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

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Trans Nuang 2013

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

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

 

Tag Archives: New York

The Dear Just Got Dearer

It was back in 2008 when I paid around RM700 for my NYC Marathon in 2008. It was and will quite possibly remain the most expensive race fees that I’ll ever pay to run 26.2  miles. I had plenty of reasons to run NYC, from it being a longtime dream since my school days to the fact that it’s a Tier-1 race. To cut the story short, my wallet got scorched, I ran a PR and had an unbeatable time there. Bottom line, it was worth it.

Fast forward to 2012, a mere 4 years later, the entry fees for the same marathon has risen to USD347 (RM1,110) from the USD281 (RM900) in 2011. You can read about the reasons behind the increase from the NY Times website

According to the report, close to 17,500 have entered the lottery applications within the first five hours – certainly a strong number despite the hike but I’d be interested to know how many of those are Malaysians who are disadvantaged whenever it comes down to the currency exchange rate. And you’ve to have some pretty darn strong motivation/reason to want to fork that amount out, and if you’re one of those, I wish you the best of luck in the lottery.

Though not as expensive as the entries to the Ironman triathlons or other exotic adventure races, the NYC Marathon now has to be the most expensive road marathon in the world. If you know of a more expensive road race, please shout out in the comments below.

Money, Money, Money

Firstly congratulations are in order for those who were accepted into the 2011 NYC Marathon. It’s a wonderful city to visit and run. It did seem that of the few I know who applied, all were accepted, which is a high number. I believe Malaysians will do well in the race, even though it’s one that’s widely known as a challenging course. If you can stay warm, the cold will be less of a discomfort and you’ll be able to focus on the race and at the same time soak in the atmosphere. That will be what I’ll do if I return one day, before my travel Visa expires.

Those running the 2011 race can count themselves lucky as it will be almost certain that the already high race fees (I paid over RM700 in 2008!) will be further raised in 2012 as a direct result of NYPD’s chargeback of the traffic control costs to the New York Road Runners (NYRR). London’s race fees of 65 pounds are lower than that of NYC’s.

On a related note, the NYRR have released some numbers related to the economic impact the marathon brings to the city. According to the NY Times, “The New York City Marathon produces about $340 million in economic activity for the city, 25 percent more than it did in 2006.” It added that “half the runners come from overseas, and they tend to stay longer in the city, spend more money here and bring more family and friends with them.” Read the NY Times article here.

Runners in Malaysia already know that sports tourism is a big thing and largely unrealized revenue generator. Only in Malaysia will you see an organizer lose the rights to a world-class event such as the Ironman. And only in Malaysia will you get government ministries which continuously choose to ignore the potential sports, specifically running, can bring to the country’s coffers. A totally different story can be observed just down in Singapore – countless number of races, many of which are niched from night marathons, ultras to women-only races, to attract the crowd.

If the powers-that-be won’t recognize the potential of sports tourism, it’s then up to passionate and seasoned organizers to take up the challenge. Will we be seeing more niched races at exotic spots in the country? I hope so. I’m already sold on the River Jungle Marathon and Pacesetters 15K Trail Run in Kuantan. You see, not all races are run for timing. There are events that many of us participate in just to smell the roses :) .

To those racing the Borneo Marathon this weekend, good luck and have a great race!

Goodbye To A Legend: Grete Waitz

Waitz immortalized on the 2008 NYC Marathon medal

Waitz immortalized on the 2008 NYC Marathon medal

The inscription says it all.

The inscription says it all.

While munching on my late late dinner last night, I read a tweet from the RunnersWorld (@runnersworld) magazine about the passing of Grete Waitz after a long battle with cancer. She was only 57. A middle distance star, she was brought in as a pacesetter for the 1978 NYC Marathon. The school teacher from Oslo found the going hard and famously declared  “Never again!” but she dug in and won the race, first of her 9 and a few world records along the way.

I’ve not had time to search out more tributes, which I’m sure there are many, other than the ones below. More than any images I’ve seen of Waitz, the most endearing to me is still the one of her, clearly emotional, holding the hands of the cancer stricken Fred Lebow as they crossed the finish line of the 1992 NYC Marathon. The poignant moment is one of the NYC Marathon’s Great Moments and you can watch the video here.

The first thing I did after my dinner and shower was to take out my 2008 finisher’s medal, the subject of the 2 photos above.

RIP Grete. You will always continue to be an inspiration to many of us.

Good read: Amby Burfoot’s tribute to the 9-time NYC Marathon champion. | Feature by NPR (with many photos) |

New York State Of Mind

It’s the ING NYC Marathon this Sunday and I’ll be glued to my iPhone following the progress of the race. You got that right, my iPhone. In case you didn’t know, there’s an app for the marathon which provides live video feeds, photos, leaderboard and more. I know two of my friends, Shanaz and Frank Collela, will be running the race as well. Head on to the broadcast schedule page for more information. Those with Astro subscription should be able to watch it live on sat TV.

The event doesn’t end on Sunday because on Monday, a host of activities, including shopping (!), are available for participants. This year there’s a great offer from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for marathoners too. I didn’t have time to check the retired aircraft carrier turned museum out and if I return to the city, this is one place I definitely will go. And if you want to try out your luck for the 2011 race lottery, you can submit your entry on Monday too. Do it here. Then be sure to check out all the facts of the NYC Marathon, my experiences and preparation leading up to the race and how I went about applying for the race and travel Visa here. It’ll save you lots of time.

Personally it’s a race to do at least once in your lifetime. You can also read about my 2008 race experiences here. Also check out some photos I took from my visit to the Big Apple.

1,000th Post!

Whoa! It’s unbelievable that I’ve hit this milestone. Can’t believe that I’ve that much to write.

I started this blogging thing back – waaay back – in 2003 the year Carbokid 1 was born. Of course at that time, there was no such thing as “blogging”, no WordPress, no Blogger. jamiepang.com was known as Jamie’s Loft then and it was built purely of html. The site was about providing running tips, some gleaned from personal experiences, some from what I’ve read in magazines and other online resources.

A couple of years on, blogging sites started to gain popularity. Seeing that I could save on hosting fees while simplifying the posting process, I hopped onto Blogger’s content management platform. Hence http://carboman.blogspot.com was born. My 2nd blog http://roadtonycm.blogspot.com was setup in July 2007 starting with this debut post to document my application and preparation for the ING NYC Marathon. I put in plenty of effort compiling content for this blog, scanning past running magazines that featured the NYC Marathon, sharing with readers the reason why New York holds so much mystique for me and my deep desire to run it. I also shared the dates to watch as well as the race and Visa application process. Information on places to stay, my planned itinerary and budgeting were also posted. And for that I consider my NYCM blog the best of the lot, and I hope that readers who wish to run New York one day will find the info collated beneficial.

When my interests in photography kicked in sometime mid 2009 http://carboman-ttl.blogspot.com came into the picture. Things started to get rather complicated for me since I then found myself managing 4 separate sites – Carboman, TTL, Roadtonycm and RunnersMalaysia‘s – and I was going crazy juggling with all that maintenances.

There has to be a simpler way to manage all these content. I settled with the return to the hosted option riding on the WordPress platform, and bought back my domain name in 2009. Next was the tedious exercise of migrating the content from the 2 Blogger sites the best I could. WordPress allows the user to automatically pull content from Blogger but one still has to re-tag and categorize each of the posts. Another downside was not all of the images were successfully migrated hence the broken links found in some of my legacy posts.

I got a bit nostalgic reading back the old race reports. There were friends who are no longer in the running scene and I do miss those days when the lot of us would cruise at speed around our favourite training grounds.

Now that I’m posting my 1,000th, I’ve to ask myself why do I continue to write. Simply because there are friends who care to visit this blog, and thus presenting me with the opportunity to share with them my experiences and passion for running. And in photography, my own attempts at learning this craft. I can say for sure that I’m learning as much, if not more, from photography blogs than books. The power of blogging and other social media tools cannot be underestimated. There are plenty of giving and receiving out there. I’m just doing my part.

So to you who’ve left the 1,430 comments, my sincere thanks. To you who visit but are quiet observers (like my boss) I consider you friends too and I hope you’ve gained some tips I’ve shared and learnt some new things (like how not to write!). To those who surprise me by telling me they read this blog, thank you. To my friends near and far that I’ve had the fortune of meeting, thank you.

To all of you, thank you for being followers of my inane ramblings and rants. I don’t know how you manage it because I cringe when I read back some of my old posts.

Let me now open the bottle of Hoegaarden to celebrate. Cheers!

Inspiration Finds Me

Everyone needs a little pick-me-up. Everyday of the year. If you can’t find inspiration, it will sometimes find you. My year has been spent languishing in the doldrums. I was downright angry and bitter with what work took away from what I’ve enjoyed, and it didn’t seem fair.

While I don’t have anything to prove in my running – those days were over when I proved my father wrong in completing the Penang Bridge Half Marathon umpteen years ago – I do want to continue challenging myself. Can I extend myself a little longer, a little faster? That’s the unfinished business end of my running. And it’s always good to have the spectre of unfinished business hanging over your shoulder because it keeps you going during the lean times. For me anyway. I’m that type who needs challenges to keep me going. The day I no longer have the fire in me will be the day I’ll find it hard to stay the course.

It’s difficult not to be stirred watching the 40th running of the New York City Marathon late last night. The sight of the elites, some floating efficiently, some not but all super fast, always thrills. What ramped up the excitement factor were the familiar sights of the race route and the cheers of the spectators. The long stretch of Brooklyn’s 4th Avenue where I was cheered on, the nonchalant Hasidic Jews crossing the road in Williamsburg (the men’s lead pack nearly ran into one!), the climb up the Pulaski Bridge at the halfway mark and exiting the Queensborough Bridge into the roar of the 1st Avenue. The painful slog up the 1st Avenue and into The Bronx. And the finish.

Then there were the performance of the “seniors” who rolled back the years – Meb who made 2009 his year, the annual trademark crazy surge by Ramaala up the 1st Avenue in response to the screams of the crowd, the number of mothers (4 apparently! Champ Derartu Tulu is a 37 year old mother of two) in the women’s lead pack of 5. They all debunked the myth that you get slower with age. Plus the celebrities and VIPs, Ed Norton (3:48.01), Anthony Edwards (4:08.20 missing his sub-4 target), Alanis Morissette (4:28.45, hopefully with less angst than apparent in her songs!) and George Hirsch, 75, former publisher of the RW magazine (an amazing 4:06.14 finishing alongside longtime friends and fellow running luminaries Amby Burfoot and Bill Rodgers).

The cap it all off, I checked out the typically inspiring New York Times feature called Marathon Voices and the NY Times’ photo coverage of the event begs to be checked out. Splendid photos and amazing stories. ER’s Anthony Edwards who was joined by Tegla Loroupe in yesterday’s race, Team Hoyt, Major Phil Packer were interviewed in Marathon Voices. But the best stories of all are told by normal and unassuming everyday people like you and I, everyone as uplifting as the one before. If all those don’t get you out of the door, I don’t what will.

Anyway, here’s what I learn from the feature. All good advice to share.

  1. Running must be fun.
  2. Running need not be just a time away from routine, make it an exploration.
  3. You need not be an athlete before you start becoming a runner.
  4. Everyone who crosses the finish line are as happy as the winner.
  5. Be great at what you’re good at.
  6. Take one day at a time.
  7. Inspiration is everywhere.
  8. It’s never too late and one is never too old to start.
  9. Our health is our responsibility, we owe it to ourselves to take our health seriously.

Some reports to watch out for from fellow runners, friends, blogger – MarciFrank | Alex Gonzalez (sub 4 PR!) | Dogpound (who didn’t run but volunteered).

All these make me feel like I haven’t fought hard enough to regain the lost and important part of me. That will all change.

Determined

Determined

The 2010 NYC Marathon

Signboard along Central Park South. Somethings going on this Sunday!

Signboard along Central Park South. Something's going on this Sunday!

In a radical move, the NYRR is opening the 2010 registration 3 months ahead of the traditional February. So a day after this year’s race, aspirants can begin to submit their registration online [link here].

The NYCM is the last race of the year in the World Marathon Majors and I believe that even without the marathon, NYC in Fall certainly warrants a visit at least once in your life. And to be in the city on marathon weekend is a runner’s wet dream come true. Everywhere you go, you see runners on the pavements and parks,  and promo banners on every conceivable places – buses, digital billboards, lamp posts.

The marathon mood is in the air

Entourage from France

Entourage from France

The International Friendship Run

I don’t want to repeat myself, so to read my 2008 race report, preparations and juicy bits and history about this prestigious race, simply click this link.

This year’s race will once again be broadcasted live online this Sunday. Check out the details here.

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