I signed up for the Great Eastern 5km Fun Run the weekend after Ozark and the Penang Bridge 10km Run at the end of Nov. Unfortunately, the sprained ankle meant that I had to miss both runs, excluding the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Instead, I decided that I should still go to Penang and make this more of a makan trip than running trip. :) It should be fun as I would be going with Karen, Carey, Samantha and her hubby Leslie!
As Karen was on a working trip and arriving back from USA on Sat morning, she had to switch her flight to Penang to Sat evening. By then, Sam, Leslie and I had visited some temples before going to pick up our race bibs. I met many runners from Singapore and most of them would be running the half or full marathon. I was glad that I didn't managed to sign up for the full marathon. Else it would be a waste of money. Collection of the race bib was a breeze. But I had forgotten that I used my passport number during the registration, they were unable to find my race bib using my NRIC! Luckily, Sam and Leslie reminded me and they found my race bib. It was makan time (lunch) and we escaped the heat by going to the shopping mall next to the race bib collection point. We met Mohan Marathon there and had lunch together. After which we walked around the mall while waiting for Karen. As I was limping, I decided to have ice-cream while waiting for Karen.
Karen finally showed up in the evening and we took a cab back to the hotel. After she had settled down, it was time for more makan (dinner)!!! We decided to walk to the food street located just behind our hotel. But the short walk took forever. When we reached the food street, it was very crowded. We managed to find a place to sit down. Since I was inmobile, I was tasked to jaga the food while the rest will get the food. While the amount of food was not that much, we were eating as though we had to run 42.195km the next day! In the end, we even gave out a plate of Indian rojak to the next table as Karen, Leslie and Sam had each bought a plate of Indian rojak!
After dinner, we took a slow walk back to the hotel. Carey called to inform us of the time she and her dad would drop by the hotel to pick us up for the race! So nice of Carey and her dad! We woke up early and by 4am, we were down at the lobby. Carey's dad drove us to as near to the start line as possible. We then made arrangement for him to pick us up after the race at the same place. After saying goodbye, we followed the rest of the runners who stopped at the same location as us. It was very easy to spot the starting line although there was a 10km competitive run and a 10km fun run starting at different time. I wished Karen, Carey, Sam and Leslie a good run before I decided to fill the time and my stomach!
After my wanton noodle, I walked to the other side of the street, near where the end point was located. By then (5:50am), I already saw the half marathoners streaming back to the finishing line. Being at the race end point was fun as you could see the different expressions on the runners' faces and take photos of your friends. Unfortunately, I didn't have my DSLR with me and had to resort to using my compact camera instead. But I managed to see and shoot many familiar runners although not all photos turn out nice due to the low lighting. It was another half an hour passed before I saw Leslie running towards me! Soon, Sam came and zoomed passed me, followed by Carey. There was no sign of Karen yet!
I continued to watch out for Karen. Sam came over to me soon after. We were both worried about Karen as the cut-off was 1hr 30mins for the 10km competitive run. As the clock ticked closer towards the 1hr 30mins mark, I asked Sam to use my bib to "run" towards the end and get a finisher medal for Karen, in case she missed out. She left promptly, jumping into the 10km runners. :p A while later after Sam was gone, I saw Karen! I was very happy for her for completing the race even though she might not have made the cut-off. It was not about timing but completion! And granted that she just flew back from USA, it was a very decent effort. When all of them came over to where I stood, I was happy to hear that the orgnaiser continued to give out the finishing medal for the 10km runners even though the cut-off was over.
We went back to the drop-off point and met up with Carey's dad, who sent us back to our hotel. After washing up, we checked out and Carey and her dad picked us up for more makan and shopping, before we flew back to Singapore. While I might have missed out the final opportunity to run the Penang Bridge (organiser said the 2013 run will be held using the new bridge), overall I had much fun. This was one of those no-stress type of overseas trip that I hope I could take more often in future. :)