Race Walking For 12-Hours in MKH Kajang International 12-Hours

First, an intro to MKH Kajang International 12-Hours Walk 2017:
It’s a RACE WALKING event organised by Persatuan Lumba Jalan Kaki Malaysia and is supported by Ministry of Youth and Sports and Majlis Perbandaran Kajang.

Just like UM24 that I did 3 weeks ago, the format of the race is time-based, loop route. We had to walk around a 1km loop, as far (or as little, up to us) as we could within the 12-hour time limit. Apart from “competing” in the individual category, participants could form teams too, for a chance to compete in the team category; and at no extra charge. So for fast competitors, that meant that they have a chance at winning prize money in both the individual and team category.

However, to be entitled for a finisher medal, individual participants has to complete a minimum of 40 loops for men and 30 loops for women. And for the team ranking, mileage from all members in the team is calculated and the team with accumulated highest mileage wins.

For me, I had no intention of stopping at the minimum 30km. My target was 60km and I planned to hold an average of 11min pace so that I could have buffer time for rest stops during the race.

The flag-off was at 8.00pm and I started the walk with my teammate, Lee. It was an easy “chit-chat” pace at first, at around 10.20-11min/km pace. Then we caught up with another teammate MJ, and I walked with him.

After he broke away from me, I continued with a 9.30min pace from KM7 to KM20, and made one toilet stop. There were portaloos provided along the route and I was glad to find one with squat toilet style.

I didn’t stop to drink during the first two hours because I wanted to avoid doing toilet stops. Hehehe But after two hours, cannot tahan already so I made my first dash to the portaloo.

A few hour into our walk, I saw a friend and his family coming and cheering for us along the route and gave plenty of encouragement. Thank you Chew!
Me, MJ and KZ. Photo credit: Zafuan
Later, two friends dropped by to support me and MJ and even brought me a thermos filled with hot chocolate and for MJ, hot latte. I was ecstatic and relieved to have hot drinks to enjoy. We stopped and chatted for a bit before continuing our race walk.

They stayed on for about an hour or so, before making their way back home as they planned to ride the next morning. Thank you KZ & Zafuan!

Hubby and Son dropped by later to check on me but they didn’t stay long. They understood that if they were there, I’d have trouble focusing on my walk and worry about them instead.
Me and Julie. Photo credit: Chew
Walked for a bit with another teammate Julie, but we separated later when she decided to stop for fueling.

My 9min+ walking pace dropped to a 10min something pace later but I wasn’t too worried. As long as I was below 12min pace, I figured I’d be OK.

And indeed, from KM26 to KM31, I was walking much slower at 11.30min pace.

I made my first long stop when we got to the 6-hour mark. However, there was nothing to eat or hot water available at the refreshments area (because food were served at a fixed time interval and I missed the first session) so I went to the baggage drop area to retrieve some stuff, re-apply Vaseline on my feet, stashed the now empty thermos and started my walk again.

I aimed to reach 30K in less than 6 hours so that I have more time to shoot for the 60K target, knowing that I’d definitely slow down later in the race.

I didn’t look at the scoreboard screen placed at the Start/Finish arch and where one of the timing mats were located (there were two, the other one was placed mid-route as checkpoint) until loop 20. I didn’t want to be too bothered about the loop numbers so early in the race and I only focused on the clock placed there and tried to finish each loop within my target time. And that’s pretty much how I kept myself motivated to push myself. Chasing my own time for each loop. Same thing during UM24 too. I didn’t look at the scoreboard and just focused on the clock. If I was slower than my target, I’d push myself to complete a faster loop afterwards.

Some participants pitched tents at the race venue and some came with support crews and their own support station. I find this good as they did not have to waste time going in the refreshment area and follow the organiser schedule to re-fuel (or makan). I am so gonna pitch my tent by the roadside next year and put my stuff, thermos filled with hot drinks and fruits there for my own comfort!

Anyway, I completed 30K in 5 hour 07 minutes (my Polar time) and did 35km in 6 hours 01 min. I had reached my first target. My next target was to complete 42km within 7 hours. I was on way my to meet that second target but a longer than expected stop at the hotel’s toilet (there were no toilet with running water at the race site so I went back to the hotel that we were staying) meant I wasn’t able to achieve that target. 42K at 7 hours 10 min was still OK lah and I aimed to meet another target.


From 40km onwards, the detour to the refreshments and baggage area got more frequent as I didn’t want to miss the scheduled “makan” time although all I took were fruits and hot coffee. I totally skipped the fried bihun and whatever cooked food they served. And I was sorely missing the protein shake that my friend, Doc Mimi had brought for me and another friend, Karima during UM24. Doc Mimi completed her first IM70.3 last week, by the way. Congrats Doc Mimi!

Although the food were served at fixed time, isotonic and mineral water (which was served later as walkers kept on asking for water) were served continuously throughout the race. But one can only drink so much cold water lah. hahaha

Lesson learnt from this, bring my own stash of food and placed it somewhere accessible along the route. I put my stuff at the baggage area, and although the crew there were very helpful, I find it a pain to keep returning and retrieving my stuff every hour or so, especially when all I need to do was reapply Vaseline on my feet and underarms to prevent from chafing.

According to my Polar, I reached 50K at 9 hours 06 minutes but official timing shows 9 hours 19 minutes. OK la. My Polar (and also friend’s Garmin) read the loop as about 1.10km instead of 1km anyway.

50K in 9 hours 20 minutes and that meant I had more than 2 hours to meet my 60K target.

My walking pace had now became much slower and there were loops that took more than 12 minutes!
Me and my cappuccino. Photo credit: ChiauWu
Hubby came with breakfast about one hour before the finish time, at 7am. And he seemed to know that I was thinking about having McD porridge as he brought a cup of Cappuccino and porridge for me. Yeay.

I grabbed the Cappucino and enjoyed sipping it while completing my 60th loop. I did my 60K in 11 hours 01 minute (Polar time – official would be around 6 hours 15 kot). And I still have ample time to do more!

I grabbed the hash brown that Hubby brought afterwards and ate them while completing my 61st loop. On my 62nd loop, I noticed that my name didn’t come up in the scoreboard when I passed the timing mat, as did another walker and we waited there to ensure that our bib was indeed captured by the system but we were shooed away by a fella. So what to do, continue sajalah, captured data or otherwise. Anyway, after a slower walk between KM50 to KM60, I was back at doing sub10 min walk pace after KM60.

I completed my second last loop at 11 hours 45 minutes, according to the official clock timing and was ready to stop. But Hubby told me to do another loop because I had more than 14 minutes to do it and I had more than ample time to do it. So, off I went again to complete another loop.

My target then became to cross the finish line and complete the walk in sub 11 hours 55 minutes. But alas, just as we were approaching the finish line, we were stopped by organiser and barred from crossing the timing mat or the finish line. Some walkers insisted in crossing it but were physically stopped by the organiser.

They wanted all walkers to cross the finish line together. So all that push for a 9:30 pace to finish sub 11 hours 55 minutes was for nothing for me! As a friend said when I pass by him during the last loop, “Laju-laju nak ke mana?” and in this case, really la! No point pushing. I should’ve strolled and makan angin during that last loop. Adeh. Hahaha
Me and teammates and fellow walkers
So after a countdown and much pomp and ceremony by the organiser and VIP, we finally crossed the finish line together. It would’ve looked really nice to see in race photos for race organiser and sponsor’s report but what a waste of effort pushing during that last few minutes for us walkers. Ahaha (Don’t complain so much la Lina).
My effort in the MKH Kajang International 12-Hours Walk 2017 gave me a 13th placing in Women Open and 46th overall among almost 400 participants. And also 18th fastest 50K for female category and 55th overall. Not too bad lah, for my first ever endurance race walking event.
Route map plus detours to makan and toilet
The event is pretty hardcore in my opinion; compared to those loop-based ultra-running event that I’ve participated before. In those events, there were toilet facilities (with running water) provided at race venue, along with spaces for Muslims to pray (some will even provide kain pelekat, sejadah and telekung) but only portaloos at this walking event. We either had to resort to going to Prescott Hotel located nearby or go to Mamak shops!

At ultra-running events (I’m talking about the loop based ones, ya), fruits and some snacks were pretty much available throughout the race but it was served at fixed interval at this walk event so we kinda had to adhere to the organiser’s schedule for our fuelling. At UM24 I drank hot milo at all of my drink stops but I couldn’t do it last week. And with the water and isotonic drinks that I drank, it was no surprise that I had stomach problem twice.

But it was a good learning experience and I will certainly come prepared if they decide to hold it again next year.

For only RM100 for registration fee, it was still among one of the most affordable endurance races (running or walking) around. And the organiser is pretty generous with the cash prizes too! Hehehe

I walked home with RM120 being the 13th placing Women Open and that was rather nice. A bonus on top of reaching and exceeding my 60K target!

Some photos taken at MKH Kajang International 12-Hour Walk 2017 can be viewed at Cik Arnab & En Kura-Kura Facebook page.

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