Bukit Jalil Half Marathon 2018 Race Review: 1st Half Marathon Race in 2.5 Years

Since I got hooked to running full marathons, I hardly registered myself for any half marathon races. I also figured that I could run 21km during my Sunday LSD training anyway.

Great thanks to Saucony Malaysia for the complimentary slot to run at Bukit Jalil Half Marathon 2018 held on 11 March 2018 at National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. The complimentary slot was given because my photo taken during Hatyai Marathon 2017 wearing Saucony Kinvara 8 shoe was selected as one of the five winning photos. :) You can see all the five winning photos by clicking here.

Bukit Jalil Half Marathon 2018 is only my seventh (7th) half marathon since I started running in 2010; and first (1st) half marathon since July 2015. In fact, it was also my first time running the Bukit Jalil Half Marathon. Strange but true, I ran more full marathon races than half marathon races to date! lol!

Before the Race

Since I stay close by, I decided to walk to the beautiful venue Stadium Bukit Jalil this morning. There were about 4,000 participants at this year's Bukit Jalil Half Marathon 2018. And one of my running friend was a volunteer to the organiser Bukit Jalil Running Club. Great thanks to her too for helping me to sort out my race kit miscommunication issue. Such an awesome helpful runner friend indeed! 👍

I also decided to wear my newly bought Saucony Fastwitch 8 for the very first time at Bukit Jalil Half Marathon 2018. The new shoe was fresh out the the box, brought back from Tokyo Marathon Expo 2018. And I have never run on it before. I thought of testing it out at this half marathon. It's also a way to thank Saucony Malaysia for giving me this opportunity to run.

After dropping my bag at the bag-drop counter with friendly staff, I wanted to go to make a quick pee but the queue was rather long. So I decided to hold my bladder and wait at finish line while looking for some familiar faces.

It was my fault for not reading the runner's guide properly. I thought the race started at 5.30am for all runner until someone told me the men started 15 minutes thereafter at 5.45am. So I decided to stand on the side for the ladies to queue up at start line first. Unfortunately, some men were not aware of the  different start time and I saw a couple of them running off together with the women. There were also some women runners who came to the start line late and were blocked by men runners. There were also bandit runners without bib in the crowd. I was more worried for their safety after the Klang International Marathon 2017 incident with our beloved Evelyn Ang.

Anyway, off we went at 5.45am. I was rather excited about running my first half marathon in the last 2.5 years and I was running without much expectation.

During the Race: Runners should be responsible for own safety too

Honestly speaking, I had no running strategy on running a half marathon. Should I go all out all the way from the start or should I hold back for the first 10km for a reverse split later?

I decided to run by feel and enjoyed the route along the way. I didn't really bother to look at my Garmin Vivo GPS watch but rather I just ran according to my body condition. Whenever I saw a slightly faster runner, then I tried to follow behind until I was dropped! And I was dropped many many times over the 21 km distance! lol!

Anyway, here were my splits:

  • KM1-KM5  : 4:42 min / km to 5:01 min / km
  • KM6-KM10 : 5:24 min / km to 5:45 min / km
  • KM11: 6:13 min / km
  • KM12-KM20: 5:05 min / km to 5:38 min / km
  • KM21: 4:34 min / km

Looking back, I noticed I ran too fast for the first 5km, with my pace dropping along the route. At KM11 my pace was the slowest at 6:13 min / km during uphill. With the elevation gain of 311 meter , you can tell that it wasn't a flat route! Rather hilly indeed but I love hills anyway! 😀 No hills, no fun!

Overall, the race route was excellent with plenty of hills, water stations every 3 km (the last water station with 100 Plus), banana at KM9, plenty of safety cones along the route and good marshals and traffic controllers.

Photo courtesy of Seven Chiam, Se7en Days! Thank you!

If ever there was an area for improvement for safety reason, it would be the the returning loop at Bukit OUG area and the International Medical University Area.

Bukit OUG area
You see - along the Bukit OUG area, the narrow road with many high rise condos was parked with many cars of the condo residents. Some double parked (left side and right side) making the already narrow roads even narrower. Even though there was safety cones and marshals directing traffic, for certain areas only one runner could run between the parked car and the safety cones. It was a very small narrow running path for runners. But it was fully understood why that happened! It was due to the overnight parked cars! And if organiser were to allow more space for runners as dedicated lane, that would precent motor vehicles from passing through.

But can you imagine with condo residents started to come out and more cars, few of us had no choice but to keep looking back for cars and then ran outside the safety cone on the main road with cars to over cut the runners in front. Please bear in mind that at this area, the 10km runners had merged with 21km runners making it even more congested with some of them walking, blocking the small little running lane.

At that moment, I could only think of runners' safety!

After the unfortunate car incident causing the precious life of our beloved blogger and ultra marathoner Evelyn Ang at Klang International Marathon 2017, I couldn't stop myself from thinking of the safety of runners.

I was extremely careful when over taking other runners at Bukit OUG stretch. I also did my best to look after a few other runners who also had no choice but to over take slower runners by running outside the safety cone area. Glad that all runners were safe!

Traffic light before Internal Medical University 
When I reached the KM 20 or so between water station 7 and the traffic light at International Medical University at Japan Jalil Perkasa 7, I saw runners in front of my running to the right lane from the left. I guess right after International Medical University, all runners needed to turn right. Hence, they started to run at the right lane even before the traffic light. The strange thing was: no Marshall was there to direct runners to run to the right lane. In my personal belief, I think the runners turned to right lane too fast.

Then I saw a car coming from behind towards the runners who already started to run at the right lane. I started to have a chill in my bones thinking of Evelyn's incident. So I shouted very loudly to runners, "Car behind!"

Unfortunately, the runners played a deaf ears to my shout!  I was so upset and I shouted even louder this round, "Do you want to be hit by cars is it? Car behind!" I could hear some runners giggling next to me. But I don't care! I don't want to see any runners being knocked down by cars again!

Thank goodness this time the runners listened to my shout and all started to give way to the car behind, except one veteran runner. I had no choice but quickly ran up to him and pulled him to the side telling him there was a car behind.

Later I bumped into a marshal and he told me that the car was at fault. The car was supposed to be on the left lane.

I wasn't sure who was right or wrong but I wish there were some marshal to tell the car not to drive on that lane if the driver was at fault.

At the same time, I also wish runners can take safety more seriously! Runners are equally responsible for their own safety, not only the organiser!

Anyway, I was just happy that everyone was safe!!

I think because of the the safety issue and my shouts, I also became all perked up and I ran my last 1km to the finish line at a pace of 4:34 min/km. lol!😂😂😂

Finish Line

I was just happy to have completed in a decent time of 1:52:15, ranked 20th in senior veteran category, 93rd in men's category and 101st overall. It wasn't my best time but I was happy to have run my first ever half marathon in the last 2.5 years!

And I really enjoyed running in this new Saucony Fast Witch shoe!! I don't know why it's called Fast Witch! Or will I turn into a witch after running in it? Saucony Fast Witch is a bit more aggressive than Saucony Kinvara 9 with less cushioning but with more forward push factor. 

Unfortunately, this human engine (that's me! haha!) wasn't strong enough to turn in a solid performance with the shoe! Pity the shoe that needs to be stuck with this not-so-fast runner! But don't worry - Saucony Fast Witch, I will bring you places traveling in different countries. :)

At finish line!

The result was out really fast! Within 10 minutes after race completion, runners could download e-cert and check out results from the championchip.com.my website! It's really amazing! Kudos to organiser on this excellent service!
Awesome fast app - downloadable e-cert within 10 minutes after the race! Kudos!

Oh there are a lot of makan makan, food and drinks too. I love the cendol and water melon the best. Awesome and truly thirst crunchers! 

I also had a great time catching up with some runner friends. Everyone was smiling widely on this beautiful Sunday at Bukit Jalil Kuala Lumpur!

Thank you Bukit Jalil Running Club for the organisation of this event! And thank you Saucony Malaysia for the winning slot! 

And yes - I love this new pair of Saucony Fastwitch! I hope I won't be turning into a witch. But turning into a fast running witch? I won't mind at all then! haha!

Words   : Vincent Khor
Date.     : 11March 2018


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