Race Review: Klang City International Marathon 2017

After I had a poor experience participating in inaugural Melaka River International Marathon 2015, I already told myself not to sign up for any inaugural running events in future. I would make exception only if I know the reputation and track record of the race organiser or race director or race technical advisor through past races that I have joined.

I was reluctant to sign up for Klang City International Marathon 2017 earlier (and past the early bird period) until I saw some familiar faces in the pacer team (Evelyn Ang Loo, Alwin Tan, Teoh BJ, Kelvin Ng) on their website. I know them personally and they are all seasoned runners with a big heart to serve running community. I also have another group of friends signing up for it. And I thought to use this race as a catch up with other runners before the year closes.

This was supposed to be my last running event of 2017. And I was expecting to have a happy ending, catching with friends and be joyful in the Christmas season.

Yes, I had some fun at the event, especially catching up and mingling with friends. That was before I received the bad news of the tragic hit-and-run accident affecting three runners.

Seriously, I don't feel like writing this race review. Sigh!

My heart is heavy.

I also thought it would be inappropriate for me to put up photos with my smiling face captured during Klang City International Marathon 2017 with friends here. I would like to show respect to Evelyn and two other runners.

By now, the news of the hit and run accident is all over he offline and online media. Evelyn's Facebook page has also been flooded with all the care and love and well wishes.

Even though some of the routes are scenic with Klang City's landmarks, they became irrelevant in comparison to the poor organisation of the event especially on safety, putting runners at risk.

Here's what I experienced during the 42 km journey running at Klang City International Marathon 2017:
  • Only 30% (3,000 participants) turnout vs targeted number of 10,000
    • On the website, it targeted 10,000 participants. I believe only about 3,000 runners participated in the event. For full marathon category, the website mentioned it targeted 2,000 participants but only close to 600 participants on the event day.
  • Tapping on social influencers and popularity of some pacers to attract participants
    • Beautiful and sexy twin sisters from Taiwan and a running couple from Hong Kong with a combined FB/IG page followers of more than 100,000 fans. (Yes, I did my homework by checking out their IG/FB fan pages!)
    • Mark Williams, Jeffrey Ross, Evelyn Ang Loo, Alwin Tan, Kelvin Ng, Teoh BJ are all very famous runners in Malaysia running community for their hearts for the running community. And they are the attractions and assurance for runners like me too to sign up because we know of their high standards in running. I for one have full trust and confidence in them. 
    • It's painful to know that pacers also fell victim to this event with Evelyn having to pay the heaviest price and fighting for the biggest battle in her life now.
  • Lack of road marshals, traffic controller, signages and distance markers putting runners' safety at risk
    • I encountered several junctions and roundabouts not knowing which direction to run next, especially after 26km. Every time I was in a junction, I would need to ask the Marshall, "mana? Mana?" It was so confusing! No clear sign to turn left or right! No clear distance marker! 
    • On one occasion at KM27, I was faced with a t-junction with no sight of road marshall or traffic controler or signage there!! And I couldn't see the runner in front of me! Can you imagine that situation? I stood there not knowing which way to run! I ran straight and realised that might be right and I then turned to the left road. Only after about 100m after the turning I saw a Marshall just arriving parking his motorbike on road side!! I had to confirm with him if I was on the right road. I was so frustrated and upset by such a poor traffic control! 
    • At around KM29, there was another confused junction. We were running in the confined inner road. Two runners were in front of me. I was running with another friend. There was a Marshall standing at the t-junction there. Then I saw the two runners in front of me turning left following the confined road passing by the road Marshall. The road Marshall didn't say anything. When I reached the junction myself, I was a bit sceptical with the direction the two runners in front of me turned to. So I asked the road Marshall, "mana mana?". Only then he pointed out that we should turn right into the main road again!! I had to then quickly shout out to the two runners in front to make a u-turn back!! What a joke!! A road marshall as if none at all! If there was a clear sign saying turn right, at least we would still know.
    • Distance marker at KM26 water station said "30 km" but in actual fact it was only 26.7km on my GPS watch. I then confirmed with the volunteers there and it's true, only 26km thus far!
    • At one of the roundabouts in Klang on the way back to stadium, I saw couple traffic police there but they were not helpful in controlling the traffic. I had to look out for the traffic myself run out from one ride, into the roundabout and onto another road.
    • Even for the last 2 km stretch, I also got lost not knowing which way to run. And as I ran into parking lot of the race venue, I also ran to the wrong side until one runner pointed out the correct direction for me.
  • Unfriendly shouts by motorists
    • Klang City International Marathon 2017 was my 29th full marathon and 30th FM/Ultra! And I also ran in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand. I also ran mid night marathon in Perlis earlier this year. But I have never ever encountered the unpleasant experiences of being shouted at by pass-by motorists. That was the first! And it happened at three separate occasions along the 42 km journey in Klang. Several of my running friends also encountered the same bad experiences! 
    • On one incident, I was running past a traffic light. There was a car at the traffic light there. As I ran past, the motorists winded down the car window and shouted out some unfriendly remarks at me. It wasn't any supporting or encouraging words or cheering words! They sounded hostile! I didn't dare to look at them but tried my best to run further from them.

I completed the full marathon with a net time of 4 hours 19 minutes. I didn't achieve another sub-4-hour marathon. But that's alright!

With the devastating net time clocked at Penang Bridge International Marathon 2017 two weeks ago, I had gotten used to running a slower marathon. Most importantly, I didn't scold myself for the not so good timing. I also didn't feel disappointed at my timing. I know I used the wrong strategy for running too fast in the beginning trying to pace my faster sub-4-hour friend. And I bonked from 25km onwards. But I gave my all! 

I have finally found inner peace with myself. And I acknowledged that life is full of ups and downs. 

I will continue to be strong, be courageous, be determined, be positive, be bold and brave! At the same time, I will learn to be gentler and kinder to myself.


Dear Evelyn,

With a heavy heart and sadness, I pray for God's mercy and healing to be upon you for your speedy full recovery. 

You are such a wonderful marvellous person with a very caring loving heart! You have given back so much to the running community as well in many many ways you could!

We all miss you, especially your infectious smile, and positive vibes and encouraging words!

And I miss reading your blog articles too! You even helped me by linking back your race review for TwinCity Marathon earlier this year to my blog to encourage and support me in my little blogging journey! I knew you did that to encourage me! Thank you!

I have strong faith and confident that you will fully recover from this toughest battle in your life thus far.

Our hearts and prayers go out to you, Evelyn! And we know you will be standing on your two feet running again soon bringing laughters, joy and happiness to all around you!

May God bless you and heal you completely!

KCIM is banned for good!

I ban Klang City International Marathon for good! A run that I was not proud of participating at first place for what had happened. 

Words   : Vincent Khor
Date      : December 12, 2017


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