Kuala Lumpur & the Malaysia Women Half Marathon 2015

24 Mar

Running has become an important part of my life as of late. Many people have pointed out the oddity of taking up running only after moving to a shockingly hot and humid country. I credit my friend Bridget with encouraging us and organizing us into a running posse. Since this blog is a reflection of our Thai life, you get lots of posts about running. Here’s another one. 🙂

IMG_0856A few weeks ago, Colby, Caroline, Orestes, and I traveled to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to participate in the 3rd Annual Malaysia Women Half Marathon (O came to visit, not to run hehe). Our friends Amy and Derek, who started at RIS the same year at us, now live in KL, and Karli joined us from Singapore. The five of us ladies got to spend a little time exploring, and a lot of time running, while Orestes and Derek had male bonding time. Running an all-female race in a muslim country was an interesting experience. Sunday also happened to be International Women’s Day. The official race website is a fascinating mix of encouraging statements supporting women’s athletics, and inadvertently sexist phrases that would scandalize a western feminist. (For the full read, click here) My favorite portion of the race description is this:

…for this year,  we go into a  pure ladies’ run. From the past two years experience, we are now more assured that women can run on their own for the longer distance without a male pacer. So here we are ladies! We are ready to leave the guys by the sideline to cheer and support us. We have each other and to motivate on another. However, if you still wish to have a personal male pacer. Write to us at…11026455_944249793803_2085540616_n

Yes. For $15 or so, you could pay to have a man run with you in the full marathon and pace you. There were also official pacers for both the half and full marathons, wearing pink skirts (to support women?) and giant colored balloons with their set pace time floating above them. Before and during the race, the two male announcers continued the trend of making supporting/ridiculous statements. One such gem? “We know you ladies get excited when you cross the finish line, but don’t get so excited you forget to drink water, otherwise you won’t feel well in an hour or two. Try a coconut shake!” The race description concludes with: The jewel is within us! So let us ladies let us Stand up and Shine! Let’s try to finish the race on our own. Done and done.

The other entertaining part of the race was our ensembles. Bridget discovered Sparkle Athletic, a company that specializes in blinged out sporting apparel. All of us ordered sequined running skirts and sported them for the half. I am convinced they made us run faster, since we all clocked awesome finishing times. Caroline finished in less than 2 hours, Amy completed her first half ever, and Karli kicked butt. Colby and I both improved the times from our first half (woo hoo!). I clocked in at 2:08, 11 minutes speedier than my first attempt, so I was pretty darn pleased with myself. Here we are, pre- and post-race looking awesome.

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The day before the race, Amy acted as our fabulous tour guide and showed us around Kuala Lumpur. The city has a mixed cultural background, with Malay, Chinese, and Indian Muslim influences, and the food and architecture reflect this. KL is a jumble of mosques, modern skyscrapers, Chinese shop houses, and market stalls. I’m hoping to go back and explore further in the future. In the short time we had, we…

  • Visited the Petronas Towers, the most famous portion of the KL skyline, and had a little photo shoot. Fun facts: the towers enjoyed several years as the world’s tallest structures until 2004 when a taller building was constructed in Taipei. The tops of the towers were designed to look like Islamic minarets.
  • Shopped at Central Market, a local market that has existed since 1888 when it was an open-air, wet market. Today, the market is housed in an old shop building. The stalls inside sell a mixture of Malaysian goods and tourist nonsense. It reminded me a bit of Chatuchak Market here in Bangkok, but less crowded and with aircon. 🙂 We bought a snazzy handcrafted batik wall-hanging to add to our living room decor.
  • Ate delicious halal food at a local restaurant (grilled meat, naan, hummus, yum), and delicious western food at a post-race brunch. The restaurant advertised KL’s best mojito, and it was indeed quite tasty.
Karli, Colby, Caroline, Amy, & I

Karli, Colby, Caroline, Amy, & I

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One Response to “Kuala Lumpur & the Malaysia Women Half Marathon 2015”

  1. elaine mccormick April 9, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Awesome! The “girls” and I are planning to come to Vermont to support you in your race in July. Naturally when we tell the sorry later we will have been “a part of a half marathon”; no need to mention the view only part! Love You!

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