Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Chiang Mai Marathon 2007

My maiden Chiangmai Marathon 2007

Race Expo

Took a 20min walk on Saturday from Star Hotel to the Race Expo site at Tapae Gate. Registration booths and tentages were just being set up as we arrived. The atmosphere was relaxed as many of the runners got together to chat and find out what's happening. Vincent and Brokie were helping to get our registrations together, as records of pre-registrations were not captured effectively. We took the opportunity to try out the race running top....very bright colours!

With the Race Organizer @ CMM Race Expo

There was also a mini sports bazaar being set up, and we got down to our bargaining and ended up with quite a few good deals. I also had the good opportunity to take a photo with the Race organizer...a friendly chap who could do with more experienced helpers though. We were not really in a hurry...and when we finally got our goodie bags, it was time for us to go back to Same Same Cafe (a Singaporean-run cafe) to get some local fare and complete booking of the Adventure Tours for post-race recovery :).

Spent the rest of the day shopping at the Airport Central Shopping Centre, followed by more at the Night Bazaar just outside of our hotel. Had a good carbo-loading steamboat dinner before retiring to bed at 10pm.

Race Day

Slept for 2hrs, woke up weary-eyed, but managed to get ready in a jiffy. Took a muffin, and went down to the Hotel Lobby. Stepped outside and felt that the air was chilly. I went back to get my poncho, and informed DO and FIL to do the same. Together with Bug, the 4 of us did the 15min walk to Tapae Gate, start point of the Chinag Mai Marathon. The place was just coming alive, with tentages being set up, and just beginning to be manned....haha, we must have been too early....apologies. Met familiar MR25 members, and aslo SgRunners who were there for the full marathon. We were feeling cold, and I was quitely hoping I could last in that kind of condition. My legs were feeling quite tired with all the walking of the previous 2 days....so the mindset was to go out and enjoy the run....was already thinking of the Japanese spread after the race....hehe

First 10km
The race started without much fanfare...there were 2 specially dressed runners. Bug and DO went ahead, with me following from behind. As we run by the canal, the ladyboys of the night were just going off shift and they waved at us to show support....and of course there was some teasing and cajoling by the runners....it brought some lighter moments in the initial stage of the run. I was running alongside a couple, and I kept pace at about 5:30min/km. Saw the 2km marker and was surprised to see my elapsed time to be 6min...wow, cannot be that slow right? I picked up speed a little, and cruised ahead of the couple. Saw the 4km marker and settled back at 5:20min/km pace....hmm, the distance markers were problematic.

Went to the side of the road for my first 'leak'...the cold weather really made it quite difficult to get warmed up. I started to perspire a little only after 5km...very little...saw that couple and then Brokie overtaking them. I ran up, and chatted with Brokie from the 6km mark....Brokie mentioned she would keep that pace till she could not hold out....good pace though. We were running along the highway by then, and I estimated I reached the 10km mark in about 52min. Good thing about such cool weather is that one can go faster without feeling the 'heat'...haha. We ran along a Ang Moh gal, and Brokie chatted with her while I tailgated for a bit.

It was pretty dark along the highway...good thing the slow traffic flow. We could see DO about 200m in front, along with another 2 runners. I went ahead of brokie after about 12km to keep closer to DO and the other runners. After a series of U-turns along the highway, we came to a circus area, and entered into a dark place...I could hardly see where I was going....just following DO and the front people. A cycling marshall came along to try to shine a torch for me, but it was still too dark. I ran past a turning point, but was fortunate he shouted at me to turn back. Saw DO and 2 lady runners, along with the local guy who had caught up. I decided to trail the local guy...and kept up with his faster pace. Into the park was a series of bends, passing places with names like 'Kenya', 'China' etc.

Down the slopes, and I saw Bug in his focused look running up....he was in good shape and time. I had reached the 21km mark in about 1hr52min...there were no km markers after 10km, or rather I never saw them...so I was just estimating distances based on time and pace. The run in the Park seemed endless and long....it was dark, and many were running around like lost souls. After the U-turn and up the slopes, I overtook DO to keep pace with the runner in front....told DO I had a serious case of nipple abrasion after the 15km mark....DO too had suffered from abrasion. When I finally got out of the Park, first light had come....I was happy to increase the speed to overtake the local guy...he perked up when he saw me, and gave chase for a good 2km along the highway. There was finally a fruits station a distance out of the Park, and I took 2 slices of water-melon....that was good. From there on, it was just running along what felt like an endless highway, with no signs of any distance markers and race officials.

I looked occasionally to ensure the local guy was still behind, although he seemed to be slowing down. My timing was good at that point and I was confident of getting a PB if I get the route correct. Both my nipples were bleeding, but I did not let that distract me...the race bib was also getting quite torn up because of its poor material (I later realized my race bib was flipped up when I crossed the finish line). I ran and I ran....but still, I had no idea what distance nor where to go....but I felt good and I knew I had a good pace. I finally lost the local runner, and i was just all alone along a highway. A wrong turn could send me to timbuktu...haha. After a long time, I finally spotted an arrow pointing left...I slowed to investigate, and then 1 guy ran from the other side of the road to ask me to cross....wah, there were some vehicles moving across....quite dangerous man. They could not tell me what distance nor how much more to go....language problems...I continued cautiously along the direction they pointed me, hoping it would not be a wrong turn.

The Lost km
After quite a while, I finally spotted a drinks station....wahaha....I was elated. There was a biker with helmet that looked like a foreigner....finally someone who could tell me where I was...he was clapping to show support....and finally, he told me what I was wanting to know....7km to end point. Wow...time check for me then was 3hr15min....I thought I had only 6km to go at worst. So I was still within PB time, but had no more buffer. I could not slow down...good thing was I had no feeling of any tightness nor cramps developing....quite good....the cool weather might have helped. Another 2km onwards, I spotted 2 runners....finally, could see some runners...I overtook them...and with 4km to go, I was feeling good. Then a drinks station, and an official told me '5km to go'...I was like 'Huh? 4km mah?'....I ran ahead and asked 2 runners....they said they were 21km runners...wah lau, I was totally confused....was I even running the right route?

I continued on, slowing to check with 2 more 21km runners, and was 'lost'. I slowed down and thought of what to do....I knew that the PB was a goner....I was just concerned with finding the finish line at Tapae Gate....served me right for not even looking at the race route map, and not having any local knowledge at all....was as blind as a bat....haha. I ran and I ran....and then I was running along the familiar canal...heh, was i near? I recalled the canal this morning where the Ladyboys were...but, but, was I on the correct side? There were some barricades and arrows....should I cross or not? I ran forward, crossed over, ran backwards...then ran forward again....how confused can a runner get? haiz. I contemplated DNFing if I could not find any signs by the 4hr mark. I looked all around as I ran cautiously....somehow there were no other runners around leh....

The Final 2.195km
Finally, I saw a familiar looking arrow showing a right turn....I turned, but still could not see any signs of Tapae Gate....I increased pace as time was running out...then I saw some familiar looking flags....I moved up only to be disappointed....more to go....finally saw 2 more runners, walking....very lost....one was an Ang Moh who was shouting at a marshall....seeing that the marshal's signal that the end is near, I ran fast to overtake the flabbergasted Ang Moh, and overshot the final turn...haha....quickly chionged left back onto the cobbled road, and finally could see the sea of yellow flags and the finish banner. Time check was 3hr50min...aiya, no point liao....I slow run to a nice finish, with my arms raised from 50m...must still look good yah? Official photographers snapped away as I crossed in 3hr51min...collected finisher's medal, before realizing my bib was flipped over when official could not read my number for the timing...wow...quite a drama.

The finish line in 3hr51min

Beverly, Elaine and Eugene cheered and took photos. I complained a little about the distance markers and confusing route, before being shown by Rosemary to collect my finisher's T...thanks. A packet of miserable-looking chicken rice was given to the finishers....yikes! The finisher's medal and T were nice though...I went back to end point to welcome back the rest of the runners and to take photos for our running kakis. Bug did very well at 3hr26min to win 3rd prize. DO came back in 4hr after getting lost in the Park for a bit...really bad route marking and marshalling. Brokie and Vincent did very well though in 4hr14min and 4hr20min. Doreen, Fennel, tktan all suffered from ITB problems midway, but still managed to complete in 4hr+. My FIL did a very respectable 5hr41min despite not having any sleep the previous niight, and feeling out of sorts.

Rewarded with a 'fancy' Finisher's T

SgRunners @ CMM Finish

We all gathered for some nice group photos, before proceeding back for our post-race rewards - The Japanese/International buffet spread, followed by the next few days of white-water rafting and All-Terrain vehicle adventures. It was a very good experience for me to run in a cool weather, starting at 4am, not feeling any cramps, no soreness nor DOMS after the race, and generally feeling good about the whole run...it was only the poor route marking and marshalling that did me in, but that is a separate matter.

Gun Time: 3hr51min
Weather : Cool/Cold
Route: Not interesting, Very little markers, very dark
Organization: Poor
Rest & Recreation: Very Good - Highlight of the trip

Official Race Results

Race Day Slideshow

Pre-Race SlideShow

Related Posts with Thumbnails


At 5:53 PM, Blogger PS said...

Aww, pity the poor route organization. Your previous muddy grass runs etc look like much fun! Let me know when you guys start training for the Sundown. :) Happy New Year. PS


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