Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013 (PBIM 2013)

One of the most anticipated event of the year has arrived. Friends and colleagues who have been training for this event are all prepared and many are using this event as a benchmark of their progress and decide if they should progress to the next level. For me, who just want to run for fun went into the event with little to no preparation, except for trying to get a good night sleep just before the event. As in all races, the event started with the race pack collection. We collected our race pack on the first collection day, which is a week before the event. The collection tent was operated by school children’s, who was energetic and eager to get rid of the 40k bibs at their tent. We arrived just 10 minutes before closing on the first day and got our bib easy without any queue or fuss. The race pack came with a small bag, race bib with timing strip, a sleeveless race jersey and sponsored items. I later found out that those collected the race pack later got more sponsored items. Next year, remind me to collect at the day before the race.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

The race starts at 2am with the Full Marathon, then 3am for half and 6am for 10km. I was wondering why do they have such a huge gap between half and 10km. Not that I am grumbling about the heat, there is no heat running at 6am, but the fact that I have to wake up at 2, send my sister inlaw who is running the half, and come back rest and later go again for my 10km was a little pain the rear end for me. Later when I ran the race, I realize why they have to do this. There was just too many runners, for the 10k run, there were 14k participants. And many like me, half walk and run, and we clog up the road. We all end at the same finishing line, and I bet the half and full marathon runners who comes back at 7am onwards must be cursing at the 10k or fun run participants who clog up the road at narrow points. For me, I was running the last KM and I had to squeeze through people. Its just too many runners for and I heard the organizers are shooting for even larger crowd next year.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Walking shoulder to shoulder like penguin

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Goku

I got to the event site just in time and went to the blue arch ordered by the MC. I was trying to get to the front of the line, but it was jam pack, so I just went as far up I could get. When I saw Goku, I knew I have gone far enough as he would blast a path infront. On the contrary, the gun off unleash 14k runners onto the road and Goku was no where to be seen after that. We all practically walked like penguin till the a few meters after the timing recorder. It was a quiet gun off, everyone was in the zone. When we started running, all we could hear was the sound of shoes hitting the road. Some shoes does make much more noise that others. There was one guy whose shoe was like leaking air at every step and it whistle a little.  I am not sure if it was design this way, it sure was annoying. Just after 1km, the other side of the road was the final water station, there were many participants running over to get water. It was just over 1km and some are already thirsty for water? Anyway, I just kept on going pushing forward.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Old man putting me to shame

At the 2km mark, I saw this old man running at a steady pace. I saw this old man almost through out the run, putting me to shame. At times, I can’t keep up with his pace. Eventually, 3km before the finishing line, I redeem my pride by pushing harder on and complete the race with the old man behind me. One of the problem with huge crowd marathon is narrow roads. The bridge ramp going up was about 3 cars wide, and with 14k people squeezing though this tiny space, it was really hard to keep on running without having to push people of the path. Eventually at roughly the 3 km mark I stop running and walk up the bridge ram while taking photos front and back. At this point, I was really amaze by the number of runners on the bridge. As far as I could see, the entire bridge in front of me was painted with yellow. I turn back, and it was all yellow as well. Its like the entire bridge was filled with Minions running for Bananas. From this point onwards I was doing a sprint and walk routine. Sprint as fast and far that I could, then walk to recover and then sprint again.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

To the front, bridge filled with yellow minions

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

To the rear, more minions

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Good minions go on the left, came back as bad minions on the right.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Taking a leak at the middle of the bridge, I wonder if the other end of the door sees the Sea?

Coming to the midpoint, the crowd was getting less. Still, it is hard to maintain a certain pace without having to bump into someone. My sprint and walk strategy does not seams to pay off as I keep seeing the few same people. I overtook them when I sprint, and when I walk, they overtook me. After the turn at midpoint, we were greeted by a strong and steady wind. It was cold and refreshing and made the bridge a very nice and beautiful place to run. The sun was up and it was hiding in the clouds behind us, so it was not warming the place up and I could hear chatter of complaints about the chill. At this point, I started to look at the time and worried that I would not be able to complete ahead of the Hard Rock Run time. I pushes on.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

I hope none of the bottles and cups fell into the sea

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Eh, weren’t you behind me Uncle? Putting me to shame again…

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Full Marathon 6hr Pacer

Coming down the ramp, with not much time left, I kept on going. The 6hrs pacer zoom past me and I had a difficult time to catch up. At this junction, there were 10k runners, Half Marathon and Full Marathon runners. It was a 4-5 lane road and it was filled with runners. Looking at the photo above, you can see the entire road is filled with yellow minions all heading to the same direction. For some (FM), there were bananas at the end. After the 6hrs pace past me, came a guy running the full marathon pushing a wheelchair. I heard the St.John ambulance guys chatter on the side saying the guy was pushing is father. He got full cheer from everyone as he goes by and at the finishing line. I gave it the most I could and finish the run a few minutes short of the Hard Rock Run. Not entirely satisfied with this performance, but I did enjoyed it and had many nice photos along the way as a trade off. I hope to do a longer distance marathon in the next event. Till then, I have a lot of training to do.

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Jam pack finishing line

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2013

Jam pack after the finishing line

On this day..

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