Dragon Back Run 2018 – Review by Happy Runner

Dragon Back Run 2018 – Review by Happy Runner


Editor’s Note

This my 3rd Dragon Run, but unlike previous occasions, the race venue is now at SETIA ALAM instead of Jalan Paip, Meru, and the maximum distance has increased to 30K from the previous year’s 25k.

Should I be worried about this extra 5km?

Has the route changed significantly?

What makes this event outstanding?

In this review, I share my latest running battle against an infamous hilly route which can turn grown men’s legs into jelly if you get too close to the unforgiving dragon….

Event | Dragon Back Run
Date | 04 March 2018
Venue | Setia Alam
Distance | 30km  / 21km / 12km
30km | Flag Off 5:30am; Cut Off ⏱️ 4 hours
Total Runners | 900+ (520 for 30km)

IMG_20180304_183601RACE HIGHLIGHTS
✔️ New Route ✔️ Extended Version

✔️ Hardcore Rolling Hills
✔️ Hot Bowl Of Soya Bean Dessert
✔️ Manageable Crowd

Video : Chat with Elite Runner Norahs

Suicide Mission


With my last running event being only a 10km run in January 2018, I knew it would be a difficult task to even make it to the finish line in one piece! However, I trusted my running experience and instincts enough to give it a go because I was keen to see the new route and hopefully, I could use this event to jumpstart my running legs. Would I live to regret my decision?

New Shoes


As though, the absence of adequate training and running mileage weren’t bad enough, I broke another cardinal sin of running which was to wear my brand new ASICS GEL NIMBUS 20 and new ASICS long running tights without testing or breaking them in first. Did I purposely set myself to fail? Or was I taunting the bad tempered Dragon with my unusually disrespectful actions? Either way, I was about to swim in uncharted waters, and it took all my mental strength to keep my cool, and all this, even before the race has started!

Keeping Positive

At the start line, I was silently consoling myself with positive remarks such as, “At least you managed to drag your heavy ass to the start line on time, Gus! The worst that can happen is that I will sweat and burn calories. Let’s take it one kilometre at a time.”

Then, after the race had started, I told myself, “let’s treat it like a half marathon with an initial 9k warm up” which is an old running trick to break long distances into shorter, reachable ones.

My pace was frustratingly slow, and most of the 500 30k runners easily passed me in the morning darkness. Nevertheless, I knew that I must be very patient if I wanted to outlast this mammoth dragon.

So, there I was plodding along like a geriatric and lost in my own thoughts. I didn’t even want to chat with any other runners because I was trying to save every breath like it was my last. Now, that’s the real definition of being “kiasu”!

Same Dragon

I was happy to see that the new route still passed all the major rolling hills, and the only big difference was the extra 5k at the beginning and the end. Being familiar with this wily old dragon, I could visualise my journey back to the finish line which helped eased my mind.

Sore Feet


The first 20k went as well as I could expect. I was not tired and there were no signs of cramps. Then right after enjoying a cold and refreshing Endurance Electrolytes drink at the N8 Sports Nutrition tent, my feet felt sore as hell. I could barely run, and even walking was painful. Serves me right for not training enough and using brand new shoes!

Survival Mode

With 10km remaining and still facing the fiercest rolling hills at Bukit Cahaya, I was struggling like a helpless bird flapping its broken wings. I had to dig deep just to keep moving. I was mentally kicking myself through the worse of the hills.

Head Down


Although the last 3k was like hell on earth, I was stubbornly refusing the numerous offers of free rides from the marshals on passing motorbikes. I didn’t care or judge those other struggling runners who caved in and got a lift to the finish line. No matter how desperate my situation, I knew that I could cross the finish line on my own two, be it very sore, legs.

Finish Together


With 1000 metre to the finish line, I asked 3 ladies, Wan Bun, Stephanie and Suriani to finish this race together with me. After such an epic solo run, it was nice to celebrate the ending with my new friends over a hot bowl of sweet bean curds and patting each other’s backs for slaying the dragons within us…at least for another year.


Take Note

  • The new route still incorporates all of the signature rolling hills – thankfully!
  • Of course, the extra 5km increases the route’s difficulty level, but on the plus side, it makes for a great Long Slow Distance (LSD) run.
  • I would never recommend new runners to tackle long distance without proper running mileage and training first.
  • Remember to always break in new running shoes and attire before race day.
  • Apart from the soreness in the soles of my feet which I attribute to my lack of proper muscle conditioning, I experienced no toe-jamming or foot swelling because the ASICS GEL NIMBUS 20 fitting and light materials worked great. I will wait until I try it out on my next Full Marathon before I give it a definite rating.
  • This was my first time wearing ankle length running tights made by ASICS. It was so comfortable and there were no signs of sweat after the race. Like my new ASICS running shoes, I will reserve my final verdict on these ASICS long running tights until after wearing it for my next Full Marathon.

Happy Runner Contest Winner


Congratulations to our Contest Winner Eric Lim for completing his 21km Category (pictured with his running partner Jenica)

Special Acknowledgements👏


Many thanks to Pacer Sports, Event Sponsors, N8 Sports Nutrition, the amazing Crew, RELA Volunteers, Medical Team, S.P. Wong, Bros Naidu and Chandra who all looked after us so well from start to finish.

Video : Happy Runner Vs Dragon Keeper

To the best of my knowledge, all of the information provided herein is accurate at the time of publishing and the views expressed are based on my own personal opinions and findings, and they don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Product Manufacturer, Event Organiser or any Third Party unless explicitly specified otherwise.

About The Author


Gus Ghani is the Founder of Running Toons and a HIIT Fitness Coach, and Magazine Columnist.  He has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia Magazine, and Cycling Malaysia Magazine. LIKE Happy Runner for RUNNING UPDATES, Gus Rider for CYCLING NEWS, Gus Ghani for SPORTS INFOTAINMENT and FOLLOW gusghani @IG for LIFESTYLE.

📺 SUBSCRIBE To My YouTube Channel

Related Links







About Gus Ghani

Hi:) My name is Gus and I am a Fitness Coach who enjoys outdoor adventures. In particular, I like to run marathons & ultra marathons, and compete in triathlons and century rides for fitness, fun & friendship. My passion is to motivate my friends to exercise more so that they can live life to the fullest. The purpose of this blog is five-fold:- 1) I find writing very therapeutic & beats paying for a psychiatrist to keep sane 2) I like to share & inspire others into engaging in any healthy pursuits 3) This is a great way to keep track of my progress in all my sporting endeavours 4) This also keeps me honest & spurs me on to do more 5) Even if you are a couch potatoe, I hope you will find my entries entertaining and/or informative. In summary, this blog is helping me help others help myself...get it?
This entry was posted in 12km, 2018, 21km, 30km, Competitive Run, Dragon Back, Happy Runner, March, N8 Sports Nutrition, Pacers Sport, Race Review, Road Race, Runners, Running, Shah Alam, Video and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s