Monday, March 31, 2008

Race-ist!

If an individual decides, for whatever reason, to do the shortest possible race distance, does that individual deserve to be treated any less special?

i think not. i think any person who chooses exercise over sleeping in on a sunday morning, should be given due merit for their efforts.

i realised as i signed up for the KLIM 10k that it would be my first 10k race. honest! i've done 10k during od tris, but never signed up for 10k as a stand alone race (i ran the mizuno 10k with mac last year but i gate crashed to keep him company, so that doesn't really count as a race participation)

my first ever run race was the GE30k last year. here are the 'first time' run race distances i've covered chronologically:
1. GE30k 2007
2. NB15k 2007
3. Addidas King of the Road 21k 2007
4. Penang Marathon 42k 2007
i notice my distances are very erratic as well!

so, seeing that this was my first official 10k race i was extremely excited.

**plus i have managed to convince my colleague, jo, to join in the fun with the promise that i'll run with her all the way, at whatever speed she can manage. as i had also volunteered to accompany mac throughout the race, the deal was whichever of the two were behind, i will hang back and support. they both kept up very well with each other and we finished 1:19 - 1:20!

heroes! good job guys.
(admittedly, this is also a PB timing for my 10k. my other 10k during tris have always been 1:30 onwards, so really i wasn't hanging back too much during the race)**

anyway, my first task was to sign jo and i up for the race and collect our race numbers.

arif helped out here, and i was disappointed that the 10k race kit did not even have proper receipt/registration coupons (they were photocopied coupon and numbers written individually!)let alone the rules and regulations booklet. our numbers were not determined upon online registration, rather allocated on the spot using mass produced cloth prints. Our kit paled in comparison to arif's 21k kit which had nicely printed registration coupons, full rules and regulations booklet and artcard race numbers that allow you to write emergency numbers and allergies at the back (don't we 10k-ers deserve to tell the organisers what we're allergic to?). also at registration, the 10k counter according to arif was a small little makeshift one at the corner.

i felt so discriminated! :(

my next task was to help jo buy a new pair of proper run shoes.

we went to the NB shop at 1-utama. feeling hyped up about jo doing her first 10k we "arrogantly" asked for the sales guy's assistance. this is how we were slapped on the face for asking:
senn: could you please recommend the type of shoes for long distance running?
salesguy: o! 42k?
(senn and jo exchanges sheepish looks)
senn: er... no. for now, 10k
salesguy: 42k is long distance. 10k is short distance
... piak! #1

he then showed us 5 shoes that were suitable. of course being women, when restricted, we automatically didn't like any of those he shortlisted for us.
senn: how about this? (pointing at another model out of shortlisted scope)
salesguy: nope. only these 5 for you
jo: how about this? (picking up a red one out of shortlisted scope)
salesguy: nope. only these..
jo: but i like this design better
salesguy: NB is not for fashion. we are not nike. it is for function. to run short distance, 10k (thanks for reminding us bro!) only these are suitable
... piak! #2

i then picked up this lovely pink(!) running-lightweight model.
senn: how about this, do you have my size?
salesguy: no, this is for serious runners! for your 10k (yeah - yeah, we know...) only these!
... piak! piak! piak! #3

more discrimination... :(

feeling disheartened, jo decides on one of the 5 while i said i'll think about mine. we went for dinner and returned after. by which time the salesguy had left and i just told the shop owner which model and size i wanted. (the running-lightweight model is incredible btw. for all you serious runners out there, you should try it!)

so, race number in, shoes ready... time for race day!

of course at race day, the 10k and 7k 'second class citizens' were placed in a different section from the 21 and 42k aristocrats. which was fine. it just makes it easier for the organisers anyway.

but!

10k runners do not get timing chips and as i later found out, 10k times are not even recorded! whatever time you clocked your watch is whatever time you finish.

the finishing was a total anti-climatic experience. we had to line up (about 20-30 people length to the finishing tape) to get our mass produced certs which we need to write our own names and medals in pre-inserted plastic covers. our earlier plans to have a final dash to the finish line were crushed! sure know how to make us special, don't they...

then of course there were the recovery tents and water stations only for 21k & 42k runners which no one else were allowed access to. i can understand the recovery tent being an exclusive thing seeing that 21k & 42k are quite gruesome distances and deserve priority.. but water stations?! after a brief runaround, a kind organiser showed us to a water dispensary tent some distance off the finishing line where we could quench our thirst.

full on discrimination! so much so that after seeing how i was treated, arif refused to remove his race number in case he loses his privileges as well!

admittedly though, despite feeling second class, the run on sunday was full of fun. seeing that i was quite bummed about being treated so casually, arif suggested i added some spice and wear a pair of white, feathery angel wings. i thought it was a great 'pick-me-up' and quite cool since i volunteered to be guardian to two runners.

the angel wings made quite a blast with other runners. here are some of the comments i received/overhead during the run:
1. are you in the right category?
2. do the wings give you an advantage?
3. why are you running when you can fly?
4. nice.....wings... (wtf? was that a pick up line?)
5. so, when are you taking off?
6. haiyo! angel girl pass ady... faster! (seems i'm a race bunny as well! perhaps next run with bunny ears?)

maybe the salesguy was right after all. which 'serious runner' would run with angel wings? perhaps the organisers were right too, to treat us so casually. it's only 10k, why would we need a full leg massage and foot dip?

but i just wish they'll understand that 10k runners are possible newbies with a serious intend to run longer distances in future.

just wish they'll realise that if a newbie is turned off by how they are treated they may not even join longer distance races.

just wish they'll see that we 10k 'underdogs' are the ones that need the highest level of encouragement and credit - we're like kids in the running world. you don't shrug a kid on his first bike ride do you? no, you don't. you praise them and encourage them to learn more.

Just wish they wouldn't be so race-ist!

8 comments:

bola2api said...

I joined the 10k last yr at KLIM. After reading this, yes I admit that the organizers are a little race-ist. That made me upgraded myself to 21k at KLIM coz I don't want to be treated like last year again.

congratulations. did u get a medal? the men's medal last yr was all taken up by 60 minutes. The women's medal was still available until the cut-off time. I finished my race last yr at 1:25 and luckily the medals were still available

Zailan said...

breakfast in berjaya was good tho, right!!!

The Editor said...

For what it is worth, you are no second class citizen in my view. My guardian angel and motivator is always there...

well, it seems that we cannot even go in to the massage tent huh

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CapArnabBrand said...

Blog-surfing and chanced upon your site.. I didn't see you at the race, but my bro mentioned someone with wings... so that was you!! Haha... Malaysian races need more people like you to spice up the atmosphere!! Cheers!

haza said...

Watttt? That girl with white wings was you? I had no idea. But you were in front of me at Jalan Imbi ka apa ka. I was focusing on your wings then. And wattt? You never ran 10k before and yet you've finished TWO ironmans?

The organizers take runners for granted. Maybe it's beyond their imagination that not ALL good runners want to run the 42K ALL the time. We have reasons to run wateva distance we like lar. And sometimes not-good runners run the 42k (me) but better runners run the 21k or 10k!! But of course FTAAA cant imagine all this because they only have eyes for the kenyans.

I've also had some untoward experience regarding shoe-buying. Worse in my case, coz I went in my baju kurung and tudung (lunch hour maa, during kerja)...the salesperson even had the stupidity to ask; Kak nak beli kasut untuk siapa?

Like, would you go buy running shoes for someone else? It's not like buying nasi ayam la!

Neway, have enjoyed your writing. Keep it up.

nurina said...

Sounds very familiar, very much the way I felt after doing the sprint distance in Powerman Lumut last year.

Wandernut said...

My friend told me last year's PJ Half Marathon's 10k race didn't even have WATER!! One thing to treat 10k runners differently, another to deprive them of hydration. So bad hor?