The menu for this morning called for a 28K-ish long run covering most of the race route. The route is modified this year to include several loops around the Income Tax Building while removing the additional loop around the Hartamas Petronas station. The race organizers also see it necessary to heap more miseries onto the runners, the Matrade link was included into the course.
I'd preferred that it rained like yesterday but it didn't. I made sure that I ran very conservatively so that I can last the distance. For this morning we had several guest runners for company - Suhaimi and friend and Vicki, an American training for an ultra Adventure race, among others. By the 3rd K, I was already huffing and running alone. Frank and Lynn would soon disappear ahead while Lawrence and Vicki were pacing ahead together as well. If anything, my pacing were pretty consistent at 6:30. John who arrived late predictably passed us after the 4th K. I would only get to a level of comfort close to 10K, so I was pretty much focused on the moment of the run and dared not think too much ahead.
To cut a long story short, I'd like to warn fellow runners on how difficult the course is. While many may have run 30K training runs as part of training for the race, not many have run the actual course. All I can say is that it will surprise you. It will hammer you, if you start too ambitiously. There are very little sections of respite from the hills. The start itself involves a climb up the Deer Park. Before long you'll be tackling the long incline just after the Central Bank before doing the reverse Double Hill. Your quads will take a pounding as you run down Double Hill and your legs will immediately be taxed with a climb towards Mahameru (7K mark) and the IRB Building. Then the double climb of Matrade awaits, then Duta Tropika (10K) before the long and familiar length of road towards Desa Hartamas. After Petronas, you'll be running behind the station - a steep climb, a downhill before another uphill curve towards Plaza Damas. Then it's back to Matrade and the IRB before heading back to the dreaded Tijani slope.
A brief respite comes as you run down Kenny Hills and you'll need to drag your legs up to the Central Bank loop. At this stage you'd be mistaken to think that it's time to hammer the pace but wait! There's still the long trek to the Selangor Palace before exiting the hill at the National Monument. And if you're still "fresh" at that point it's 800m to the finish at Tapak A in Lake Gardens. What I'm getting at is "Underestimate this course at your own peril!".
Having mentioned what I did, I'm not complaining about the route. Afterall, if one feels that it's too tough, simply don't sign up. But since runners are generally suckers for pain and are up for the challenge no matter how foolhardy it is, the race is most likely fully subscribed.
I ended up completing just 26K of this morning's run (average pace of 6:16) and was I glad. I decided that running the Selangor Palace at this point won't make much of a difference to the state I'm in, except perhaps to inject a little bit more confidence. Now I won't sign off this posting by presenting everything to be difficult. Check this guy out - if everything goes according to his plan, we may just yet see the world record for the marathon smashed again this year.