The Great Eastern 30K race on 18 January 2009 at Tapak A, Lake Garden was my 1st race for 2009. It took me more than a month to decide and only signed up on the very last day. I wasn't really sure if I could actually complete the run as this run is known as one of the toughest with endless hill slopes. Without any preparation and training, the task is even tougher!
Finally that dreaded day arrived. Kei Ming fetched me at 5.20am heading towards Lake Garden. Arrived at the children playground carpark at 5.40am. Say hello to Ronnie See, Chen and a few others then quickly change into my Adidas Supernove Glide W (which I picked up barely less than a week under the Adidas Shoes Seeding Program). Thanks to Mr. Krishnan of Adidas who helped me with the selection. I truly needed a pair of shoes with good cushioning to take me thru that treacherous route.
Knowing well that I'll be slow, I decided to leave my bag at the baggage counter instead of keeping it in Kei Ming's car. There were a sea of runners and the place was dimly lit. Along the way I met many familiar faces and we exchange greetings. I was searching for the baggage tent which was at the far end. Then there was a short announcement that the race will be delayed due to technical error. After taking 2 cups of water, I head towards the mobile toilet to ease myself before the run start. While waiting in line suddenly the sound of the air horn was heard and I saw runners taking off! I was grateful that the lady runner at the front who was running the 20K allowed me to use the toilet first. By the time I came out, the 20K runners were at the starting line.
I was in a daze not knowing which way to go as the earlier crowd had disappeared in the dark. Then I saw Lionel sitting at the side. Walked up to him and asked him for the direction and hurriedly trying to catch up. About 200m infront I saw runners slowing down as that was the first uphill slope to tackle and I quickly catched up with the rest.
The 1st 10km was on target at 70mins. If I can keep my pace consistently, I should be able to complete the race under 4 hours. But after the 15km mark, the route became tougher and tougher to tackle the many hill slopes. The sun has risen and the heat is up! When I saw the 20km runners taking the U-turn, I was almost at the verge of giving up and just do the 20km! I desperately trying to find something to keep me motivated as the route ahead will be much tougher to tackle!
On Friday (15 January 2009), Raymond Chew, a good friend whom I got to know for barely 2 years succumbed to his long battle against stomach cancer and was called to the Almighty. For that short period, I had the opportunity to run with him on many road races and we also went hiking in Cheras hill. However, early last year his condition deteriorated and he began to isolate himself from us. He had always inspired me while we ran the same race. Giving me that little push whenever I slowed down and I actually had improved over time.
We pay our last respect to him the night before. That was the 1st time we saw him after more than 6 months he went into isolation. We were stunt and beyond words. He truly suffered while battling with life. We can only pray and ask God to take care of him from then on.
With that, I dedicated the last 15km of that race to him. That afternoon was his last ride on this universe. May you find peace in the arm of God.
The last 15km, the stiffness began to set in both my legs. I was almost dragging myself all the way uphill under the blazing sun. After the 22km marker, my knee was in pain with each step I took. I was already at walking pace all the way back. I walked up to the medical aid on standby for some cream to reduce the aches but was told that there was none. Luckily I carried a small Reflexball with me and stopped at the road side for a quick massage. Then a few kilometres away, I tried my luck again but received the same fate - no more medical aids!
After the 25km mark, I was almost crawling. With a stiff leg, painful knee joints and blazing sun without any sight of the water station, I was walking in dissolution!
Thank God! The last water station at the 28km. I quickly grab 2 cups and washed it down my throat. And now, another 2km to go . . . . . Finally, I made it back to the finishing line in 4hrs 29mins 52sec! Thank you God for taking me through the journey!
Next will be the 204km KL-Maran Marathon in early April.