Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taiping International Marathon - Horrible Experience

 Unlike other racers, we midshipmen need to go through a lengthy paperwork and procedure before getting all the logistic supports. Everyone was clearly aware that it was no easy job to get us there, so we trained hard to bring back at least finisher medals. After checking last year's result, I set a benchmark for myself to get into Top 10 in 21km Men Open. 
 This race registration fee was paid by ourselves, and we overnight at the race site to save the trouble from traveling from RAJD to Esplanade. Dr Rajendran allowed us to sleep under 3 of his tents, I was really grateful for his kindness. 

Race Start
3.30am I was awaken by the cold wind blowing directly to our tent. The day before I had the weather forecast checked and it says Taiping might get drizzling rain at night. However, we had a dry and cold night. So I predicted the rain might pour during the race.

4.30am I was supposed to report to the start line. The race was delayed, at that time, even the Full Marathoners haven't flagged off. All endurance racers know it very well that nutrition plan is a major deciding factor in long distance racing. I ate my Triple Threat at 4.30am, and I started running at 6am. Oh shit! I took it too early. Runners got very very angry for the delay and started shouting inside the barricaded area.  With the DeeJay kept on saying "I don't know this, I don't know that, U gotta ask that person", everyone was in confuse mode. Inside the barricaded area, organizers distributed cable tie to be worn on the wrist! My goodness, that piece of sharp plastic could easily cut runner's sweaty skin!

Horrible Race Course
6am the gun goes off. 5 Kenyans went to the front, and I saw a Malay veteran and Muniandy at the front. I was happily running in third place as a Malaysian, not too bad =) The roads were extremely dark, and most junctions were not manned. I was trying hard to chase after the police bike's blinking blue light as my indicator. At the hilly sections, I managed to drop a few runners trailing me. After observing their lengthy stride, I've decided to increase my climbing pace by climbing with short strides high cadence. Long strides are no good for climbing.

Distance Marker
 I didn't see any distance marker at all!! Even if there was any, it was not big enough for the exhausted runners to see it clearly. I overshot a few junctions and had to turn back to the right course. Luckily one veteran runner Chua assisted me with the course, we both paced each other very very well. He showed great sportsmanship, despite trailing a few meters back, he occasionally yelled at me telling me directions. I was so eager to increase the pace but I needed him to point me directions! 

Water Stations
Without the distance marker, my only way to estimate the race course was by counting water stations. We were told to have 4 water stations. After seeing the 4th station, I knew that the race was about to end, but my watch showed 45 minutes. If the finish line is getting closer, it should be within 5km. With my current running pace, I'll be completing the half marathon below 1 hour! Faster than the Kenyan??? Something was not right. I saw another water station later! I had to slow down to focus on running at the right course which was a waste of time! super confusing.

At the town, I was supposed to make a right turn. I turned left and overshot by 400m. Chua was following me, a policeman rode his bike telling me to turn back. I got really really angry, u made me run extra distance! Why can't u shout like a man to point me to the right course??! Why the organizer put u there if u can't point us the direction! Roads in the town were narrow and confusing, and I couldn't see any marshal! The finishing line was super close and I had so much more energy in me, I started sprinting and yelling at everyone I saw to ask them the directions, like a crazy man. After few hundred meters, I saw one marshal pointing me to run to the field. 

 I finished in 1.13, and Muniandy was not there. Either he DNF, or i went to the wrong course. The officials gave me the 5th placing podium card. Then they asked for my 2nd ribbon! I had one ribbon and one cable tie with me only! Oh gosh! Chua and I were arguing with the officials. I asked them to let me complete the loop. They said "don't worry about it, we got your number". Even if I went for the extra loop, I'll still get the placing because I was still VERY fresh and the guy behind me, I didn't see him at all. After all the loop I missed was just less than 3km. Few minutes after that, Muniandy came in. 
Obviously I went to the wrong course, all thanks to the kind marshals.

 Finisher Medal
 I was given the finisher medal, I walked away in disappointment. I was the 2nd Malaysian after Muniandy, with my current form and the flat course, a new PB is very very possible. Anyway, I proceeded to the counter for goodies. They didn't want to give me because I wasn't given the finisher number card. Mentally exhausted with what was going on, I just said "thank you" and walked away without a single word. I was thrilled to see my team mates coming into the finishing arch with a big wide smile. Later, I got complaint from them saying that the organizers ran out of medals!  

Few steps from the goodies tent, I saw officials happily walking away with goodies bag. 
Some of them saw me taking pictures and quickly hide the bag. I didn't bother to confront them also despite me being a finisher wasn't being treated appropriately. Mr Tey was right, this race is a low standard race.

Later, some kids went for 2nd round to get the goodies bag. Officials didn't even ask for race numbers or race receipt! No wonder some runners didn't get the goodies bag. Nothing much inside the paper bag actually, just that the race management is extremely horrible.

with RFID strapped onto runner's foot, the race results shouldn't take too long. 
Prize giving was supposed to be at 10am.

It turned out to be 10.48am. Almost an hour delay! The race officials were walking proudly with their uniform and a huge badge written "PEGAWAI" on it. If this is your standard, I don't think u deserve to wear the badge. It is a disgrace to the athletic association.

Congratulations to all the 10km and Half Marathon finishers from KDSI I Royal Malaysian Naval College! 

I'm really proud of them. The whole team waited for me for about 2 hours just for the official result!
I felt really bad for keeping them waiting, so I confronted one official insisting him to let me see the 21km Men Open official race result. with a huge "X" next to my name, he proudly told me "u didn't step on the 2nd timing mat". I walked off after saying "thank you". 

End of Story
The champion Kenyan of my category was disqualified, Yee Pei Ni and her friend were disqualified, and many more runners were disqualified. We did the run for nothing. Dr Rajendran was nice to me, but his team of workers were lousy. This failure has caused many runners to walk away with ugly-saddy face. For the very first time, I was officially disqualified from a race. I did not cheat!
they made me look like a fraud.

The only thing I can be happy is meeting my running friends and the superb achievement by my team. This incident is just a tiny obstacle, definitely not huge enough to kill my passion for running. I'll keep racing. =) Last word from me :
There're not many horrible races u can join in Malaysia. If u ever feel like experiencing a horrible race, go Taiping International Marathon !


Kevin Siah said...

So sorry to hear that Chan. This sort of mismanagement should not be tolerated. I'm sure you'll bounce back stronger from this.

Aynn said...

Agree with you on all counts.

Poor organization and most of all running out of medals?!? It's as bad or probably worse than Energizer 2011.

They ran out of water at least at 3 stations and my mum who was running half gave away her bottles to full marathoners.

When the runners got to the finish line, no water waiting for them there too. When runners asked for medals, organizers just walked off despite the runners meeting the cut off time.

I hope they make good on their promise else I am certain runners will go to the media, like ENR.

And they called themselves "taiping international".

Unknown said...

Me too, have to agree to those comments, really poor organization.
Btw, anybody knows where to get the race results ?

optimus said...

Agreed! Water finished and no isotonic drinks, no goodie bag, runners not getting vests in the sizes they ordered. Worst race I have ever participated in, and the organisers I saw weren't even apologetic!

Unknown said...

Well said... Am very frustrated with no medic and no distance marker along the road... It's just like me having my own Sunday LSD... But if it's a LSD then I wouldn't travel so far from KL to Taiping...! The so call Dr Rajendran keep on claims don't know why finisher medal is not enough... Worst organizer ever...

Unknown said...

Cannot access the Taiping Marathon facebook page anymore. Did they remove it due to massive complaining ?? This would be the highlight !

Unknown said...

This is not surprise... He used to cover shits using delete button...

Dr Rajendran rude to me and try to cover it by delete post after I have posted the print screen up...

Aynn said...

Many runners complained & the officials brushed them off. When my mum mentioned Consumer Tribunal & small claims court then they asked the runners to write their bib numbers on the back of a certificate.

Even then, they didn't give a pen to write until about 10 runners started shouting. Sincere ah, Rotary Club?

Chan, sorry I am pouring here. I really feel bad for u & other runners ESP my mum because it's her first half m, we came all the way from KL and it's her birthday run.

All the trouble and everyone got cheated of their rights.

nurina said...

Start your own facebook page to voice all the complaints. That way the organizer can't delete them. It's what worked with Energizer Night Run a few years ago.
It's high time people demand accountability from race organizers

Unknown said...

totally enjoyed the experience, though mentally and hydrationally draining.. imagine I was doing the fool,i meant full marathon. wahaha

LieWei said...

Sorry to hear of your bad experience with the Taiping International Marathon. I was there too and wasted such long hours waiting for their official result.

There are so many races in Malaysia nowadays, we are spoiled for choice. Next time just need to look for organizer with good track record..

Keep on running :)

Weird Dan said...

I cant believe something like that happened.

One race that I would not even think of running I guess

Gebu said...

for me, worst than enegizer traffic control at all...easy to knock down by motorist and mati katak there...bad FM memory there...

lina said...

The only saving grace for this race was Taiping people themselves.

johanbalan said...

Me too experienced some unpleasant moments during my 10K water stations as they ran out of supplies, finally had one somewhere near the 8K mark I guess as there were no distance markers at all.
When I finished I just got the finishers medal but couple of guys behind me got finishers medals along with number tags as we were within top 30 in our senior veteran category....what a mix up!
I just left as even the certificates were not ready.
I came all the way from KL to participate, guess this will be my first and last run in Taiping.....disappointed!

LiM3^Juic3 said...

the worst marathon organizer ever, Rotary Club Taiping.
such an embarrassment to Taiping.
i double confirmed through email with dr.rajendran on the finisher medal & tee, in which he only replied a 'YES' to my questions.
after completed the run, then only i was told finisher medal for top 30 only.
perhaps they should just stop organizing anything.

Jimmy the world of color said...

worst marathon organizer ever. They even remove the taiping marathon facebook page. Totally rubbish. You still can find more info about this lame organizer through this link.
People should know what is going on...