Adidas 4x3km Relay Report from Eddy Choo Klava Team Manager
I’m pleased to think that one of this two so called records will not be easily broken unless another club can occupy all the three podium positions i.e. 1, 2 & 3. Come to think of it, KLAVA could have done it this time. It would have been possible if our Thanes & K.F.Yong are still competing & at their best. They, together with Y.S.Liong & Ramanaidu if there are also at their previous best may have snatched 3rd placing. It would be Klava’s dream teams. We hope to be the ones to beat (the record) next year. To borrow Adidas motto as printed in our sponsored running vests:-“IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING”!
This year our Men Junior Veteran A team was quite strong. Even with the exclusion of Nanchappan who have to run for his sponsored team Adidas, we felt that we can perform better this year although first & second placing is out of the question. Team Adidas comprising 4 of the best veteran roadrunners in Malaysia is in a class of its own. The only other team able to compete with them is one having much younger runners like those in Pacesetters racing teams. This event’s unconventional age grouping of 35 to 50 years means that Pacesetter can field younger runners below 40 years. As for KLAVA, one has to be 40 years to be eligible for membership. Most of our junior veteran runners are already above 45 years old. Hence, KLAVA junior veteran teams are competing at a disadvantage. It is like a handicap in a non handicap race. We could only fight for the 3rd to 5th prizes.
Our A team had quite a good start when our first runner came back third. However the 2nd runner of the 4th position team overtook us. We’re still in 4th placing when our 3rd runner followed another runner into a wrong route which lead to a deadend! Two other runners also followed! Our runner lost several minutes trying to find the correct route. By that time it was too late. Even though, our 4th runner overtook 2 runners, we could only managed 10th placing. I feel so sorry for them. Our B team was also unlucky to lose the 5th placing & could not regain back the position inspite of our intense cheering him to move forward nearing the finishing line.
The 2nd start at 9.15am saw our Men Senior Veteran & Women Veteran teams in action. After the earlier setback, our deputy president Thaneswaran told me it’s time to show our stuff- to make amends so to speak! With about a hundred teams sprinting off & leaving the tracks (stadium) for the road we could only see our men’s teams in the middle pack. Some of the junior boys were speeding so fast as if this was a 400m race. In less than 10 mins. They were returning back when low & behold, our men’s team were now in 1st & 2nd placing among the front pack. There were a lot of excitement & cheering. The 2nd runners of both KLAVA teams maintain their respective position upon returning. I found myself feeling the pressure even though I was in the 2nd team (team D). What if the current 3rd position team runner is much faster than me? What is the chance of being overtaken? The heat as a result of the late 2nd start is a factor. Fortunately, yours truly managed to complete without losing our position and still have a wide gap to spare. There was no need for our ever reliable Iyanar to do any hard work to follow home in 2nd placing behind our first team (team C). So it was a one two finishing for KLAVA.Thus, we have proven that our winning the Pg.R.T.Hses.R.Relay,’05 is not just plain luck.
As for the women veteran category our 1st team (team F) first runner returned in 7th position. Our 2nd runner, Agatha overtook 1 runner for 6th position. Our 3rd runner maintained this position. Finally our 4th runner, Tengku Maziah overtook another runner to finish fifth for prize contention.
Our men junior veteran seems to be short on luck ever since the Pg.R.T.H.R.R.’05. where we could have won if our top runner, Nanchappan have not withdrawn at the last minute due to family reasons (as told) & had to be substituted by an off-form (injured) reserve. In the previous 4 years history of these 4×3 events, there was no known case of runner losing his way! Hence, we did not expect the unexpected. But this time it happened to a few runners including our A team 3rd runner who was unfamiliar with Bukit Jalil, as this was his first time representing KLAVA in this event. Prior to the start, he also could not find his way to this Komplek MSN,Bkt Jalil! He has to wait for his friend to shoe him the direction. If not for the delay his team leader would have let him run the 2nd leg. Then the scenario may be different.
Our men junior veteran B team 6th placing was an improvement to last year’s 8th placing but no medal were awarded after 5th placing unlike last year. Overall it was still a respectable finish considering the tough competition with 22 teams in this category.
I’ve previously mentioned that our strength is in team relay with 8 or more runners per team. Now I stand to be corrected! In this 4×3km event of 4 runners per team, we have to split up our top 8 runners into 2 teams based on time trial. Surprise, surprise with the split we grabbed both first & second placing!
We are grateful that the organizers paid heed to my persuasion to add in a separate category for men 50 years & above. KLAVA & also the Pacesetters Club have alot of runners above 50 years. In fact, quite alot of KLAVA participent are senior citizens i.e. Sallehudin; Lim Than Yen & Mookan. Some are pushing 60s i.e. Ramanaido, Phillip & Iyanar. It take an exceptional athlete of this age to complete with someone more than 20 years his junior!
I’ve been explaining this to Pacesetter former president, Mr. Wan Yew Leong & also Adidas Running Head, Mr. K.Krishnan. Even though the Entry Forms were printed very much earlier, but it was a good thing they were flexible to add in this category. Although less publicity was generated due to the non-inclusion but a good respond of 10 teams proved I was right. I’m sure all the 40 runners are happy to compete among their peers & not in a category with tremendous age differences.That includes the pacesetters teans who finished 3rd. These 4 runners may not have won anything if there was no senior Veteran category. (Pls. also read Iyanar comment in the Star Metro dated 23/6/05)
I believe there will be even much better response next year if the organisers award more prizes instead of for three placing only as in this year. These are the feedbacks I gathered from the average runners- those are the ones who make up the majority of the participants & determines whether the event will be popular or otherwise. For the majority, the objective of taking part is not to make up the numbers but to challenge for something. If they repeatedly go home empty handed, they will be disappointed and discouraged from taking part in future.
This report would not be complete without a word of thanks to all the KLAVA participants & team leaders. We appreciate your efforts & strong commitments for KLAVA. Not forgetting our helpers & supporters, including Lim Yoke Fooi for timekeeping during the time trials, Thaneswaran for timekeeping on race day, our former president, Chow Teng Song as digital cameraman & Peter as ‘acting’ video cameraman, K.K.Wong & Jenny Lee (non-member) for being so gracious to be on standby as substitudes if required. At the moment, our members may be small in numbers as compared to Pacesetters but we want to be the chilly padi when it comes to performance!
Reported by: Eddy Choo