My Fabulous & Maddening Energizer Night Race 2011....

I survived my Energizer Night Race 2011! Yes I did. I ran my 11km in approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. It was a crazy stunt on the personal end since I never did train per se. Conclusion? It was fun and definitely a personal achievement that I am proud of.

The whole event however I felt was marred. And I am to an extent "ANGRY". The well being of participants and the public was not a priority! Its nothing to do with the promised goodie bags or medal or tee shirt for the qualifiers including myself. Its all about our safety. Our lives!
I arrived early (at 5:00 p.m. as advised when I collected my race kit). Thus I could not relate to those who were stuck in the tunnel or those who had to wrestle for their headlights. The fact that I am claustrophobic would have meant that whatever they runners felt would have been magnified by many many times. But one thing for sure, that tunnel was not meant to cater to such a huge group of people. Even when I walk through it during the Super GT or F1, it was stuffy enough. What more with some 10,000 people rushing in to collect their headlights? Pics courtesy of Yogaretnam.

And it didn't help that the headlight collection counter was "conveniently" placed at the top of the staircase? Common sense would have figured out that when the crowd starts to build up, a traffic jam is bound to start from the tunnel till the steps of the staircase? What if someone lost their balance and fell backwards? And the headlamp collection point was later abandoned by the organisers leaving it to the crowd to help themselves.
Someone asked why did I come at 5:00p.m? Well I was asked to come at 5:00p.m. And from previous experience at SIC, I didn't quite fancy walking all the way from P2 or P3 to the paddock. Its quite a walk that I could do without especially when I was going to run 11km untrained.

Traffic control was bad not just at the tunnel nor the collection of headlamps. For the 42 and 21km runners, they were ushered to the starting grid. However the rest of us who did the 11 and 5 km were left to figure our way out. It was quite exasperating to walk to the starting grid only to be screamed at by a man over the mike. It didn't help that the sound system was quite bad with the echoes and loud music. He need not shout at us like we were some bunch of hooligans. Had they divided us into groups based on our flag off time, there would not be a traffic of blur runners who didn't know what to expect.
And I didn't understand how could not runners be allowed into the starting grid? It boiled down to lousy traffic control. Spectators could have viewed the run from the grandstands but not where we were being flagged off. This kid and her dad certainly didn't look like the runners. And neither did this group of folks holding bags. When I finished my run, the finishing line was filled with runners, clueless officials and these supporters. I understand you're there to cheer for your friends and loved ones, but heck if you come into our finishing line, you were a danger to the exhausted runners.
The Sepang F1 circuit is fun to drive. At 5.54km and 15 turns, it seems easy when I'm in the car. However, running on my 2 legs, heck it was not an easy task. And the least I expected was more water and medical stops. Instead we had barely there medical points. No marshall patrolled the circuit - I only met one 2 blokes on the motorbike once during my 2 laps. And the water point at Turn 14 was a joke (approximately 5km of running). Drinks were in cans. Heck the runners are wasting their time trying to open the cans! And cans itself is a danger when irresponsible runners litter it on the track. In fact between Turn 14 till midway leading to Turn 15 was a litter of cans! Indeed shame on the runners who littered but the organisers and in this case Gatorade the sponsor should have used their cow sense (no more common sense as I was told common sense isn't common anymore) to issue drinks in paper cups instead.
It is to be expected that there would be more medical points as not everyone would be prepared for the actual harshness of Sepang Circuit. Like I said, driving is easy. Running is a different ball game altogether. I endured a cramp on my 2nd toe in my second lap. No medics. Another fellow blogger / runner Wilson also endured his cramps with no medics around to help. And he witnessed a lady runner who fell and injured her palms but no help was seen:-(

And when I completed my 2 laps (Yippeee) I looked carefully to make sure that I ran into the correct lane (11km) but I was told by an official o move to the 22km lane. Excuse me? I have to reverse gear and run into the 22km lane now? And what do I do next? He says just queue for your goodie bag and conveniently pointed at the pits that seemed like a sea of people.
So there I went to join the queue hoping to see some water stands etc. But there was nothing! Instead I saw people trying to figure out which pit they should be queueing at. The signs were so tiny (A4). Still no water. I was contemplating asking a random stranger for water. Some were smart to grab an extra can at the watering station. Lucky for me, I met into a fellow runner Chapree who shared with me his Gatorade. Thanx bro! By then the damage was done. I was thirsting a wee too much and a sore throat had already kicked in:-(
And I witnessed how the goodie bags were thrown at the participants. Didn't have my camera with me but here's pics from Facebook and also a video from YouTube to prove it all? What did the organisers think we were? Beggars? They screamed at us at the start of the race thanks to their lack of manpower and lousy communication and now they throw goodie bags at us?

Then the shutters are lowered. Lowered but we were not told why? Then a voice walks past and tells us to step back 5 feet. OK, let's step back for 5 feet but tell us the reason at least? A lady runner in front of me had to be escorted out of the crowd queueing for the goodie bags she was about to pass out. Take note. No medical seen around too (again)!

The runners gave up and many proceeded to go look for their fellow runner to make their way home. It was then we heard one of the organisers from a police car announcing that goodie bags etc would be mailed out to the participants. A thought arose in my mind, "How are they going to figure out who qualified or otherwise? How would they know who has taken their goodie bag and who hasn't?" I know I qualified at 1 hour 20 minutes as I timed my own run with my Nike +. And it was quite upsetting that the 5 and 10km were not given timed runs.

Someone from the organising committee claimed that the runners were like hooligans. Everyone wanted to queue but there was no proper guides or post being set up. It was just space and nothing to guide. RELA volunteers were around but I felt that they had no idea what to do. And this is what the abandoned pits looked like after the shutters went down. Bags of goodie bags for dunno who.
And for the rumour mongers, the police were there from the start of the event. It had nothing to do with the "riot". The police were to control the traffic for the runners especially the 21 and 42 km runner who ran on the main road. And naturally with such a huge crowd, the police would also be deployed for crowd control if necessary. For sure the police were there because when I arrived at 5:00p.m, Jo and I made a pact to make the point where the police cars were parked to be out meeting point after our run. And we reiterated that when Gladys joined us at about 6plus p.m.

I also reckoned that the organisers should have ensured that the sponsors or booth operators do not overcharge the participants. RM3 for a 500ml bottle of mineral water! And I was disappointed that there were many booths but none was allocated to FILA who sponsored the running shirts. I came armed with money to stock up on my running socks as FILA has petite sizes that fits me much better than other brands.
Now what rubbish is it about the RM10 parking fee? Who's behind it? Some opportunist or the organisers? Either way, this being overlooked only shows the incompetence of the organisers.

Here's some pics from the run which was otherwise fun (at least I speak for myself). The fact that I ran with some of my buddies made it even funner:D

Let me also share a comedy moment of the devil and the angel in me that spoke in mind during the entire 11km that I ran:

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