TM Fan Run 2015

After last year’s inaugural run in Dataran Merdeka, I've decided to join this year’s edition in Dataran Putrajaya. TM Fan Run was my first ever public race so there’s something sentimental about it. Besides, I don’t join too many races nowadays (maybe 2–3 per year?) so one race that I wouldn’t want to miss is definitely TM Fan Run.

As always TM Fan Run was organized by the national telecommunication conglomerate TM (who else) in support of the Malaysian athletes competing in the Sea Games (this year in Singapore). I don’t recall any races for Malaysian athletes in the Olympic or Commonwealth games. Maybe it’s because we have little to no hope in those games #LOL. Anyway I didn’t care much about the purpose. What I like most is that the entry fee was only 38 ringgit which is quite cheap compared to most races these days which easily starts from 50 ringgit. Even then, some only give you one lousy low-quality singlet and some bananas apart from the medal (I’m looking at you NM Galaxy Run).

What makes this year’s run even more special was that my wife would be joining me along as well. This is our second ever run together but she was bold enough to pick the 10 kilometers category. Of course we were planning to train every week until race day together. What actually happened was, we barely had time to train even once a week especially my wife. Well, at least I ran once or twice every week around the neighborhood if not the gym for a month before the race.

I know the race is somewhere around Putrajaya but I had no idea where Dataran Putrajaya is. Thanks to the technological marvel that is Waze, we found the location without any problems on the day of the race. We woke up around 5:30 in the morning that day and arrived a few minutes before 7:00. Nothing like the morning moments before a race. The sun was just rising, the sky blueish orange and the anticipation building up before the starting line. The 15 kilometers crowd had just left then but we still had to wait 15 minutes or so before the flag off. We were flagged off by none other than the Youth and Sports minister himself, the ‘tall. dark & handsome” Khairy Jamaluddin who also joined in the 5 kilometers race. Although the girls (and boys) were literally giggling at the sight of him, I couldn’t care less really. I just wanna get on with my race.

I could have run ahead and leave my wife behind because I do have a better pace from her but we’ve decided from the start to run together. So we ran and sometimes walk for most part of the race. It was not until half way through the race that my wife could no longer bear the sight of me trotting so slowly beside her that she insisted that I ran along without her. I hesitated at first but ran ahead eventually. It was around 8:30 am when I reached the finish line. The last 2 kilometers or so was torture to say the least. My lack of (adequate) training was really showing. The sun was scorching overhead and I huffed and puffed through the final leg of the race and my timing was way off my 1:08 best. But it didn’t matter much because the important thing is I finished the route and get to run with my wife till the end.

After the race we collected our medal and snack pack which consist of bread and banana (what else). We met a few friends along the way before heading home to rest. I look forward for next year’s TM Fan Run again. Hopefully I could clock a better record that time around. My wife is so pumped after this race, she immediately sign up for the PJ Half Marathon in September. Well you better actually train this time baby cause I might not be waiting for you :-)

Gunung Angsi via Ulu Bendul hike

Gunung Angsi is one of what you call easy mountains, perfect for beginners. There’s two routes to climb to the peak and I’ve climbed the easier one via Bukit Putus last year and it’s inevitable that I try the other route as well. This time around we arrived bright and early at the trail head/ranger’s office. We do need to start before the cut out time of 8:30-ish in the morning or they would tell us to hike through Bukit Putus again like last time.

After registering our names and paying the park entrance of 5 ringgit each, I stopped a while for breakfast. I don’t usually have breakfast so late before a hike but we were pressed for time and a late breakfast is definitely better than no breakfast at all. Just our luck though, our hike today was accompanied by a hundred or so members of the Royal Customs Academy members from Malacca. So our journey up the Ulu Bendul hike this time was a bit crowded with so many people coming along. But that didn’t affect our climbing experience in any way cause the custom boys and girls were quite sporting in making way for us and letting us pass first whenever our paths crossed.

The trail head starts right next to the ranger’s office near the Ulu Bendul recreational park stream. You just follow the stream on the left side (before the bridge) and just go straight until you find the pipes leading to Kem Tangga Batu. The pipes were used to carry fresh water from upstream to the recreational water park downstream (I presume). After the first campsite (Kem Tangga Batu) it’s all uphill from there on. The hike is similar to the one via Bukit Putus but unlike that one, the Ulu Bendul route requires some walking before the climbing. At Bukit Putus, you climb right from the start however the route is almost half as short and you reach the peak fairly quickly.

Since it’s almost 2 months since I did my last hiking (up Gunung Tahan), I almost forgot how it feels to hike up a mountain. Therefore it’s no surprise that my hike up Angsi was a bit slower this time around and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath. Still I managed to overtake all of the customs boys (and girls) and reach the peak right around midday. As expected, the summit was literally packed with people, hikers from both side of the trail converging at the top. There’s not much tree to sit under and cover from the hot sun. We hung around a bit, ate some food and then made our way down the same trail.

The journey back took another 3 hours, just as long as the way up. Which is quite strange considering the journey down is almost always faster. We followed the pipes again after Kem Tangga Batu but this time it lead us astray from the usual path. Instead of the same route where we started, we had to cross the stream and walk on the other side. We did found the trail head eventually so we didn’t actually got lost or anything, just went through an alternative route.

Overall the return trip took 6 hours plus half an hour at the top. The trail up to the summit was relatively easy. The path was clear, wide and well-trodden. There’s one part near the summit where you have to climb with the help of ropes but it’s not too difficult to attempt. I don’t usually climb the same mountain or hill twice but since this one is through a different route, I’ve just got to give it a try. It’s definitely much longer than the Bukit Putus route but not that long. As always, prepare yourself with ample water, 2 litres minimum cause the hike can be really hot during the day. You can even hike alone round here although I wouldn’t really recommend it if it’s your first hill. Besides, it’s much more fun hiking with your buddies.