Given a choice, most runners I know would prefer to run in the morning rather than in the evening for the following reasons:-
• It's an exhilarating way to jumpstart your metabolism and keep you alert all day.
• The peace and tranquillity lets you plan out how to make full use of the day ahead.
• There is nothing more inspiring than watching the first ray of sunlight at daybreak. It reminds us just how lucky we are to be alive.
On the other hand, some runners like running at night because their skins are sensitive to the sun, or because that's their only free time.
Personally, I love to run anytime. And recently, my wife Maryati and I boldly accepted the invitations to join three separate events over one weekend. First up was a 10km Saturday night run. Twelve hours later, we would run another 10km the following Sunday morning at the Amnig Warrior Run in One City, USJ, Subang Jaya. Our last event on Sunday afternoon was called "Slide The City", and its drawcard was a 305m water slide put up at Precinct 7 in Putrajaya.
On paper, Maryati and I were looking forward to this weekend. But in practice, we wondered if we could physically and logistically pull off this triple feat. I guess there is a first time for everything, right?
The inaugural ICE Watch Light Up The Night Run was organised by The Marathon Company. On event night, 3,000 participants gathered at the start/finish point of the Plaza Shah Alam parking lot, creating a carnival-like atmosphere with music blaring and runners socialising before the race.
The advantage of having this event at a shopping mall was that we did not have to go far for food and drinks after the run. We started our run at 8pm sharp from the centre of Shah Alam city, and then most of the route took us along the quieter (though well-lit) side roads in housing areas. There were safety marshals stationed at each intersection to direct road traffic and to ensure runners followed the right course.
The writer (front, right) with his wife Maryati (next to him) having a blast at a 10km Light Up The Night Run run in Shah Alam.
Photo: The Star
Since this was a fun run, we were given a generous three hours to complete 10km. The night was very humid. When Maryati and I crossed the finish line (in the middle of the pack), we were dripping with sweat from head to toe.
Although the shopping mall operating hours were extended to midnight, right after we gobbled down some energy-replenishing bananas, we had to head home soon for an early night to prepare for our next 10km.
After drinking lots of water and getting a good night's rest, we woke up feeling surprisingly fresh and eager to face our next run.
The Warrior Run is in its second year, and it's sponsored by Amnig, a local manufacturer and online retailer of sportswear. Like the previous night's run, it was held at a shopping mall, One City in USJ, Subang Jaya.
I was glad a warm-up exercise routine was conducted before the run, so that I could shake off any muscle stiffness and soreness from the previous night. At 7.30am, 900 runners were flagged off for the 10km and 5km categories.
Being a Sunday morning, there were hardly any vehicles on the roads, and the morning coolness and clear sky made us feel very comfortable. Furthermore, the roads were wide and there were hardly any hills to trouble us.
At the finish area, each runner was given the customary medal, bananas, buns and isotonic drinks.
Since the shopping mall was not open yet, there was lots of space for us to put our feet up, unwind and enjoy our snacks.
Despite having run 20km in two days, Maryati and I were feeling rejuvenated and overjoyed. Could it be that we had underestimated our level of fitness? Or had our tiredness numbed the pain?
As it turned out, not over-exerting ourselves during each run proved to be the right decision. After all, we were not competing to beat other runners. Instead, our main goal was to complete the two runs as a running couple.
To cap an eventful weekend, our last activity was to water-slide down 305m at the inaugural "Slide The City" in Putrajaya which was hosted by my dynamic friend Leong Delon. He is the founder and CEO of Monkey Theory, which acquired the rights to stage Slide The City events in South-East Asia.
I was taken aback when I heard that 10,000 people had bought tickets to his two-day event. How exciting can sliding down a waterslide be for grown-ups like me? I was soon able to find out the answer for myself.
Whizzing down this 305m super water slide is sloshing good fun.
Photo: The Star
At the registration booth, we were given a wrist tag, an inflatable donut-shaped tube, a water pistol and an event T-shirt. After we had changed to our swimming costumes and loaded our water pistols, we queued up for the slide of our lives.
I noticed that there were many different kinds of inflatable tubes, and it was funny to see people carrying brightly-coloured inflatable crocodiles, lobsters and even an inflatable slice of pizza!
We had a choice to slide solo or in a group. We opted for the former. When it was our turn, the volunteers explained, "You must run first, and then jump on to your inflatable tube." That was easier said than done, because a couple of sliders would funnily bounce off their tubes. It took some coordination and balance to jump on your moving tube without falling over!
Once we were on our tubes, the slide was a fast and hair-raising ride as we laughed and screamed, spun and reached the pool at the bottom with a splash-down. After our first slide, Maryati and I concluded that this had to be one of the most fun things that we had done together, and we spent the next few hours sliding down as many times as we could,
The writer and his wife Maryati have fun with water guns at Slide the City.
Photo: The Star
We experimented with different sliding techniques - sitting on our tubes, or laying face-down. The easiest way was to hang tight for dear life and let gravity do the work.
Looking at all the happy faces slipping and sliding, I can say that everyone was having a whale of a time. The emcee, the music and the food trucks helped create a water carnival atmosphere where everyone seemed so relaxed and happy. It also gave adults like me a rare chance to be a kid again without feeling guilty or judged.
This was the perfect ending to our madcap two-day whirl. I secretly wished that every weekend could be like this!