Penang Bridge Marathon Official Launch
The clan's excursion back to Penang for the Chinese New Year started at 6:15am. That was keeping to our tradition of early morning start whenever we drive home. The traffic was smooth all the way and we didn't spot any of the police watch towers manned. However, I read that there are hidden cameras placed at trouble spots to catch speeding motorists. Having stopped for short breaks twice, we eventually arrived in Penang at about 11:15am. Considering that we were travelling in 2 cars, with 2 kids and my Mom, it was good timing.
The afternoon was spent tidying up the stuff we brought home - the food, clothing and more food. CNY isn't CNY without the feasting, even though I don't really fancy the traditional feasting at home. Hey, when in Penang, the only feasting I or anyone should do are on the famous streetfood! The heat as expected was bad, I reckoned it touched 34C easily. With my light clothing, the discomfort was reduced if only so slightly. I'd planned to visit the spanking new Queensbay Mall sometime in the afternoon, once Carbowoman went out to get her hair done. As a result of our schedule, I hadn't manage a catnap when I drove out with C1 to the mall. The purpose of my visit was for the official launch of the Penang Bridge Marathon as well as to enjoy the aircond comfort of the place.
Penang Bridge Marathon (PBM) Official Launch & A Surprise
The PBM was officially launched with 4 months to go. This has to be the earliest the PBM was announced and it augurs well for those training for it. This popular event consistently achieves large turnouts of 10,000 participants spread over
the multiple categories and last year, the morning saw about 12,000 who made the crossing on the 3rd longest bridge in the region (For more info on the Penang Bridge, click here). From the looks of the launch, the organizers are shaping
the event to be a grand one. Aligning it with the Visit Malaysia Year '07 campaign is also a wise move. I promptly committed and signed up for the full marathon on the spot and was rewarded with bib # A0002. The welcome bag didn't contain anything useful for me as either there were vouchers for products I don't use or discount that were too little for NB, Nike, adidas, Body Shop and a couple more brands. As we were early for the 5pm launch, C1 and I made a quick tour of the large mall and I noticed that there was a collection of sports outlets. The Nike and adidas boutiques were located next to each other while further up the same floor was NB. On the 2nd floor, there was the first (insert *surprise*) asics boutique in the country.
Marathon Mayhem. The crowd at the launch
Signing up and ticket to pain
Chin signing up for pain. The state EXCO launching the event
The crowd and if you squint real hard, you can see the bridge in the distance
The adidas and NB boutiques
The asics boutique. "I'll get you for signing me up for the full!" C1 said
The asics outlet stocked all the latest training, racing and trail models and they offered a standard 20% discount on all merchandize. They also stocked socks but not the technical ones. The Trabuco VIII and Ohana were also offered at 20% off which was poor when compared to the 60% at a recent warehouse sale in Subang. Since I needed a large shoe bag, I grabbed one while C1 was busy polishing up his sundae cone.
Finally back down at the launch, I chatted awhile with Krishnan who was representing adidas (the official apparel sponsor) before slipping off to meet Chin whom at my egging also signed up for the full marathon. While Chin was signing up, several reporters crowded around him to snap his act of registration. Chin did the right thing by looking up and smiling at the cameras! An attractive feature of this race is that the 20 top finishers of the full marathon from the Men's and Women's Open categories will win a spot each on either the London, Prague or Berlin marathon - all 3 are key European marathons sponsored by adidas.The route is the same with the starting time the most drastic change. The full marathon start time is moved to 3am! The official website is here. To get the route map and entry form, head on to the RunnersMalaysia Events Page.
I sense a PR and yup, this is gonna be my 7th marathon.
I've decided to make Gurney Drive the primary running spot since I stay just 3 minutes walk away. I've also called my alma mater (that's the Penang Free School - established 1816, the oldest English school in the country) seeking permission to run on its grounds. Each loop around its field is exactly 1K. Whether or not I get to run there depends on my schedule.