Touted to be the biggest PUMA Night Run event todate, anywhere; ten thousand runners (including me and my family) made our way to Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam on Saturday evening to participate in PUMA Night Run.
It's the first time PUMA Night Run was held at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam as their first two editions were held at Setia Alam. Unfortunately, my personal opinion is: Shah Alam is not exactly the best route to accommodate 10K runners; especially not during a busy Saturday evening. In a residential area. Full stop.
There were two waves for the 10K category:
- 10K Competitive (Men & Women) with A1 & B1 bib numbers
- 10K Recreational (Men & Women) with A2 & B2 bib numbers
Despite the many reminders by the emcees that only runners with bibs starting with numbers A1 & B1 to enter the pen for the 8.00pm flag-off, I saw quite a number of runners with A2 & B2 doing so too. There were RELA members (two of them) manning the entrance of the pen area and understandably both of them cannot check all those who were pushing to enter.
Understandably that is, until one of them pulled me back and ask for my bib. The one with bib B1 got pulled back and a throng of A2 and B2 entered without much problem.
Flag-off was at 8.00pm and it took me about 4minutes to cross the start line.
What running? I know that these type of run has many runners who were out just to have fun but when 80% of them were already strolling (walking) from the start line; it makes for a hugely congested running path.
Some thoughts for both organiser & fellow runners:
For the Organiser:
- They lack the foresight on how 10K crowd would be like, thinking that coning off one lane of the road would be enough. One lane road for runners are not enough for the volume they had!
- The control of those flagging-off for competitive and leisure run can be improved. Otherwise, what's the point of having the two waves? And no, two RELA volunteers to check on 5 thousand bibs (assuming that's the number of those doing the competitive run) wasn't enough.
- Lack of safety and traffic marshall all throughout the 10K route. The organiser had effectively closed off most of the entry/exit point of residence in Seksyen 11 and part of Seksyen 6 (other areas were affected too but not as bad as Seksyen 11); yet they didn't place marshall at all the junctions. While some drivers were patient. some were not and I've heard about runners almost being knocked down by cars.
- I only managed a 23min for 3K yet for a pace that is slightly below the 8min/km; I never did managed to see the 8min pacer balloons. A friend who wanted to chase the 7min pacers didn't see the ballons even after 4K! And he started way in front of me!
- Dark road stretch at KM6 and KM7 were not addressed.
- Weird placing of water stations (first one was at KM4) and water ran out for stragglers.
- Shah Alam at 8.00pm is simply not the venue for a big run that PUMA Night Run saw.
- Some runners didn't step on the timing mat at KM5.5 mark because there wasn't any volunteers reminding and guiding them towards the mat. A number just walked on the pavement completely oblivious about the halfway mark timing mat.
- Don't just go for numbers when quality simply wasn't there.
For the runners:
- Runners used both lanes and some "stupid" runners thought that running and getting a PB is far more important that their own safety that they enroached the road where traffic was not blocked and cars were zooming past them from the opposite side. You call Pokemon-go players stupid and time wasting? These runners are even stupider wei!
- If you have no intention to run from the start, please refrain in registering for the competitive category next time or if you hold a A2 & B2 bib numbers and also didn't plan to run, refrain from entering the pen before your allocated flag-off time. No, I'm not talking about how fast you can run. You can run a 9min/km pace for all I care, but you can join the competitive category if you want running and improve your timing. You have my admiration and respect. BUT if you are already walking at 100 mtr, hold hands, chat - that's is not competitive. Spare a thought for those who actually want to run. Don't block the road. This is not a Pasar Malam outing.
- Don't shout at volunteers and the medic team. They are there to help us. And if you are tired and do not want to walk anymore, the medic has the right the refuse you to board the ambulance. Being tired (but still able to shout at people) is NOT an emergency, dai lo. Board a bus la. Volunteers already apologised profusely when they ran out of water at one of the WS.
- Oh yeah, dude running in the middle of the road at KM2 point - spitting on the road is not cool. Swallow your "kahak". If it's gross for you to swallow it, it is much more gross to have it on my shoes. Bodo.
But as I joined the stragglers (I gave up on making any effort to run after 3K because it seems pointless); I saw that most "runners" were just happy pounding the tarmac - walking.
And being behind, I noted that all along the route, I didn't hear any honking from the cars that passed by. A few cars patiently waited for a clear path but as there were no marshals, they were unable to continue their journey.
A little girl shouted words of encouragement from a car and then we heard more words of encouragement as we passed an apartment complex.
Will I do PUMA Night Run again? I don't know.
The technical team has to buck up.
The Shah Alam route is not exactly the best route (to put it mildly) for ten thousand runners. Especially not on a Saturday night. You all don't know ah, we Malaysians like to go out at night?