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Morning run with Energizer MD Mike Foong

Post announcements of full compensation of the runner entrance fees and goodie bags, public apologies, Energizer has proven themselves to be serious in remedying the whole unfortunate event. A morning run was organised and Mike Foong joined the runners for a run at Titiwangsa Lake on Saturday 7th May 2011 at 730a.m. (a very pretty sunny Saturday morning).
In fact only Andreas West a seasoned runner and one of the admin for the Facebook pages was present.
It was a good run and having the man himself present to hear us out and suggestions, I think one can certainly be looking forward to a better run being organised next year:D

Here's the official press release:
Following the aftermath of the Energizer Night Race 2011, Mike Foong, the managing director of Energizer Malaysia Sdn Bhd, hosted a personal meet-and-greet session and informal run with participants of this year’s race at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa last Saturday.
Held barely a week after the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, the Energizer Night Race 2011 last month gave runners the first ever opportunity to race on the Sepang International Circuit, ‘The Home of Malaysian Motorsports’. More than 10,000 runners wearing special headlights transformed the circuit into a moving “river of light”, while the event also entered the Malaysia Book of Records for the Largest Participation in a Night Run.
However, the Energizer Night Race 2011 was marred by poor organisation throughout the event, resulting in an overflow of discontent from participants and the running community. This had resulted in numerous suggestions, questions, complaints and disputes from runners in the two weeks that followed.
“In the aftermath of the issues that happened during the Energizer Night Race 2011, we at Energizer Malaysia received a significant amount of constructive criticism from runners who have offered great ideas on how Energizer Malaysia can continue to support their passion for running,” said Foong.
“We wanted a personal opportunity to listen and address directly all comments, suggestions and feedback from the running community in an open and honest manner, in the hope that we can do much better for future events,” he added.
The invitation to the run and personal meet-and-greet with Foong and the Energizer Malaysia team was posted on key Facebook complaint pages created by disgruntled participants in this year’s race, which included the Energizer Night Race KL 2011: We Want Justice, Boycott Energizer Night Race, and Suggestion to Mr. Mike Foong (Energizer Malaysia) Facebook pages.
Early on Saturday morning, around 15 runners joined the team from Energizer Malaysia for a relaxed run around Taman Tasik Titiwangsa. These included the administrators of the Facebook complaint pages, representatives of the running community, and running enthusiasts – all who were participants in this year’s Energizer Night Race.
During the run, these representatives shared in detail the experiences and issues they encountered and also made suggestions on how the event could have been implemented better – from appointing seasoned marathon organisers to proper planning of logistics and the safety of runners.
After the run, Foong also explained the steps Energizer Malaysia was taking in the aftermath of this year’s event, including refunding the full registration fees for every registered participant in the race.
To ensure that participants get what they were promised, Energizer Malaysia will also be taking over the event organiser’s prior commitment to fully distribute all certificates, medals, finishers’ T-shirts, headlights and complimentary gifts after the race. All registered participants should expect to receive their dues and refunds by the end of May 2011.
“Energizer Malaysia shares the disappointment of the participants in the Energizer Night Race 2011 and once again would like to apologise as the title sponsor. Even though the race organiser has taken full responsibility for the issues of that night, I want to assure all participants that we are committed to a full plan of reparation,” Foong said.
“We at Energizer Malaysia want to rebuild bridges with all the participants, and our ears and minds are open to all affected parties in the hope that a better and more successful event can be held next year. We hope to work very closely with the running community to ensure that all future running events sponsored by us offer a safe and fulfilling experience to all,” concluded Foong.

Amongst some questions that was covered:
1. What were the key highlights of the Energizer Night Race 2011?
The Energizer Night Race was the first running race ever on the Sepang International Circuit, which happened barely a week after the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix. 10,000 participants broke the record for ‘largest participation in a night race’, which was witnessed by Malaysia Book of Records. The event also featured Energizer’s unique night race format with headlights on every runner that transformed the route into a “river of light”.
2. What went wrong on the night?
The implementation of the event on the day left a lot to be desired. From our internal investigations, we have come to believe that the organiser made some last-minute decisions that were not in line with our aspirations that resulted in the escalating problems on the night. We were as surprised and disappointed as the participants when we witnessed those issues unfold during the event.
3. Why did Energizer collect unreasonable parking fees?
Energizer did not authorise the collection of parking fees during the race. We have yet to hear back from the organiser in regards to this issue and this is part of our ongoing internal investigation.
4. Why were there so many safety issues on the day?
The initial plans as shared by the organiser to us outlined a comprehensive which addressed all the concerns and issues from last year. While we initially had full confidence in the organiser to ensure a safe and enjoyable race for all participants, this did not materialise which came as a surprise and disappointment to us in Energizer as well. It seems that proper precautions were not taken by the organiser due to numerous last-minute changes and poor planning.
On behalf of Energizer, I want to apologise to all runners who experienced inconvenience, discomfort and injury from that night. We recognise that most of these could have been avoided should due diligence be performed.
5. Why weren’t the headlights distributed during race-kit collection days?
The headlight is crucial for participation in the Energizer Night Race throughout the entire length of the route. One of the chief reasons we chose not to distribute the headlight during the race-kit collection days is so that participants would not forget or misplace the headlight before the race.
However, we are considering all alternatives to avoid safety issues like this year’s where there were long queues in the access tunnel and theft of headlights on race day.
6. How do you explain the timing discrepancies and result disputes?
We conducted our own internal enquiries with the race director and timekeeper, and recognise that errors in the actual route run by participants have resulted in disputes for final rankings and timings. This was due to numerous reasons, but we have been given assurance by the race director and timekeeper that the final results are based on actual timing chip records and the unanimous decision of the referees.
7. Why was there no results announced on the night?
According to the race director, the results could not be announced as the final race times and placing could not be confirmed by the referees until very much later. As such, neither the master of ceremonies nor Energizer Malaysia could make any announcements on behalf of the organiser or race director.
We sincerely apologise for participants and members of the public who were anxiously waiting for the results that night, as well as any inconvenience caused by the wait.
8. Why did it take so long for Energizer to act after the night?
We at Energizer Malaysia shared the surprise and disappointment of the participants, as we had such high hopes for the event we helped create. As title sponsors, we needed to fully understand the situation before we could work towards the first steps of a solution.
Since that night, we have been working around-the-clock in internal enquiries, meetings and responding to participants, which have resulted in the public announcements made so far. The understanding shown by the running community is extraordinary and we will do justice to their patience.
9. How was the organiser selected?
This project was awarded through a standard tender process, where multiple event organisers were invited to submit their proposals for the project. As title sponsor, we wanted to engage professional event organisers to ensure that the requirements of our participants were placed at the highest priority. The organiser won the pitch through a proposal that above all included a turnkey event management solution that would give sponsors the freedom to focus on our contributions instead of the task of organising the event.
While the proposal and initial approved plans were comprehensive, we recognise that the actual event fell far beyond the expectations of participants and sponsors alike. We are working hard to ensure that all reparations are committed to and would like assure all parties that Energizer Malaysia will be having a personal hand in this.
10. What are the reparations?
As previously announced in our three public statements so far, Energizer Malaysia will now be taking over the organiser’s prior commitment to fully distribute all certificates, medals, finishers’ T-shirts, headlights and complimentary gifts to every registered participant in the race. This is in addition to the refund of the full registration fees for every registered participant as previously announced.
Details have been sent out to participants via e-mail and SMS, and have also been announced on the Energizer Night Race 2011 website and Facebook page. (www.energizernightrace.com.my; www.facebook.com/EnergizerNightRaceMalaysia).
11. When will runners receive the refund and/or reparations?
All registered participants should expect to receive all dues by the end of May 2011. Energizer Malaysia will be contacting each winner for their medals, certificates and prize money.
12. Will you be organising another race in the future? Why?
We at Energizer Malaysia are seriously considering another Energizer Night Race next year. We realise that corporate sponsorship of sporting events are highly valued in Malaysia and we would still like to be a part of the running community through the opportunities we have to offer.
As the first running race on the Sepang F1 Circuit, it would be a shame to see this opportunity go to waste after this year’s event. The Energizer Night Race concept and format has seen worldwide success in South Korea, Argentina, Philippines, and South Africa, and we see no reason why Malaysian runners should not experience the same excitement and thrill as these runners worldwide.
While this is a big ask after the events of the Energizer Night Race 2011, we at Energizer Malaysia sincerely ask for the support, input and participation of runners as we work towards a better and improved Energizer Night Race 2012.
13. What is next on the calendar after the Energizer Night Race?
First and foremost on our priorities is ensuring that all registered participants receive their dues as promised in our previous statements.
After that, we hope to work very closely with the running community to ensure that all future running events sponsored by us offer a safe and fulfilling experience to all. We hope that you keep yourself posted for future communications and announcements we will make.
Here's also the latest press statement today confirming that all 10,000 participants will be receiving a full refund and the gift bags latest by 27th May 2011. And if you have not received it by then please write to cst.msia@energizer.com

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