park in Teluk Bahang where the end point is. Gary is the driver. At the time when we leave the car to board the bus, it wasn't raining anymore. We board the bus, and after about 35mins or so, we reach the start point at Sg Pinang. It was 5am. Queued half an hour for toilet and by the time I am done with toilet, I feel the droplets of rain again. The rain was on and off for next half and hour and amazing enough, the rain stopped as we're queuing up at the start line. At 6am sharp, the start gun went off. So was the rain. It was as if the gun broke a hole in the sky and the rain just poured down on the poor runners who are already cold. Instead of starting the run, I ran into the shed for cover.


Before the start (with Boon Wee, Paris and their friend)

Many other runners did the same thing, they hide in shelter hoping the rain would once again stop. It continues to rain cats and dogs not showing any signs of slowing down. 2 mins past before I decided to go for it. Run in the rain, wooohooo!!

Within seconds, my shoes were soak. It was all the way running in the rain. At some point it does slowed to a drizzle, but never for long. It was cold at the beginning, but I warmed up after awhile and it doesn't bother me anymore after that. Whenever I feel thirsty, I just need to close my mouth and swallow. I can feel the fresh water in my mouth already. I choke on water when the rain was too heavy, too much water going into the mouth...hilarious.

It was a really fun run for me thanks to the rain. Enjoyed the route up Balik Pulau. I've bike there often enough, but this is the first time I am going up this road on foot. On the downhill slope - 4.5km of downhill - many people overtook me. You would have think going downhill is effortless and easy, not for me. I was going downhill at almost 7mins pace. I ran the flats faster than my downhill. I had to stop to stretch a couple of times going downhill when I feel my right knee tightening up.

The view was beautiful at Teluk Bahang Dam. We had to run into the dam and u-turn out. It was very windy there. It was another 2km to the finishing line. Went down that slope from the dam to butterfly farm, pass Escape Themepark and there it is, the school which serves as the finishing point. It was not raining anymore at that point. I finish in 2hr 22mins.


It stopped raining when I finish (with Paris who finish in 2hr 12mins)

Took 2 cups of Vico, a couple of photos and splash...there it goes again! Everybody run for cover. Some just don't care anymore. The rain continues on in full mode for the next 2hrs. The performance, and prize presentation ceremony still had to go on, all while the rain is pouring. I don't think anybody can hear what the MC was saying because of the noise coming from the zink roof where we're taking cover.

We stayed until 10 plus in the morning, cold and wet. Car was parked quite far away. Had to walk under the rain to get to the car. The WW gang gathered and enjoyed the superbly tasty Roti Jala near the Teluk Bahang roundabout. Sharing our run stories, and of our friends result in Melbourne who also just completed the Melbourne Marathon.

It was a very well organized event despite the rain. I am glad I decided to run it...

Cheers to running!

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