Bidor Half Marathon 2013

After 2 consecutive 'weekly' marathons, (Boston and Langkawi), taking on a half in Bidor suddenly didn't seem like such a great idea. If not for IOM, Bidor would have been a strategic choice for a half marathon time trial. But as always, for someone like me who has a knack for messing up programs, I have only myself to blame. That said, I have no regrets doing IOM, running for a cause is better than running for nothing.

Notwithstanding my lack of self restraint, it turns out, Bidor was a rather good place to be.

2011 was my last rendezvous with this small town. And the sweet after taste of that experience was enough to lure me for a revisit. I believe that would be the sentiment for most who returned this time for the 2013 instalment. Of course it wasn't just the food for the foodie. It's a nice weekend getaway for most who crave a bit of small town nostalgia, topping it off with a decent challenging run, that's many birds with one stone. And in case of the guilt inducing food frenzy, a Half is just enough (and not too taxing) to burn off those extra calories. It's a win win!

Put up a night at the Grand Kampar Hotel before race day. Along with fellow marathoners the likes of Frank Chong, Roy Yeow, Jamie Pang and Cham, we did the touristy thing by patronizing the local renown Claypot Chicken Rice. The carbo-loading (as well as electrolyte loading in the form of salted fish) was enough for a full 42, but we weren't complaining. Though not such a great fan of Claypot rice, this one's good enough to tantalize 3 generous helpings from me.

The following morning, we decided to leave the hotel a bit earlier. It's after all a 30km journey to Bidor. Reached there in good time, with plenty to spare for the usual 'business'. The start time of 7am was uncharacteristically late for a half marathon. If you were the Kenyan runners, this would have no consequence whatsoever. But for normal folks, the sizzle after 8:30am was certainly not something that could be lightly ignored. (Just a gentle note to the organizers.) Not that we care much about a tanned line...

By the time I gathered at the start line, the crowd was already sardine-packed. Thus, there was no way to squeeze myself in for a good front line start. For a 10km or Half, this could often be the deciding factor when you are up against a field of strong contenders. Aside from the 4 Kenyan runners who would no doubt claim the throne before they even started, Bidor was unusually packed with fast runners, all racing for the coveted top ten positions in each of their categories.

Gun off at 7am, the front runners dashed to take the lead. In a matter of minutes, the gaps were obvious. Starting from where I stood, I had to work harder just to close the gap, leave alone chasing down the top (local) contenders. Mentally, I was geared to believe that I could physically compete, but that notion started to fade rapidly when I reached 5km. The previous 2 back to back marathons had finally taken its toll. I found myself heaving erratically. And the muscles were turning to jelly....

I knew instantly that this would not go well. Eventually, some of the lead runners like Moey, Choo Hooi and Ronnie began to pull away. What seemed like a closing gap of 80-100m became more like half a km. Then a Thai runner overtook me, followed by Dave Ang and eventually a Japanese runner stormed pass by. It must have been a tough 13km for me because I had seriously contemplated DNF at that point.

Demoralized, I trotted on with whatever I have left in the tank. In which case, it was a pretty empty and dry one. The carbo-cum-electrolyte-loading did nothing to help. It was real fatigue surfacing in the worst possible moment. I felt very old. And lousy. At the same time.

After the second turning, I slowly gathered momentum. Aided by a downhill run, the pace quicken to make up for lost time. I knew the damage was already done. But you make do with whatever you have. Just keep going. Managed to chase down a young chap near the end. And dashed to finish with a time of 1:32.

Thinking back, despite a poor time, I enjoyed the experience. Not that masochism is my thing, but to come out of it without DNF was a rather big deal for me on that day. It proves to me that mentally I am still there. Physical capability may change depending on your form on race day, but mentally, I should be getting stronger and tougher. And looking back, I wasn't too shabby.

But I have to mention here that the high light was in fact the sight of an old friend from Seremban. He's Dr. Tang, a former colleague from KPJ Seremban Specialist Hospital. I couldn't believe my eyes when he called out to me during the race. That's because I could not even recognize him at all. From 2011 since I left Seremban, unbeknownst to me, he had taken up running. And he has indeed lost a lot of weight and am now physically very fit. When I caught up with him after the race, he told me that my blogs had something to do with it. It had inspired him to take up running. Wow! Imagine that! What an honour to hear that!

The Penang Lang, Choo Hooi (3rd position with a superb PB),
Dave 10th in Men's Open, Kuang Malaysian Champion (1:20), myself and Cheong

Frank, myself, Foo, Jamie and Roy
With Moey, who took 5th position

Met up and mingled with many runner friends after the race as we waited for the prize ceremony. I should say that though we often compete fiercely with one another, we still maintain close ties as a running community. It's a rare commodity. In the spirit of the sport, the camaraderie far outshines it's competitive nature. Besides, what better way than to have good runner friends to inspire you to train harder? And as iron sharpens iron, the way I see it, this friendly competition is as good as it gets.

So, if you are looking for a good weekend break next time, think Bidor.

7th in Men's Veteran 

Winners in Men's Veteran Category


  1. Congrats Doc!
    Bidor has always been my favorite, too! If distance is not a matter, let's try Muar. Nice weather, flat route, another good hunting ground which I dubbed the Berlin of Malaysia while Bidor is Boston of Malaysia to me, due to the hilly route (betul ke? never ran Boston hehehe)

    1. Yes Deo, as a matter of fact, it is kind of like Boston in terms of the hilly part. But minus the glamour and Wellesley girls of course. :)

      Muar sounds interesting, but a little too far for me to travel from Penang. Perhaps another time. But I'll bear that in mind.

  2. Like I told Jamie, this is something I wanna do next year. I'm totally fed up of the usual race routes around KL and Bidor sounds like something just up my alley :D

    By the way, awesome job there, Doc!

    1. Nick, I think u wd like Bidor. Look out for it next year. :)


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