Monday, September 24, 2012

Craze Ultra 101km - Here's To The Crazy Ones

Ok before I start, let me put two things out of the way.

1. I did not do 101km, I only did 30km
2. This is by far the most fun run I've ever taken part in!

Alright...where was I? Yes.

So a few days before this, I was informed that Edmund was taking part in the upcoming Craze Ultra 101km marathon that happened last Saturday. I knew he was preparing for this, but I didn't know it was that soon!

I had previously wanted to take part in 60km with Edmund which was in celebration of his 60th birthday. It was also an opportunity for him to practice his long distance running for this particular event. However, as I had pacer training for AHM, I had to give it a miss. This time however, the opportunity was there, and I had to take it, so on Saturday morning, I headed down to meet up with the rest for what was possibly one heck of an adventure.

At 6:45am, you could see a lot of runners up at this time, hanging out at the area getting ready for their crazy ultra. Familiar faces like Angelina, Mike Quek, Kartono, Fia, Jennifer, Doris, Jasmine Tay, and more were seen scattered throughout the open area.

Edmund was easy to spot, he seemed to have one of the largest group hanging around him. In fact, runners who were familiar with him were going up to wish him the best, and commented "Wow you brought your entire party with you!"

Edmund indeed had one of the larget contingent following him. With more friends keeping him company throughout the run than other runners who mostly found themselves alone or in pairs. At any point in time, Edmund would have at least 8-10 people  by his side!

My initial goal was to hit 42km with the guys, by then it would have been 1-2pm, good enough for me to head home, shower, and meet babe to collect her iPhone at MBS.

The run started off pretty smoothly. At a pace of 8min/km, we weren't doing anything really fast. The pace was very manageable and the air was pretty cooling though hazy that morning.

The first checkpoint was 12km away, it wasn't far, but at that pace, it took us quite awhile to reach. Everyone were still in good spirits then, as you can see from the faces of Mohan and Jennifer, as well as Edmund who as usual was cheery throughout.

To help facilitate the race and ensure the safety of the runners, racers had to check in and out of checkpoints to the marshals to know who hasn't passed a certain area. Runners officially taking part had to weigh themselves before the run and after to see if anyone had fallen into the danger zone after the run.

You can see from the picture above that at any one time, Edmund probably had a whole gang following the end of the race, he had counted up to 40 people joining in or falling out of his group throughout the run, talk about a social gathering!

Almost everyone had some form of hydration to facilitate their run. With a race like this, hydration is key and though we didn't feel thirsty, we kept "force feeding" throughout to ensure we don't fall into a dehydrated stage. I noted from Edmund that later in the run, Kee Wee found himself lacking hydration in his pack twice, and that a lot of the runners had to stop at unofficial places such as petrol kiosks, toilets, etc, to water up cause it was essential especially when the heat came later in the day.

By the time we reached the 2nd checkpoint, hunger started to come in, and food came in the form of fruits and potato chips that was provided at the checkpoint. Hammer also sponsored hydration, and runners who had submitted their ziplock bags containing food items at different checkpoints could head over to the booth to collect and eat them.

Support also came in the form of people in the whatsapp chat group who were supporting Edmund's run. Many were keeping tabs to see which checkpoint Edmund had reached, and were on standby at their locations waiting for the contingent to run pass before they joined in. Runners that joined in during my leg of the run included Jack, Adrian, Jasmine, and Eunice.

So far everything was going smoothly until the sun came in at about 11am. By that time, it was about 25km and the heat began to strike pretty hard. I was fine for the most part but at 27km in, I felt the flu creeping in. I thought it was over since Tuesday but my guess was the lack of hydration + heat meant that it was coming back again. I decided that it wasn't worth my health, and dropped out at 30km mark. I hadn't hit my desired 42km but was still happy with my results.

Even then, as I left, the messages on whatsapp kept going. You could get "live updates" via the chat group as to where the guys were.

At one point in the race, Edmund decided he didn't want to continue at his 8:30 pace, and paced down in favor of hanging out with the runners who joined him throughout the run.

The pictures on whatsapp slowly streamed in too, you could see how fun the rest of the runners were having! I did feel a bit sian for not being able to last the next 12km, but I did convince myself that since I had to break off to meet with Xinn, the additional 12km wasn't a big deal, I could conquer it another day when I'm feeling better.

By about 3:30am, the 101km was done, I think the decision to finish by 8pm was over estimated!!! Haha. =P Still, you can tell by the look on Edmund's face that he had a lot of fun during the run, finishing alone was an accomplishment, as noted by the organizers, he was still the top 10 who had actually finished the race when everyone else fell ten! Amazing.

On top of that, runners such as Eve, Jasmine Tay, Kee Wee, who were not competitors themselves, had also accomplished 101km! Others such as Eunice made it to the 39km mark before she had to head home, while a younger Jasmine Chan who's never run a marathon at 10km before, finished the run at 70-80km! Goodness!

After the run, you could see the reflections come in on Facebook, many really enjoyed the run a lot, it was indeed an experience never to forget for many, and I'm glad to have been part of it.

I am really humbled by this experience. It wasn't about finishing the race, it was about the bond that was created during the race itself that pushed them forward to eventually reach their end game as a team. I may not have finished the run, but with a run as fun as this, I am considering the idea of doing it again. Here's to the crazy ones.

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