NM Galaxy Run

After the euphoria of my first ever official running event, I quickly sign up for another race - the NM Galaxy 10k Run. The longest distance is 21k for this run but I'll settle for 10k for now. Coincidentally my wife also signed up for this race as well even if it's only for the 5k category. You got to start somewhere right?

The registration fee is RM50 for the 10k category and 10 ringgit less for the 5k. You get a cheap-looking, lousy sleeveless shirt, running bib with timing chip and some snacks, that's it. And of course medals for everybody. But seriously the least they could do is give out a standard dry-fit t-shirt like most other races, not the thin, fluorescent green singlet which I guess shouldn't cost more than 5 ringgit to make in volume.

Anyway back to the race, I didn't have much practice compared to my previous run. Partly because of work and also I was not feeling so well earlier in the week. An hour before the race we had burgers for breakfast which was not really a good idea cause we need at least 2 hours for the food to be digested and burgers was quite heavy for a pre-running meal. Should have had something lighter like bananas or buns or something.

The race starts exactly at 6:30 AM for the 10k category and we got there just in time. Lucky for us Cyberjaya Lake Club is pretty easy to find although we did have to walk a few hundred meters from where we park. After a quick stretching I started the race with a few hundred others. We run along the roads of Cyberjaya, snaking through corporate buildings, shoplots, offices and MMU Cyberjaya. We were promised 3 water stations for the 10k category but there was only one and that's only after the 7k mark. I later learnt there was none for the 5k category. Totally unacceptable.

As expected my result was about 3 minutes later than my previous time. I'd blame it on my breakfast and also lack of training the week before. Instead of a proper post-running meal, we were only given a banana each and a tiny cup of cereal by one of the sponsor apart from a bottle of water. There were more trouble from the organiser when there's not enough medals for the 21k category. Fancy paying over 60 ringgit for the run and not even getting any medals to show for it.

This NM Galaxy Run was a near shamble compared to the 30 ringgit TM Fan Run that I joined earlier. Honestly I suspected the organisers were cutting corners to make maximum profit from the participants. Needless to say that'll be my last involvement with any NM Galaxy Run series and I'll be choosing my race very carefully in the future.

Horrible organiser aside, I still had a good time running together with my wife for the first time. I met a few of my hiking friends as well after the race. Naturally my wife is very eager to join another race soon but since these race don't come cheap, it'll be some time before we join another one.

Final words - NM Galaxy Run sucks.

Fraser's Hill stay at The Pines Resort

The first time I went to Fraser's Hill in Pahang was after climbing Gunung Ulu Semangkuk back in July. Then it was only for a short drive through and some lunch at the food court there. My next visit was when I climbed Pine Tree hill along with my wife and hiking buddies. It was a nice place, cool, quiet and serene. I thought someday I wanna stay there for a short weekend getaway or vacation or something. The opportunity came when my sister organized a little family trip there and we decided to stay at The Pines Resort, a big resort but with budget hotel facilities.

The Pines Resort is located towards the exit to KL/Bentong. It's the last resort you're going to encounter before you leave Fraser's Hill. We rented a three bedroom apartment costing RM320 that is after a hundred ringgit peak season surcharge. Which is okay I guess since we had three family staying there so it's about 100 ringgit each.

It rained all the way from Kuala Kubu Bahru to the The Pines Resort so it was all misty and really cold when we got there. The resort doesn't have air conditioners (they don't need any) only a couple of wall fans in every room. The master bedroom has a little balcony of it's own and and a bathroom with a bath tub. The bath tub is missing it's drain stopper so it's pretty useless. The living room is quite spacious and the private balcony overlooking the hills gives you quite a scenery. There's a dining table in the little space they call the dining room. The kitchen is pretty basic - a double sink, some plastic plates and tap with hot water and that's about it. There's also one little fridge but no stove for cooking. At least there's ample hot water for everyone. Trust me you're gonna needed for shower.

The bulky TV in the living room show nothing but local terrestrial channels and the reception was pretty bad. We had to go to the local restaurant in the town center to watch our favorite football game. At least they still have Astro at this remote place. We were given food vouchers which entitles us free breakfast for 6 the next morning. Breakfast wasn't really mouth-watering. They cooked up some half-arsed nasi lemak with greasy sambal which surprisingly would all be gone by 9:00 AM. Apart from that there's also sausages and toast but the roll-on toaster was broken (it didn't really toast our bread).

Is it worth it to stay at The Pines Resort? For RM320 definitely not. Honestly I'd pay more to stay elsewhere. You go to the Pines Resort only as a last resort when everywhere else is fully booked. The sheets and blankets looked worn and seasoned. The carpets was all but faded. For a place with such beautiful scenery all around and so much potential, they managed to keep the place running with only the bare essentials.

Fortunately our maiden visit to Fraser's Hill wasn't totally ruined by a substandard hotel. Like I said, I really like the cool and serene environment in Fraser's Hill. We had a little jog in the misty morning fog from the resort to the town center while enjoying the cool fresh air. We could have gone for a hike at one of the many trails there but time were pretty limited so we had to skip that. The food price at the food court that we went for the third time by now is pretty reasonable although those near the clock tower were pretty expensive. The kids get to play at the park and playground next to the food court so at least they were not thoroughly bored there.

So if you're planning a visit to Fraser's Hill, book a place anywhere but at Pines Resort. The reviews were not exactly stellar and I must agree with all their complaints.