RUNNING PERKS & PERSONALITIESHappy People: How liberating is it, not to be judged by your material wealth or social status? How uplifting is it, to have total strangers genuinely care about you? These are the wonderful feelings which you can experience when you join the running fraternity. The benefits of running are improvements in both physical and mental health, and it is good for our economy because it is a multi-million dollar industry for many companies specialising in running events. For this story, I met-up with 3 runners and 3 running companies who I admire & respect for their total commitment to running, and asked them, what running means to them personally.
Dedicated Runner: Don Koh is father of 3 children and lives in Subang Jaya. He explains, “My first road race was in 2011, the MBSJ 10 KM run. I was motivated by my friends to join the race. Unexpectedly, I completed the 10 KM run and earned my very first running medal which was limited to the top 20 runners”. Spurred-on by his running buddies, Don started training and his determination paid-off with several impressive podium placings. Don credits his running achievements to being disciplined enough to keep training, and having a supportive family. He adds, “I train every Tuesdays and Thursdays. Usually, after the Sunday morning races, I spend the rest of the day with my family”. For Don, continuously learning and improving his performance are what keeps him motivated. “Running has taught me the importance of discipline and time-management”, Don added.
Rejuvenated Runner: 27-year-old Jamal Rafiq embraced running initially to reduce his weight. Jamal explains, “I noticed the weight piling on due to long hours sitting in front of the PC. The breaking point was when my weight peaked at 152 kg. So, in 2013, I decided to make a change and started running as a hobby. Amazingly, in just 1.5 years, my weight had dropped by 62 kg to 90 kg. I achieved my weight loss by running 30~60 minutes everyday, and eliminating junk food from my diet. I wanted a healthy lifestyle to live a better more complete life”. Jamal successfully completed his first 10km run at MAKNA night run in November 2014. His next challenge is running his first 21km within this year. Jamal’s advice for Beginners is “start by warming-up and walking first, and then slowly jog; do not start running straight away as you may injure yourself. Go at your own pace and once your feel comfortable, that’s when you can push yourself a little bit harder. Start slow and enjoy the Journey!”.
Resourceful Runner: Julie Wongis well-known and respected figure among local runners. Julie started her running chapter more than 10 years ago when she helped the Selangor Veteran Athletes Association (now known as Selangor Master) organised relay runs. Julie recalls nostalgically to those early days working with Selangor Master, “Back in those days, we had to be resourceful because we had no funding for races. To save cost, I was always assigned two duties; one is to conduct race briefings, and my other task was being the Chief Time Keeper”.”
In 2008, Julie was roped-in for her first official emcee job by Klang Pacers Athletic Club President, Mr. S.P. Wong. Julie says, “he felt that the Club needed to improve the quality of the event by having a emcee who knows what running is all about, and most importantly, someone who can control the crowd.” Since that day, Julie has emceed countless running events, and with the number of running events increasing every year, she spends most weekends tirelessly helping-out organising races. Despite her busy schedule, Julie feels blessed to have a job that she loves doing. This is especially true, when she receives positive feedbacks from the appreciative runners for her professional-yet-friendly attitude.
Running Organiser: Unlike 10 years ago, today’s breed of runners place higher demands on race organisers in terms of the whole running event experience; they want bigger medals, designer running vests, availability of online registration, efficient kit collection services and more exciting race experiences too.
Furthermore, today’s race organisers must not only possess great technical and operational skills, but they also need to be marketing-savvy to compete among each other.
One such event organiser is Dusty Monkeys who consist of a young team in their twenties who staged the inaugural Kuantan Half Marathon 2014, as well as the popular Run For Your Lives 2014. Dusty Monkeys represent the future of running because they are young, dynamic and in-synch with the younger generation of runners. Using the internet as a convenient learning tool, new event companies, such as Dusty Monkeys, can quickly learn the intricacies of staging a successful running event. Their focus is more on staging runs to cater for fun runners, rather than the competitive runners, because fun events attract a bigger crowd. As their CEO Delon puts it, “We believe that delivering customer satisfaction and quality running events will help to sustain the future of running events in Malaysia. At the same time, we are in the midst of bringing in other exciting & new international running events into Malaysia to gather interest from the new generation.”.
Running Boutique: Running is becoming more trendy, and runners today want to dress more like the Pros. If you are looking for the latest high-performance running gear, then you do not have to look further than the Keypower Sports outlets situated at The Gardens, Mid Valley or at The Paradigm Mall in Kelana Jaya.Their shops are staffed by athletes themselves who can ably help their customers choose the right outfit from a wide range of high-quality running gears and accessories such as shoes, attire, caps, hydration packs, sports eyewear, foam rollers, and much more.
Kenneth Cheong, Keypower Sports Manager, explains, “Key Power Sports provide state of the art sporting products like 2XU Compression and Newton Running Shoes which focus on improving performance, recovery and proper way of running.”.
Running Shoes: The functionality and comfort of shoes have improved significantly with the rapid development in footwear technology. However, it can be difficult for new runners to find the right kind of running shoe which will fit their unique footprint, as well as their individual running style. Whenever someone asks me to recommend to them running shoes, I will advice them to visit a Brooks outlet for two reasons. Firstly, because the Brooks brand from USA specialises in running shoes, and their comprehensive range of models is unbeatable. Secondly, because their in-house shoe expert will help you pick the right pair of shoes according to your footprint (arched or flat-footed), your chosen running terrain (road or trail), and your running goal (short or long distance).
Paragon Vest has been distributor of Brooks shoes
Impacting Lives: Running can play an important role in our daily lives: It just depends on what we want to make of it. So, the next time, rather than asking, what running can do for you? Ask yourself – what can you DO for running?
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