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...


Returning To Laksa Island

Photo by Michael J. Lowe from Wikipedia under CC by SA2.5

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



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.


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

Register at

Or directly at:

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


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:
Vertical World Circuit:
Thomas Dold:

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

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
Sporting Republic:

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 or Facebook page .

Prepping For The Next Challenge

It’s been 2 weeks after the highs of GCAM14 [race report] and things have pretty much returned back to routine. Admittedly there’s been some post-marathon blues which isn’t surprising at all. Running-wise, the challenge so far has been to get back to maintaining fitness and getting into some semblance of readiness for the August 23rd Starlight84.

The problem is, my body has yet to recover fully from GCAM. I’ve so far done a smattering of short midweek runs and 3 10-milers. Other than the first two of the 10-milers, those workouts haven’t been easy. The legs are fine and raring to go but the “engine” seemed to be stuck in 2nd, like a misfiring gearbox.

Well I certainly won’t fight the need for more rest and take things easy, effort-wise. Instead, I’m going to be focusing on a plan that complements the base work already put away for much of the year. For the next 4 weeks, the activities will comprise of weekday maintenance miles, plenty of core exercises and strength workouts focusing on the legs. With no races of late, the GC Gang has been training hard with almost weekly 30Ks over the Genting Sempah route. It’s a given that I’ll be smoked by these folks.

2 Back-to-Backs (B2Bs) have been plotted, starting with the first set this coming weekend. The Starlight cutoff is 16 hours, which on paper will give me enough time to go around the Penang island. Nevertheless I can’t help feeling anxious as this would be the longest ever distance I’d be covering, with the final 29K going up and down the Balik Pulau-Teluk Bahang stretch. It’s a back-heavy course and the dragonback kind of terrain will almost certainly thrash the quads/hams/calves and ultimately, sanity. Many ultrarunning websites advocate embracing the pain that’s sure to come instead of fighting it. For the life of me, I don’t know what the heck that means but I guess I’d be undergoing on-the-job training pretty soon :D .

One part of me is looking forward to linking up with the gang yet I’m wetting my compression shorts just thinking about the race. Only time, specifically 16 hours after 9pm August 23rd, will tell how I’ll emerge.

Press Release: The Marathon Shop Presents The Volkswagen Marathon Series 2014

The Volkswagen Marathon Series 2014
Two marathons scheduled to bring the best on-road experience Malaysia has to offer
Kuala Lumpur, 3rd July 2014 – In an effort to bring an extraordinary experience to the running community, The Marathon Shop today announced its collaboration with Volkswagen for The Volkswagen Marathon Series 2014 – which is set to be Malaysia’s first and only boutique on-road Full Marathon without any trails involved.
With two marathons scheduled for this year’s series, the event is set to bring the participants around Malaysia’s most spectacular sights. The first marathon titled ‘The Island Ocean Marathon’ is scheduled for 10th August at the Resort World Langkawi, Tanjung Malai followed by ‘The River Jungle Marathon’ on 7th September 2014.

The uniquely designed medals of the 2 marathons

When joined, the 2 becomes a one-of-kind medal

“We have two very unique marathons coming up over the next few months, one being on one of Malaysia’s most exotic island and the other amidst the lush greenery of Ulu Langat in Kajang which is nearer to the city giving participants the convenience of being not too far off from town to participate in this event,” said Marble Tan, Event Manager of The Marathon Shop.
The Volkswagen Marathon Series 2014 will allow the participants to see the beauty of Malaysia on foot without the need to leave the road. Participants of all walks are welcome, from serious runners to amateur runners from both local and international grounds.

Sponsors and organizing team at the launch of the VW Marathon Series.

“The series combines Malaysia’s sporting events and tourist destinations together, and everyone can join because this is open to all participants from Boston pace runners to beginners! This event has no cut off time and there is not competitive element built in, so all the participants can enjoy the running experience Malaysia has to offer,” continued Marble.
As advocates of running as a lifestyle, The Marathon Shop is anticipated to have over 1,500 participants for each marathon. Runners are welcome to register and find out more information on both marathons at
About The Marathon Shop
The Marathon Shop is a collection of individuals bound by a common thread: the love of all things that promote a positive, healthy lifestyle. Running is definitely in our nature where we stand by the motto “Just Keep Running.” We believe that the act of movement – walking, jogging, running; any activity in which the human body is the vehicle – is a FUNDAMENTAL element of personal well-being. We believe you should be able to do these things in comfort and injury-free. This is why, throughout years of improvement, we have been committed to making sure the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is as easy as it sounds by creating our own Running Specialist Shop for the runners and the community. We are here to create a “Runnovation” in Malaysia.
Issued by Streething Sdn Bhd on behalf of The Marathon Shop.
For more information kindly contact:
Marble Tan
The Marathon Shop Sdn Bhd
T: 03 7887 8998
M: 012 737 2011
Charlene Ng
Streething Sdn Bhd
M: 019 2436 126
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