Friday, 13 July 2012

- Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2012: A race review by Ronald Heng -

Before I begin, my brother Jeff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Team Freedom Freaks for their great supports and encouragements by spending their precious time in sending both of us at Changi Airport for our Gold Coast Marathon trip on 29 June 2012 (Friday evening). Many thanks to you guys! 

- At Singapore Changi Airport -

- After collecting our racepacks at Gold Coast -

Together with some Singaporean passionate runners and our group leader (Sky Khoo), Jeff and I reached at Gold Coast Airport (Australia) at approximately 5:30 AM (Singapore Time 3:30 AM) and the flight journey took us 7 hours. The weather was very good and cold with blue clear sky with no clouds. After we have collected our check-in luggage in the airport and settled our breakfast meals, we then straight away went to the Gold Coast Convention Centre to collect our race goodie bags and bib slots at the race expo. Few hours later, all of us then left the place for our backpacker resort (Sleeping Inn)  and settled our accommodation stuff. In mid afternoon, Jeff, Sky and I went for our jogging session 3.17 km around our resort area to condition our bodies to the cold weather.

1st July 2012: Race Day
Very happy feeling! I was very excited to run my first marathon race in a cold country like Australia.

Near to the start line, we met up with some of our Singaporean runners including Mohan Marathon, Adam OneArmRunner, Team FatBird and Team SAFRA. As usual, camwhore session took place.  :P

This marathon race is to dedicate my effort to Adecco Win4Youth project in raising charity fund to help and integrate young & needy people into work, in difficult environments.

- With the Singapore's contigent ! -

- Cam-whoring with my bro -
- Dedicate this run to Win4Youth -

Soon, the marathon race started at 7:20 AM. Sky, Michael Quek (another good buddy) and I started our runs together and we paced together closely from the start. The cold weather was so good that we ran and reached our 25 KM and 30 KM markers in 1:58 hours and 2:25 hours respectively. However, my body was starting to complain and feel fatigue at 28 KM. Eventually I hit my wall at 31 KM. Sky was with me and he encouraged me to maintain my pace to 5:15 mins/km in order to achieve sub 3:30 hour marathon time. I told him that I cannot run anymore and asked him to carry on his run and not to wait for me. I stopped, rested and did some leg stretching for about 1.5 minute at 31.8 KM marker. Suddenly, I was able to run again at 32 KM with an average pace of 5:30 to 5:45 mins/km. This was awesome feeling because I felt the encouragement supports from the local supporters and runners.

Finally, I raced and completed my Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2012 with a net time of 3:35:33 hours (Season and Personal Best). My marathon has improved by 15:55 mins from my previous best time of 3:51:28 hours set at Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011.

- Various pics captured by the official photographer -

- Flying Singapore's flag -

- My Full Marathon timings so far -

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

- Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012: A Half-marathon race review By Sue Zanna -

My 1st overseas marathon that I never thought I would do in my life.  And what else can be more exciting than traveling with my bunch of Freaks. We were so excited as we countdown the days to jet off to Kuala Lumpur. Behind the excitement, I was a bit nervous and worried as I was totally not prepared and training was only once, which was a week prior to the event. I told myself not to set any expectation and just enjoy the run, burn the KL road..
We arrived at noon and proceeded to Madam Kwan, our lunch venue in KLCC chosen by Selly for the authentic local Malaysian food. We did a bit of Freaks Family bonding and how I wish the whole members are all here, which I know its impossible Its also a pleasure to meet Razif in person for the 1st time who joined us for lunch. That's nice of him.

- Carbo-loading !! -

- Tom yam soup to compliment the main dish -

- A meal is not complete without some desserts -

After the fulfilling good lunch, we headed to the race pack collection. I could feel the heat is on with preparations were all setting up in the venue. I saw many familiar faces that I felt I was at home back in Singapore. 

- Collection of race-pack -

- Posing at the start/finish point -

Headed to check in to the hotel which was about 5 minutes walk away from the venue. We felt so tired and decided  to get a quick nap before we meet for our carbo dinner loading at the nearby warong in Masjid India.
After dinner, it was an early preparation for the next day. Kamisah and myself decided to turn in early. Unfortunately, my sleep was interrupted due to the hypers runners that were rocking the CITIN MASJID JAMEK with doors slamming, energetic voices and feet stamping. I wish for sleeping pills to knock me off .…

- The room -

Morning alarm went off and we were so ready to start. We stepped out in the drizzle and my thought were with the full marathon Freaks who have started their run at 430am. Could it be another repeat history of Sundown event for them, running in the rain? Fortunately it was a light one that finally stopped when we were in the starting pen. The half marathon crowd was not so hyper, probably too early for some I guess. My heartbeat went fast each time when I looked at the Malaysia's Big Ben and said some prayers to calm myself down. 
I told myself to relax and make this run a leisure, stress free ..... 

- Before the start of the run -

Gun shot was heard and off we go .....  
The 1st sight I saw ahead was a slight uphill and I recalled the veterans mentioned to expect few uphills along the route. I told myself to just focus on the run and looked ahead. Roads were uneven at times and I almost twisted my ankle as I stepped into a pothole. So much of looking ahead that I forgot to watch out the uneven roads, hence I start to put my vision on both areas. I felt strained on my calves for the first 3km but I knew its a struggle especially when I am out of runs for long time. I keep telling myself dont give up and push while I can. 
I skipped the 1st water point and ran maintaining my comfort pace of 7mins/km. Bladder finally ask for mercy to let go and I mumbled to myself not to think about it as there were no portable toilets seen. I diverted my focus each time, think about my kids and mom and if I can make this in less than 3 hours. Whenever theres an uphill, I thought positively ; its a breeze when going downhill so take the chance to speed. I was so happy each time theres a water point with soak sponges.. 
Damn! Singapore should have this with the hot weather. I got addicted with the sponge showered myself and felt so refreshing. It really felt so good. At 15km mark, I looked at the watch. I decided to challenge myself to reach the finishing point below 2hr 45. I got mentally prepared and drive myself to reach the target. It would be an achievement if I can go below that timing. To focus was tough, as my body were trying to get complacent and relax. I got pressured when I see the full marathoners merging and I told myself I should start my engine moving faster. The supporters at the finishing end were very supportive with motivation boards and banners that kept me going. I just had to do it and when I saw the timeboard it was 2:34:09. I sped up before the time change to 2:35:00.
And I did with a timing of 2:34:33 ....  !!!
Tears welled up and never expect I did it after a long absence..  It was such a sweet memories in KL.. 
Thank you to all Freaks who did well in this run for all the fun and moral supports.. 

- A great achievement for myself !! -