Sunday, May 31st, 2009 – Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru.
My day started as early as 0615hrs when Mahdhir woke me up. I was supposed to wake half an hour earlier, but my dream kept me deaf from hearing the alarm. At 0635hrs, we shoot off to Dataran Bandaraya, arriving there 10minutes before 7am.
The weather that morning was amazing. Bright and shiny, perfect for a race. I had to do the race registration again, to make sure all participants have arrived at the starting point. Lucky that we did this as there was one elite team who arrived late for the race. At least we know where everybody is.
By 0730hrs, almost all participants started to do warm ups on their bikes and legs. Some just sat down and chat with friends. I could see some nervous faces, maybe they were first timers. As for me personally, I enjoyed being the official/marshal for this particular event because with not so many participants, I could get to know the elite triathletes better (I mean, I could easily walk to them and get their autographs if I wanted to). Let these photos do the talking (it’s almost midnight now as I’m typing this offline, and my brain is getting to slow down on ideas).
The atmosphere of the morning was awesome. I secretly was wishing that I was one of them participating. Maybe next year.
The participants were released by the sound of horn by the Datuk Bandar MBJB himself, at 0800hrs sharp. The elite teams started off with biking and the novice teams began with their runs.
My apology for not having the time now to fully explain to you about the detailed race course. One thing for sure, it sounded fun, it looked fun, and the participants said it was fun and challenging. If you want to know better, perhaps you can participate next year.
That was the last photo I took before I get myself busy again standing by to assist the participants as they came in after their biking leg. Since the bike rack was not that properly being made, not many bikes can fit their tires inside the rack and many ended up slanting or fell down. So, I was there to help reducing and avoiding the damage to those bikes as participants gushing in and out from the transition area. Together with another crew member, we managed to make sure none of the bikes were lying down on the floor. I got my jeans and t-shirt dirty with some mud from the bikes, but it was OK. The dirt can be removed very easily with water, but the experience as race official/marshal will remain for quite a long time in my memory box.
My next task was to be the time keeper for the elite team. For novice teams, another crew took care of them. And since novice teams arrived much earlier than the elites, I took the chance to snap more photos of the finishers.
See their face expressions as they crossed the finishing line. Most of them, if not everybody, would cross the finish line smiling. Many people may not understand how you could still smile after being that tired running and cycling and kayaking and swimming to cross a pond. The only way to know is, to do it yourself. Well, of course you have to train first before attempting this kind of sports. With enough training, your smile may be bigger as you step your foot at the finishing line.
And you can also see how important TEAM WORK in this kind of eco challenge race means. No matter what you do or how fast you could run, you have to finish the race TOGETHER!
There were also some dramatic scenes where one or two athletes fell down with cramps and dehydration. I guess they must have pushed themselves over the limit this time. One elite guy has to be ambulanced to the hospital to get further treatment (hope he recovers the soonest, he’s a commando anyway), and another guy fell down immediately upon crossing the finishing line with massive cramp attack on his leg.
Finally, no matter how slow or how fast you are as an athlete in this kind of endurance race, there’s always one spirit that makes more and more people doing it. It’s the spirit of “No matter what and how, just FINISH THE RACE”.
This first JB City Eco Challenge won’t be a success without their hard work and effort. A big round of applause to them all.
The last participants crossed the finishing line with the time of 2:56, i.e. somewhere around 1055hrs (since the race started off at 0800hrs). By 1110hrs, we already put up the full results for display. Everybody rushed to the board to see their official timing. With such a big prize money and wide range of receivers (almost 50% from each category will bring back some cash), that morning saw lots of happy faces.
Just before the prize giving ceremony, Datuk Bandar MBJB gave some closing speech. He seemed to be happy with the overall events, and he’s looking forward to seeing more participants in the coming years’ events in JB.
Well, that’s all I have so far. I’ve mentioned it’s The End, haven’t I?
I’m glad to know that the participants had great fun racing their JB City Eco Challenge!