Nagano Marathon Race Report

A short a trip to Japan but what a trip it was as I caught the Sakura season and there was a marathon too! Read about the race here.

Gear Reviews

All the reviews here...

Trans Nuang 2013

5 runners. 42km. 16 hours. Elevation gain 2,878 meters / 9,442 feet. All here.

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2014 Race Report

After a long long wait, I finally nailed it. Full story here...

 

Adidas adizero Ace 6 Review

I was on the lookout for possible footwear in the weeks leading to Starlight (race report here). because, believe it or not, I didn’t have a pair that met my criteria for a road ultra: lightweight (under 10oz), breathable, not over-engineered, perfect blend of responsiveness and cushioning (meaning, not ultra soft), medium-stacked, with just a hint of structure/support to carry me as I straggle like a zombie towards the finish. Oh boy, was I in for a surprise. Little did I realize that I am that hard to please when it comes to shoes!

The original plan for Starlight was to go with 2 pairs – the GRU Nite Owl for the first half before swapping it for the Kinvara 5 Runshield for the second leg – but I finally decided to keep things simple by going with a single-pair approach. The GRU wasn’t an option as in the lead up towards the race, it caused some blistering on the top of my 4th toe. I even contemplated cutting out a hole where that problematic overlay ran over. The last time this happened was when I wore a overly small GR3. I was puzzled that this cropped up in a correctly sized GRU. The crucial question was then, “Which pair should I go with?”. The Strada and the regular version of the Kinvara 5 weren’t available as well.

With a few days to D-Day and in desperation, I’d tried on the asics Excel 33, Electro 33, adidas Revenergy Boost (photo). I found the silky smooth Revenergy too heavy (felt like over 10oz for my size 10) to be carrying over 84K, while the 2 asics just didn’t feel quite right and a little too thin on the forefoot midsole. I also checked out the several Nikes but they also felt off.

Just when I was this close *holding up my thumb and index finger* to giving up, I chanced upon the adiZero Ace 6 (aZA6). The aZA6 weighs under 9oz for my US10, which makes it lighter than the GRU, DS Trainer 19, Revenergy Boost, Zoom Fly, Zoom Elite 7, Pegasus 31 and Launch. More importantly it felt just right in the store – not too snug in the midfoot, sports a roomy forefoot (a shocker since adidas typically runs narrow) and has a little toe spring. It also didn’t feel like one with a high offset, more like between 6-8mm.

Forefoot is wide with a medium to high toebox. Atypical of Adidas.

The removable sockliner is as thin as that found on the GOrun 3 but is overall slightly stiffer and contoured around the arch. And not as hard as Nike’s FitSole.

The upper of the aZA6 shares the same design philosophy as GR3 and GRR3 – simple, minimal overlays over just the necessary areas. Interestingly, there’s an area just behind the forefoot flexpoint that is a little stretchy allowing the foot to splay further. This small area is reminiscent of the Biomorphic Fit found on the DS Trainer 9. The entire upper of the aZA6 down to the laces, tongue, padding, heel counter, is likewise kept simple. In all the miles that I’ve covered in the shoe, I’ve found the ventilation to be excellent.

Midsole is typical adidas with the firmer adiPRENE®+ employed in the forefoot and regular adiPRENE in the heel for cushioning duties. Where the Boost midsole accords a smooth and cushy ride, the adiPRENE setup creates a more responsive ride. It has that snappy feel to it, though not to the extent of the GOspeed.

adiWEAR compound is known for its durability.

Darker colored material used are “sticky rubber”. Note the inscription on the outer edge of the forefoot.

adiWEAR material can be found in the high-wear areas while the lighter Quickstrike in the other areas of the outsole. Sticky rubber is well deployed on sections of the outsole and I’ve found the forefoot grip to be astonishingly good. I certainly felt very assured wherever I ran, even on wet surfaces. Exposed midsole foam are evident throughout the outsole too. There’s a tiny strip of TPU which I don’t think serves any purpose due to its size. If I had a say in the design, the strip wouldn’t have found its way into the shoe. Flexibility is, however, just average.

The Torsion strip is so small, why have it in the first place?

The ride? The aZA6 is somewhat similar to the Wave Rider 17 but definitely firmer than the Kinvara 5 and Boston Boost. While I wore them over 84K, alternating between running and walking, it’s definitely a shoe that’s more suited to faster-paced running. I’ve also found that I needed to lace up tighter in order for the shoe to lock down better. Although there were no blisters post-Starlight, my feet slid back and forth a fair bit especially on the descents.Lacing up tightly wasn’t an option at that time due to foot swelling encountered over the course of an ultra. The aZA6 would definitely be more comfortable tackling quicker-paced runs and marathons than slow burns.

All things considered, the Ace 6 would find itself in the company of traditional performance trainers such as the Kinvara 5, DS Trainer 19, Zoom Elite 9, Zoom Fly, 890 v4, Launch, Wave Rider 17, Wave Sayonara 2. At 9oz for the US10, the aZA6 is the lightest of those I mentioned above. However, if you prefer an even lighter, softer and way more flexible option, you won’t go wrong with the GOrun Ride 3 (8.7oz).

It needs to be mentioned here that I’ve never taken to adidas shoes, even as a shoe geek for 15 years. I’ve found their training shoes to be too narrow, too clunky and heavy while their racing shoes too hardcore (read: ultra minimalist, firm). Lately the company seemed to have made some good moves addressing the middle ground. I’m impressed with the Boost midsole material. Its durability (my Energy Boost has logged over 300K with the outsole showing hardly any wear and tear) and that of the adiWEAR outsole is excellent. Of course, durability without a ride that fits the wearer is pointless. The Ace 6 thankfully has that. It won’t make waves in the running circle because it’s an understated shoe. Added to that, it’s not easily available.

I’ve logged over 110K in the adiZero Ace 6 and the shoe is available from the adidas boutiques in 1Utama and Sunway Pyramid for RM360. Information is scant on the Ace 6 unfortunately, but head on to the brand’s UK site and you’ll be able to see it there.

Starlight Ultra Race Report

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”
― Sigmund Freud

One does not race an ultra. Not unless you’re an elite or someone who enjoys the pain and suffering. To the majority of runners out there, an ultra is to be experienced once just because. Some do it because their friends are doing it. Fewer do it as a penance and to seek something more spiritual out of the experience. Even fewer actually thrive on them. I fall somewhere between “for the experience” and “spiritual”.

To seek anything more than that on top of finishing the run injury-free is simply foolhardy. A week off GCAM14, a week down with flu and cough and 2 weeks left to Aug 23 really are not circumstances to be preparing for one. If you’ve been following developments, Starlight was rescheduled from May. Be it May or August, it sat in between marathons. Simply put, be careful in scheduling your ultras alongside your marathons. More so if you’ve gunning for a PR in your marathon. Ultras can be disruptive not only to a rocky marriage but also marathon training! Here, I’ll need to clarify that my personal (and I emphasize “personal”) qualification of an ultra is a 50-miler, 84K and above. 50Ks aren’t ultras in my books unless they’re of the bat-crazy Skyrunning variety where even a 10K distance is enough to crush the legs and soul.

Stubbed my toe on the way to Tesco for supplies.

That said, I’m glad that the whole ordeal is over last weekend. Unlike fellow runners’ (you know who you are) preparations of weekly diet of Genting Sempah, mine as explained earlier had been non-existent. Too late to chicken out, I found myself at the start with a small group of 150-200 runners, some of whom were in the relay or shorter categories, on a wet yet humid Penang night. My approach to this was really on a KISS approach – don’t overdress, don’t over-gear and just run/walk very easily right from the start.

Finish point at Straits Quay.

Prior to leaving our Marina Suites unit for the start.

I went with the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1 rather than the UDSJ pack because I didn’t want to over-strain the shoulders over the longest distance I’ve ever attempted. A single 500ml bottle on one side and the other water bottle pouch was freed up to carry other knick-knacks like food and miscellaneous stuff. Met many friends from Singapore, Penang and KL prior to the flag off from Straits Quay.

Met hardcore TPC on the way to check in my baggage.

Things were uneventful from the beginning with the highlight being walking the entire length of the crowded Gurney Drive. Aromas of Penang famed street and hawker food wafted through the night air, teased me to no end. The hawkers were literally just inches from me over the Weld Quay stretch. Oh to be in Penang, yet with no chance of savoring the delicacies! To rub salt to the wounds, I was subjecting myself to extreme discomfort!

First, let me give the thumbs up. Photo credit: JAC Photography, the official photographer.

OK Nick, now your turn! Photo credit: JAC Photography, the official photographer.

I reached CP1 in around 1.5 hours, sweaty but comfortable. Nick called out that he’ll be slowing down due to a buggy knee. From there on, I was pretty much running alone, at least as far as my friends are concerned. A handful of runners were around me but it was the start of a long journey battling my demons. The Jelutong stretch were familiar to me and those who had run the past editions of Bridge Marathon. A new experience would be the detour to a concrete pathway off the highway along the waterfront. Youths on motorcycles loitered the dark area, boys smoking, girls played coy with the boys – you get the idea. I was just glad to exit this dingy section.

Next up after CP2 located before Queensbay Mall, was the Bayan Lepas industrial area. Runners weaved through the factory complexes gradually moving away from the hustle and bustle of the city towards the outskirts of Georgetown. I wasn’t having such a ball even if my body conditions were good. The motivation was just not there. I was really on a “let’s just try to wing-it” mode. Ran past the junction leading to the haunted WWII War Museum and pitch dark stretch of road in Batu Maung. Dimly lit CP3 was at a petrol station and I spent a bit more time there. 4.5 hours had passed and the going wasn’t smooth. The mind just didn’t click with the body. The nice thing at CP3 was cold Coke. There wasn’t any bananas so I relied on my bar. Also mixed in the first sachet of the Hi5 4:1 carb-protein drink. Leong was already there. No signs of Piew, Yan Leng and MC who had stormed off much earlier. I called Nick on the phone thinking I’d wait up for him and he said he was about 2Ks away. I downed more Coke but after 10 minutes, I decided to get going.

The next section after Teluk Kumbar would be a tough climb but I found it very enjoyable. Perhaps the muscles were just too tired of the flats already and the glutes and quads were just raring to fire up. I passed a number of runners who left CP3 ahead of me and thoroughly enjoyed the climb. Air was very fresh after the rain and the sound of crickets and bull frogs’ mating calls reminded me of childhood days. An affable runner from Singapore savored the moment too and said he missed those days when Singapore wasn’t overdeveloped. I overtook more runners on the descent, running all the way down. I was mindful of not pounding my quads coming down and cleared the section quite easily.

Posted this then. Some effort needed to cast away the negative thoughts.

CP4 – halfway mark where many would be making their go/no-go decisions. For the life of me, I can’t remember for sure what my timing was now. I reckon it was between 6:10 to 6:15 because I was averaging between 1:20 to 1:30 for each 10K (didn’t turn my GPS on). I ate half a cup of corn in butter (took it easy with the corn because I didn’t want to take on too much fiber), half a cup of noodles and half a Clif bar. I didn’t see any fruits or bananas. Drank 3 cups of Coke and refilled my bottle and got back on the road. I didn’t want to linger too long for fear of unwanted negative thoughts creeping in. After all, if things go south for whatever reason, there’s always CP5 to make the call. So far the RELA marshals were doing excellent jobs. Intersections were manned and they patrolled the roads too. After passing the narrow streets of the town, we gradually found ourselves on along village roads. Other than an occasional dog, boredom and fighting the mental demons, the journey was uneventful. I wasn’t focused on anything specific in particular. Thoughts flowed in and out and there wasn’t anything that I could grasp or focus on. The roads were in equal parts well lit and dark, nothing a good headlamp can’t remedy.

Things started to get difficult after CP5. The soles were aching and lower back began tightening up. Sat down twice for a few minutes at bus stops along the way and was passed by 4 runners. Nice of them to ask if I was OK. A few minutes later, I was back on the road, trudging along and running short stretches. The early morning sky was breathtaking as the haze-free air revealed so many stars in the skies that you couldn’t count! It was such a treat, truly a moving and inspiring experience. We get so much light pollution from cities and metropolises these days, that to witness such sights were truly rare. At least not in KL. The lesson here was surely to keep one’s head up even when the going gets tough.

I struggled for a few more hours before arriving at the foot of the long and arduous but should I add, enjoyable climb up the highest point on the race course? It was already 5:30am and some senior folks were on their way down from the morning walk. The endless tight twists and turns were welcome respite from the long and boring straights. Again, it was over the climbs that I overtook those who have passed me. All the lunges that I’ve put in seemed to have paid dividends! Along the way, I ran past a few small and medium-sized waterfalls that dot the section including the famous Titi Kerawang Falls. Would’ve been nice to soak in the icy cold water!

When I arrived at CP6, the volunteers said that there were only around 30 runners behind me. I wasn’t sure how accurate that information was but that got me moving quickly enough once I got my water refilled. It was downhill all the way to the Teluk Bahang Dam but unfortunately I didn’t have the strength nor endurance to capitalize on that unlike earlier. Neither did I have any time to enjoy the stunning sights of the dam. The sun was up and the morning was getting hotter by the minute as more and more cyclists (Penang have a large cycling community and Penangites are canvassing for a bike lane) rode past me.

CP7 located right next to the Teluk Bahang was such a welcome sight. The RELA members warned that we should get going as the traffic was building up. I wasn’t going to waste anymore time anyway as I just wanted to get the whole thing done! If only I could move quicker than a sloth! 14 Km of the most hair-raising stretch of road I’ve ever ran laid between CP7 and the finish. It really was like this classic scene from Bowfinger, right down to the script. Yup, I was doubting myself. I was in boat loads of pain. My tank was empty. Hard wasn’t even an accurate word to describe it as the sun baked me good. Like Eddie Murphy’s character, I even thought of the remaining 14K as an errand. I just wanted coffee but I only stopped at a convenience store for a RM1 ice lolly. I had to fantasize that the bus drivers as professional stunt drivers too and just trust that I’d get through unscathed :) .

14K was actually 13K over-distanced for me at that point. I was busy exchanging texts with my wife – not that she was busy encouraging me to keep going but she was updating me on the critical condition of a family member in hospital. I kept that thought in mind whenever the pain came up and just jobbled (jogged+hobbled) towards the finish. When I crossed the line, I’d “only” taken 14 hours 15 minutes to cover the 84K, 45 minutes more than I’d projected when I hit CP6. If anyone asks me now the first feeling that struck me when the clock stopped for me, I’d say 1 word – RELIEF. For sure, completing this distance was pretty amazing. And I’m glad that I kept going and saw it through even when the urge to quit was so strong but I’m quite sure these traits are common amongst ultra runners. I had doubts that I could see it through with not a single mile of specific training put in. And that’s not because I don’t give it any respect. Race scheduling, marathon training and life just got in the way. It’s because I’ve too much respect for an ultra that Starlight will be the first and last time I’m committing to such things with no preparations. Now that I’ve done it, I can attest that with adequate preparation, 84K is not an impossible adventure to be undertaking. Physical conditioning over the months and years will certainly get you there. On the mental aspect, it depends on how you’re wired.

Other than extreme sleepiness and tight legs a day after the longest distance I’ve ever covered on foot, I’ve thankfully emerged unscathed. By rebuilding back the lost nutrients, I hope to resume marathon training between 7 to 10 days’ time. Huge props to Yan Leng (3rd placing in women vet category), Piew and Gan who totally ate up the roads of Penang. That’s what weeks of training at Genting Sempah will get you. Big congrats too to Nick who really stuck it out despite losing his way – he had all of us biting our nails waiting for him. And finally, Leong who recognized his limits will only get way better from his experience.

Positives:

  1. Volunteers were great along the course and back at the finish. I wasn’t in a rush for time, so I was served well and avoided the congestion of the fast group of runners at all the aid stations.
  2. Plenty of chilled drinks at all aid stations.
  3. Slow runners get their deserved welcome back at the finish.
  4. RELA members did a good job manning the junctions and traffic. I always felt safe with their patrols. They were friendly and supportive too.
  5. Supportive Penang folks along the way, even though they probably thought we were crazy.
  6. Southern and Western portions of the island provided the best experience in terms of scenery and environment.

Could be better:

  1. Though I see no solution except to exclude this stretch, the Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah road was dangerous. No other way to describe it.
  2. No portable toilets. Many bushes benefited from my contribution. I did my share giving back to nature.
  3. No 5K distance markers.
  4. Don’t recall seeing fruits at the CPs. Some bananas would be nice.
  5. Many roads in Penang are being upgraded. Runners and organizers should be wary of safety issues. To everyone’s credit, no untoward incidents happened during the event.
  6. Received the finisher tee for the 84K relay but it’s no big deal . I didn’t run this for the t-shirt :) .

After thoughts:

Taking on 2 marathons on zero ultra-specific training should not be attempted simply based on what I managed. I was physically hammered and the soles of my feet hurt so badly that I wanted to (but thankfully didn’t) lie down. Mentally I experienced the expected lows of wanting to quit but I recognized those symptoms (through plenty of reading, learning and listening from seasoned runners) and just cast those thoughts out. I ran and walked mostly in a blank state of mind and didn’t even listen to my specially compiled playlist on my iPod. The motivation to look beyond the pain only came after CP7 when my wife updated me on the condition of the family member (who had very sadly passed away).

What got me through uninjured? A few factors probably mattered. I’m listing them here to remind myself that I could’ve done better had I actually trained and optimally motivated. It’s also to caution anyone out there who thinks completing one without training is something that can be done. As everyone is wired differently, you could in fact do it better. Or much worse. So do make your own evaluation.

  1. I’m not a weight-challenged person. A heavier person would’ve pounded the pavement with much more impact than I did, more so in the later miles when the running form has deteriorated. More damage, more pain, higher chances of quitting.
  2. I didn’t carry any injuries going into Starlight.
  3. I adopted the run-walk routine right from the start, not when I was exhausted. I recognized my shortcomings and was on a conservative and self-preservation mode.
  4. When I ran, my pace was so slow that I think it hurt me more to have run that slow!
  5. The slow pace allowed me to burn fat instead of carbs. As a result, I truly bonked only around the 60K mark.
  6. I’ve had consistent monthly mileage since middle of last year. I was always in an “in-training” mode and have done a number of 50s since then.
  7. I’ve had strength training built into my program.
  8. While I was a newbie to ultra distance, I wasn’t a newbie in terms of “book knowledge”. Of course theory and practical execution should not be mixed, but I didn’t enter the event totally blind.

 

Returning To Laksa Island

Photo by Michael J. Lowe from Wikipedia under CC by SA2.5 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/

It’s been hard picking things up again after the last marathon. The general sense of lethargy isn’t helped by 2 bouts of cough and flu, short-lived yet enough to derail any form of consistent progress. The most recent incident was after the group run last Saturday. I started to hack like crazy along the drive back and before I had time to grab a bag or something, I vomited a disgusting glob of goo and some coffee into my palm. Body’s all achy now.

Such has been the frustration thus far – one step forward, two steps back. It’s a given that I’ll be put through the meat grinder this Saturday over a back-heavy course. I’m so dreading it. The gear’s all packed, iPod’s loaded up and barring a fever, I’ll be at the start line at 9pm. I’ve pretty much decided on my goals for 2015 but will only make a final call after Starlight. Let’s take one step at a time, shall we?

P/s. It’ll be nice if we have time to savor a serving or two of Penang’s Asam Laksa. And here’s the recipe should you want to give it a go. Nope, this blog isn’t about turn into a foodie one. Plenty of experts in that area :)

Kinvara 5 Runshield Review

There is arguably no other shoe that’s more identifiable (read: popular) to Saucony than the Kinvara. While Saucony, a company founded in 1898 and headquartered in Lexington, may have the Mirage, Virrata, A6 and Ride in its stable, it was the Kinvara that got runners excited when it debuted in 2010 to a handful of accolades. Kinvara is Saucony and Saucony is Kinvara in my books. Saucony is also one of the very few companies to only focus on the running segment. Hence you won’t find cross-training models made by these guys.

My past experience with the Kinvara was the v2 ViZiPRO (retired and donated), followed by Kinvara 3 (K3, also retired). I wasn’t that fond of the K3, mainly due to the very tapered forefoot. I skipped Kinvara 4 entirely but reviews generally covered its issues rather than how well they performed.

I was recently reacquainted with the series, the Kinvara 5 (K5), specifically the weather resistant version called the RunShield. Unlike the dreary colors of other weather resistant versions of other brands, the K5 RunShield comes in a catchy blue-gray colorway with silver reflective trims along with orange ViZiPRO logo. Do note that I don’t have the regular version of the K5 for comparisons but the 4mm drop platform, midsole material and outsole configuration are the same as the stock version. Only the upper sees the adoption of a FlexShell upper, a polyester fabric with weather resistant membrane.

Close-up of the weather resistant upper.

Lightweight FlexFilm welded overlays continue to be employed since the K3. This time, Saucony incorporates the ProLock lacing system to better lock in the midfoot. ProLock is similar (but not identical) to Brooks’ Nav Band, which I’m no fan of. The photo below shows how the ProLock integrates with the tongue and entire midfoot upper resulting in a snug fit around the middle. The internal sleeve reminds me of Salomon’s Endofit. I noticed that keeping the midfoot lacing a little loose works best for me. Inside, the K5 sports a RunDry lining for moisture management.

The 2 little padding on either side of the achilles in the K3 have been replaced with a thicker and plusher material, which I prefer.

The K3. The paddings are clearly seen on either side of the achilles.

The K5 with beefed up overall padding.

The K5′s midsole is made up of single density foam marketed as EVA+. There’s an embedded PowerGrid with the foam and the K5 sees an increased use of carbon rubber plugs. Even the outer lateral side is now more filled in resulting in more ground contact. It’s clear the designers wanted to make the shoe more durable while not going overboard with added bulk/weight. Still, the K5 has gained some weight over the K3 (see below), but do note that my K5 is half a size up than the older shoe. I’m unable to confirm but the use of weather resistant upper could’ve possibly contributed to the increase. It’ll be interesting to check out the stock version of the K5 measure up.

After 100K, the wear and tear has been pretty good with just minimal scruff marks.

The K5 (above) compared to the K3.

7.65oz for the US9.5 K3, 8.25oz for the US10 K5

Semi-rigid heel counter

The K3 has a more minimalist heel counter but not by much.

It may not be obvious but the K5 is quite flexible.

My wear experience has been great, right from the get-go. My feet instantly feel secure when I slide them into the shoes even without tightening the laces. The ProLock definitely lends a snug fit around the midfoot area. The added bit of padding on the tongue and around the collar gave it a noticeably comfortable feel unlike the thinner and stiffer setup of the K3. Given the Runshield is a weather resistant version, I had concerns that I would wind up with soggy shoes from all that sweating after every run. Thankfully, I’m glad to report that such fears proved unfounded despite the current heatwave. Sweaty feet were largely a non-issue. Runners who leave pools of sweat on the ground *urgh* are best advised to stick to regular versions though :) .

It’s been ages since KL saw a downpour and I’ve not stop casting my eyes at the skies for any hints of rain clouds. When that happens, the Runshield will finally get to play in the rain. Oooh, I miss those days!

I’ve since put in 97km in the K5 RunShield and I like it a lot. Even more so when it’s my marathon PR shoe :) . Unlike the firm K3, the K5 provides a smoother, more forgiving ride, very welcome in the late stages of a marathon. So far, the durability has been outstanding, with negligible wear and tear. The K5 is a tad soft for trackwork – for that I rely on the GOSpeed 2 or Hitogami – but works very well on the road and gravel. With the 5, the Kinvara is definitely back and is a solid choice for anyone seeking a high mileage lightweight trainer/racer.

Disclosure: The Saucony Kinvara 5 RunShield is a sample pair provided courtesy of RSH (M) Sdn Bhd. It is expected to be available, along with the regular versions of the Kinvara 5 and Ride 7, from Running Lab, Stadium and RSH outlets in September 2014.

Press Release: Da Nang International Marathon 2014

 

31th AUGUST, 2014 – DA NANG CITY, VIETNAM

Da Nang International Marathon 2014 powered by La Vie has officially become the 97th member of AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races). The race is operated for the second time on 31st August 2014 at Da Nang city, expecting more than 4.200 international and local runners to join in.

Da Nang International Marathon (DNIM) is the first professional marathon conducted in Vietnam, with the course certified by IAAF – AIMS (International Association of Athletics Federations – Association of International Marathon and Distances Races) to international standards with official timing record. The race includes 3 distances: Marathon 42.195 km; Half Marathon 21.097 km and 5 km Fun Run.

Runners’ records will be measured by touch system, a chip is installed behind runner’s number. This record is recognized by international competitions and runners can use this record to participate in well-know and other competitions all over the world.

In 2013, the race received a strong response of 4.000 athletes from 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam and nearly 30 countries around the world. Harvesting from the success of the first Marathon season, this year, Da Nang International Marathon will be organized with larger range, more professional quality and level, promising to bring a strong, wide and deep integration for Vietnam’s sports. It would also be the first step for Vietnamese athletes to participate in international tournaments worldwide.

For the 2nd season, Da Nang International Marathon has officially become the 97th member of AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Distance Races). It will be listed in international marathon list of AIMS and be informed to every association’s members.

Not being just a race, DNIM is a great opportunity for all runners to experience the most beautiful and exotic beach city of Vietnam by running on a magnificent marathon course in South East Asia. Besides the race day, there are many activities such as tour package, sports expo and gala dinner for runners to enjoy and explore the city and other tourist destinations located nearby.

Organized by Da Nang People’s Committee co-operated with World Marathon Tours and Pulse Active, through the competition, the Board of Organizers will raise fund from runners and their families and other participants to support for the Da Nang Cancer Hospital Fund.

REGISTRATION FEE:

Full Marathon: 110 USD
Half – Marathon: 90 USD
5K Fun Run: 30 USD

Register at http://rundanang.com/

Or directly at:

  • HCM City: Pulse Active, 8th floor, 47 – 51 Phung Khac Khoan, D.1
  • Danang City: Indosun 201/4 Phan Châu Trinh.

=========END=========

Editor’s note:

Frankly, I was briefly tempted by DNIM. It has a very scenic course through the quaint township and looking at the course map, the runners will be running by the coast line. It’s a 2-loop course with a 7-hour cutoff for the marathon. Air Asia tickets are still available (direct flight to Da Nang, negating the need to travel from Hanoi/HCM City) for under RM600 return. Then some commonsense returned. With DNIM happening just a week after Starlight 84, who was I kidding? Another one to file away for 2015 then.

 

Press Release: World’s Best Face Off At The Westin Chongqing Vertical Run


Chongqing, China, 24 July 2014 – The world’s best vertical runners will be hitting the stairs of The Westin Chongqing Liberation Square on Saturday, 13 September 2014, where hundreds of participants have registered to conquer Chongqing’s tallest skyscraper.

Organised by Sporting Republic, The Westin Chongqing Vertical Run has been selected as Exhibition Race for the 2014 Vertical World Circuit (VWC), the world’s premier skyscraper racing circuit, uniting some of the world’s most iconic skyscraper races, including the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City. Contenders will line up at the starting line of The Westin Chongqing Liberation Square and dash up the 245 meters to the helipad finish line making it one of the highest races in Chongqing.

Heading the elite race is “the king of stair climbing” Thomas Dold of Germany. Dold is a seven-time winner of the prestigious Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City.

“The participation of such a high profile runner ensures that we are on track with our plans in growing the race into a premier running event not just in China but also internationally,” said David Shin of event organisers Sporting Republic.

“It is the 1st time Chongqing has become part of the Vertical World Circuit. We are looking forward to celebrating that, and I am sure the elite field will put on a great show for everyone in Chongqing and show what top-end vertical running is all about.”

Runners will be flagged off in waves of between 10 to 15 people, commencing in the afternoon. Men and women of all fitness levels are encouraged to enter in what is to be expected as a fun and energetic event.

Registration closes on 22 August 2014 with a participation fee of RMB 100 per person.

Official Website: www.cqwestinrun.com
Vertical World Circuit: www.verticalrunning.org
Thomas Dold: www.thomasdold.com

About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services – like the Heavenly Bed®, delicious SuperFoodsRx® and WestinWORKOUT® studio – have been designed with the guests’ well-being in mind. Westin hotels, with more than 190 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with nearly 1,200 properties in 100 countries and 181,400 employees at its owned and managed properties.  Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands:  St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element®.  The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates.  Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands.  For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

About The Westin Chongqing Liberation Square
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. flagship hotel in the south-west of China and also the highest landmark in the beautiful hilly city Chongqing, The Westin Chongqing Liberation ideally positioned in the central business district of Jiefangbei, the hotel is nestled in the bustling downtown district yet offering ease access to the city’s attractions. 336 thoughtfully designed, luxurious guest rooms and suites located from 34 to 54 floors make you overlook the Yangtze River and urban view of the city, feature restaurants, business as well as leisure facilities which will let you create your personal renewing experience.

Media Contact
Erica Gao, +852 2116 1636
E-mail: erica@sportingrepublic.com
Sporting Republic: http://www.sportingrepublic.com

Press Release: Energizer Malaysia announces EPIC Homes as partner for “Light Up the Dark” initiative

Kuala Lumpur, 22 July 2014 – Energizer Malaysia is pleased to announce EPIC Homes as its CSR partner of “Light Up the Dark” initiative for this year’s edition of the Energizer Night Race. EPIC Homes is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide sustainable homes for the underprivileged communities. Under the partnership, Energizer Malaysia hopes to raise RM180,000 in funding and lighting support to build up homes for Orang Asli in rural Peninsular Malaysia.

“The Positivenergy created by runners and supporters of Energizer Malaysia enables us to create change that matters. The Energizer Night Race is not only a race to promote healthy lifestyle but to gather and empower runners in making a positive impact to the society that we live in – together we race for a brighter world, “said Mike Foong, Managing Director of Energizer Malaysia and Singapore.

John-Son Oei, CEO of EPIC Homes, “EPIC Homes is honored to be part of the Malaysia’s largest night race and work with a passionate brand like Energizer – its Positivenergy philosophy is truly inspiring and infectious. With Energizer’s generous contributions and quality lighting products, together we literally are brightening lives to ‘Light Up the Dark’, a meaningful initiative that is closely related to what we have been doing for the underprivileged Orang Asli communities”.
Energizer Night Race 2014 which will flag off on August 9 at Dataran Merdeka is now the largest night race in Malaysia following the close of its registrations with 15,000 runners just three weeks after its launch.

To date, Energizer has collected RM100,000 from the participants’ registration fees and contributions made by its wholesalers and partners. The funds would be further raised from Energizer sale proceeds at all AEON & AEON BIG retail stores, GIANT stores, TESCO Stores and MYDIN stores from 1st August until 30th September 2014. For every pack of the Energizer Batteries, Lightings & Specialty products sold, RM 0.20 from the sales will go towards the initiative. On top of sale proceeds, Energizer Malaysia will be supplying household lighting products to the Orang Asli for their everyday use.

Participants and supporters can support the initiative by contributing in cash or in kind – purchase and donate any Energizer battery pack and lighting product – at the Energizer Night Race 2014 race site. The EPIC team will be there to meet and greet visitors and cheer on the runners as they complete Malaysia’s largest night race. To date, the social enterprise has built 24 homes in Malaysia and targets to ensure that every Orang Asli has a safe home in 5 years.

The Energizer team will not only provide funding and products but will sweat it out and join in the construction.

“We are looking forward to building homes with the EPIC team after our night race and realizing the cause with a lucky supporter or contributor. Do stay tuned to our website and Facebook for upcoming news and information,” Foong added.

For latest updates, public can visit Energizer Malaysia official website at energizer.com.my/nightrace/ or Facebook page www.facebook.com/EnergizerMY .

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