Tuesday, November 05, 2013

2XU 15km 2013 Race Report

15km over a route that are not usually taken by those that frequent Bukit Tunku area. It has been a while since I ran Bukit Aman - Hartamas via double hills and the race sounded like a good training race since the Ironman training is in progress. Myself and wifey signed up for this race back during the SCKLM race kit collection in June. 

It was RM55 special pre-registration price which we have no issues in clicking on. Event is organised by Pik Apple from Singapore, the same people that organised 2XU Singapore. Title sponsor is 2XU and Key Power are the distributor for 2XU apparels and other specialised items for multisports. 
Race collection was better than the day before with the team getting more streamlined. It is easily understood why the human traffic as the outlet at Gardens is insufficient to cater for the influx of visitors exceeding 30people at any one time. Products on display and the tables set up for race kit collection, together with participants lining up amplifies the problem. Lucky for me, I went the day after and it was alright. 
Tight spot
The staffs worked really fast and soon, it all went really well. 
Race Morning
A run at 6am flag off and it's not even a 21km? That's early and it is easy to understand why. Firstly, i believe it is for traffic control and secondly it is that no one will be out under the sun far too long by the time they completed the run. We woke up at 4am and went on to prepare for the run. The typical setup - Perpetuem Solid (chew chew chew) and 4xEndurolytes for the electrolyte buffer. As we do not see a long hours in the run, there wasn't any need to bring along extra. We went to pick up another friend and headed off to Padang Merbuk.
Reaching Padang Merbuk, cars already lined up along the Jalan Parlimen. The organiser has managed to secure the permission from DBKL to allow cars to be parked along some roads (left and right, no double parking or risk saman or towing) and that took some pressure off the participants to rush and park haphazardly. We went to park at the furthest point of the race start (near JKR) and used the walk to the starting line as a good warm up. Sad to see some runners still trying to get nearer parking as I noticed the same car pacing up and down the slope looking for one - and an auntie standing guard at an empty car space presumably for a friend. 
The finishing/starting demarcated lines
The parking area of Padang Merbuk was converted to the race site. Tents were setup - baggage, main tent for prize giving, toilets, refreshment/finishing area, support stations. By then, it was already about 5.30am and the MC of the day has started his job to welcome everyone. Obviously, those that were there were still feeling...sleepy.
We hear you sir! Just that we are still...zzzz...
Not long after the introduction by the MC, the sky opened up and everyone rushed under the tent for cover. It was funny to see how the thousands tried to cramp themselves under cover...and i decided that I will get wet anyway and headed out under the rain - it's more fun that way!
With teammate Annie. Yes, we were drenched under the rain
The Botak and the babes
With Babes and Buddy
About 5:45am, the participants were requested to move into the holding pen. Credit to the MC for asking the participants to allow those that were eyeing podium or positions in the race to be in-front. The race will start with a slight incline and that is when the slower runners will be separated from the faster ones. I kept myself at the 3rd line from the front.
The wetness were not because of sweat, but rain
However, that did not stop some of the runners to push their way to the front and taking up the space next to you, or right in front of you. The race start was to be 6:10am, it was announced and under the rain and wind, plus the BO of some nearby, it was a pretty chilly uncomfortable situation. As promised, at 6:09, the MD for Key Power (Malaysia) was on stage to flag us all off. The rain did not stop and looked like will last through the morning. I was raring to go - need to keep the body warm!
Nothing gonna stop us all!
The front runners started to take off fast and I managed to take one last photo before starting my run. The first KM saw my HR going from sub 77bpm to 154bpm. THen it was a slight downhill before the U-turn at Jalan Sultan Salahuddin (Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang). The tight turning and compulsory timing mat slowed down many, especially with the wet ground and the slipepry surface on the timing mat sensor. At that stage, I had Yuan Yufang, Malaysian top women long distance runner in sight and she was clearly taking it easy (judging from her breathing and stride). She was going at a cool 4:15 pace average running up the small bump and heading down back towards JKR before turning off at Jalan Dato Onn (KTM Station aka behind Bank Negara). I was pacing with her and it was such inspiration being able to follow the legendary humble runner. At one point, she noticed I was following and we exchanged some pleasantries. She was seen wearing Skechers GoBionicRide.
The route went up along Jalan Dato Onn passing the new Bank Negara (Sasana Kijang) building and turning off towards Jalan Tun Ismail - which is the usual BA-Hartamas route. After crossing Mahameru Highway, instead of the usual right turn towards Jalan Langgak Tunku (aka towards the Tennis Stadium), we went straight and merged with Jalan Bukit Tunku before entering Jalan Girdie. It was "Double-Hill Reverse", which meant the route were pretty flattish or downhill and provide a lot of opportunity for recovery to the runners. I found myself keeping close to Yufang until KM7 and her speciality aka running downhill begin to show as she pulled ahead of me with very little effort. I was 50meters behind her by then. Passing the second water station in front of the Tennis court, i was trailing behind Yufang by at least 100m and i can hear a Thai runner fast on my back. I was running at 4:20pace (Zone 5a) with HR about 155bpm and still has a lot of reserves. I wasn't sure where the new route will lead me to, as I've never ran those areas behind Bukit Tunku. We turned into Persiaran Duta, which is the road between the Hentian Duta and Hockey stadium and it marked the first climb up a small hill (500m).
10deg climb only
Many would had thought it was the ONLY hill, as after all, Bukit TUnku can't be that brutal, right? All i can say is that the 2XU run provided me what I usually do on Sunday...Hillwork. I was really happy as beyond KM8 was hills after hills after hills...
See Happy Face Running Up Hill? MORE! Thanks Kenny!
From Persiaran Duta, the route turn left into Changkat Duta where it is flat and downhill. This was used for full recovery as I know the next Hill attack will not be pleasant as I remembered another U-turn in the race...That was when I was introduced to what was known as Jalan Datuk Bandar or Mayor Hill...the road leads to the KL Mayor official residence.
Our Datuk Bandar should technically be the fittest Datuk Bandar in Malaysia...kan?
The climb is about 1km from the bottom to the top and after 10km of running, it does become a challenge for many. I counted those that ran down and I know I am in the top 15 (both men and women). Since it is a training run, I need to stick to the plan - nothing more than a 5b effort, or aerobic aka 168-174bpm effort. Coming up to the end of the cul-de-sac was a water station. I took a sip of water and the sugar water and saw Karen Loh standing there with a camera! Haha. Sorry Karen, can't afford a decent smile as the water was in my mouth!
All Fogged Up
On the downhill section, I started to take photos and then realised (too late) that the coldness of the rain plus the warmth of my hand fogged up the len's protector of the JVC Adixxion. Alamak! I lost some good photos of those people running up Mayor Hill because of that. 
The race continued and we ran down Changkat Tunku before exiting Bukit Tunku and ran the slip-road parallel to Mahameru highway to get over to the other side of the road aka Jalan Sultan Salahuddin. I then had Chau coming up next to me for a photo opportunity. I ran with him the last few KM and was stuck amongst the sea of runners that were the 8km participants. Both sides of the road were jammed with human and I started to run in a zig-zag manner just to get ahead. I believe many 15km runners share my thoughts here. Here are some visuals (taken over my shoulder) of the jam-packed route. A dedicated lane for 15km runners would be nice!
Green on the left is me. Photo taken over my shoulder
Many spill over to the other side...
Human Jam
Thankfully, not far from there were the turn off to finish as the 8km participants then headed straight. It was a fast downhill and I took it easier as the ground was also slippery - and not forgetting that many photographers were station there to capture us running down. This was how Tey's eyes saw me. :) Thank you Tey gor, for making me felt like a winner!
Spotted Tey!
Finishing line was not far ahead, a small turn and it takes us home. I crossed the line in (according to my Garmin Fenix), 1:11:53. Not a bad timing considering the hills and it was a training run for me. Runners were then channelled to the finishing line and given a medal, banana and a sugar drink. I treated myself to the banana and sugar drink as a reward. :) Here are some photos with fast friends that came in before and after me (and this is after removing the fogged up @#$% len's cover)

Race Pros
- nice route, though I was told (not verified) that the route was only finalised last minute by the organiser.
- Nicer hills. But using the route as training requires some logistical planning, and also not wanting to look suspicious running Mayor hill up and down 5-sets without the residence security start asking me why am i doing there.
- Great support stations with more than adequate refreshment. I only stopped at two (KM7 and KM12). 
Race Cons
- Not sure how it will be possible as Bukit Tunku and Padang Merbuk road-system is a closed loop with limited entry/exit, but the finishing 2km for the 15km could had been managed a bit better to allow the 15km some room to pass. Granted the faster runners has escorts (on motorbike) to clear the way, but many behind gunning for better timing may not.
- Race finishing has no water handout. Some may not like sweet drinks, or take sugar drinks. Maybe a drink station like KOTR may be a good idea where runners finishing get a choice?
Race Map and Stats

Gears Used:
- Hammer Nutrition taken : Perpetuem Solid x 1 Tab. Endurolytes x4tabs. Both 30mins before race (upon arrival at race site)
- SPI belt that double up as bib-holder
She had a good run and now understand why I've been insisting that she should add in hill into her workout. Being able to run on flat fast is good, but being able to sprint up hills? Better!
Easy does it - in style
Wifey completed the race in a good 1:41:32. Nicely done!


  1. Great write-up. Sorry I didn't meet you though my friend Lorna - we traveled to the race together- said she did:)

    1. Yes. Bumped into Lorna and had a photo taken. It is up in my FB page. :)

      Hope the run was good for you.

  2. Nice to have met you. I came all teh way from Penang for this event. My very first run outside Penang.

    1. Gerad! LIkewise sir! Hope it was worth it.

    2. It was a very good experience running up the hills! Haven't done that before.

  3. Nice recap Stupe! Thanks for my photo near the finishing line. I was wondering how tight the security for Mayor's Hill would be if we were to train there on non-race days. I guess my question is answered.

    1. ;-) As with every part of Bukit Tunku, run with caution. The guards only responsible for area INSIDE their compound...and we all heard stories of ppl being robbed while running. Never run alone, or in two!