After a period of much anticipation, during which some pretty hilarious "spoof" posters were designed, der_2nd PAR (Pacemakers Anniversary Run, to the uninitiated) took off with much fanfare. 9 teams comprising of 4 members each were to tackle the challenging KLCC Park. A runner was to run 2 laps totalling 2.6K as fast as he or she could, negotiating the tricky corners and undulating terrain. If you're familiar with the grounds, this unfortunately meant running at anaerobic level, all-guts, lung-burning, limb-flaying, mouth-gaping, eyeball-popping, nose-flaring...well you get the idea...effort.
Fortunately, all the runners that morning had those requisites in bucket loads. The field had strong and slower runners but it didn't matter. Everyone seemed to soak in the jolly atmosphere and turned in superb performances. Some, like my team-mate Cheong, were revelations. I'd bet he didn't know he could run so fast. His wife would probably had thought he'd keeled over in exhaustion. Well, he didn't and not only did he ran a superb first lap, he kept up the effort for the 2nd. Probably by being the first runner, he had added motivation. Probably he was awakened by Jason's 1-lap demo on how to finish strong. The others also ran like men/women possessed, Ah Toh in particular clocked a ridiculous 4:19 first lap.
By the time I received the baton from Cheong, I was already in the zone. Shutting out the cheers, I took off pretty fast. But having no runners alongside nor in front of me (I only had Justin to pace me the final 400m), I lost all sense of pace. Only when I completed the first lap did I know that I'd passed a runner. A few seconds later, my stomach gave way and cramped up. The pace I ran was way too fast for a 2-lapper but I can't let my team mates down. With a mouth that looked like a goldfish gulping down air and brows all knitted up (the lau sai look), I wobbled through the painful 2nd lap. The more air I took in, the more painful the cramp was. It was only past the halfway mark of the 2nd lap that I managed to pass another runner. Thankfully Newton was waiting at the start of the transition area when I passed him the baton. Then I trodded to the grass and bent over double in exhaustion - an act repeated by nearly all the runners (that's the spirit of pia!). Newton also ran a strong and consistent race to maintain position and then it was our fastest runner's turn to run the anchor lap, and he did so superbly, overtaking another team. That pretty much ensured that we didn't finish last but then the position was immaterial. There was so much fun and comradeship amongst everyone that the timings were relegated to being the least important factor. Very rarely do we see an event that has so many doing personal bests and yet the timings weren't as important as the experience and opportunity to come together as people passionate about running.
As with this year's New Year Run, der_PAR would not have been possible without the unflinching support of Tan Sri Rohaizad (we hope he recovers from his injury and return to running soon) and the various sponsors - Chen, CM and DK.
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