Haze or Not. Run or Not? To be or Not to be?
It's pretty much the question in most of our minds.
This inconvenience. This Nuisance. This stubborn haze that is bothering the hell out of all those affected. In particular, the SCKLM participants this coming Sunday.
All ears and eyes are fixed on the outcome of the daily updates of API. Yesterday's rain brought some reprieve. But we are not out of the woods yet. The ministry and the organizer has yet to announce the decision. All are 'at the edge of their seats' as we anticipate the outcome in the next few days...
I can understand the frustration. Some have trained very hard. For some, it would be their first marathon. For others, perhaps it's an opportunity to attempt a PB. Whatever the reason, much has been invested into it to allow an inconvenience such as the Haze to jeopardize everything.
But take a step back. And let's reason. The condition is unlikely to vanish as long as the burning is still going on. So, to be haze-free in the next few days is highly unlikely. API reading is a guide. But to rely just on figures is a bit like treating a patient based purely on laboratory numbers. In that case, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. But the organizer and ministry are under pressure to decide. So, API would have to do.
So, if you want to know a bit more about the particulates that we are talking about, here's the link. Understand that we are not just talking about the PM10. There is this PM2.5 that is the real danger here. And the API we are so fervently following, is mainly based on the PM10. (read here) So, it is conceivable that we maybe chasing the wrong end of the stick after all.
On the subject of rain, it is of course a welcome friend in times of desperation. But it is also note worthy that rain does not eliminate PM2.5 as effectively as the PM10. Another fact is that PM2.5 is more hydrophilic and thus acid rain would be a reasonable outcome. Now, imagine running in this environment: Not only will you have to put up with the inhalation of the particulates, you would most likely be drenched too with acid rain especially if there is an ongoing downpour. A double whammy.
And we are not just talking about a fun run. It's, after all, 42.195km. A vacuum cleaner would have been overworked if it has to be dragged along for the ride. But at least, you can change the filter bag in the vacuum. You can't do that with your lungs.
So, it's down to the crunch time. Do we or don't we brave this? How much of it should be brawn? And how much of it brains? I know some would just shrug at this and base it purely on the API. We take comfort in that. And we would like to believe in anything that justifies our cause and reasons.
I am in just as much dilemma as everyone else. But if I have to choose, ultimately, even if the organizer and ministry say YES, I would still be very cautious to make that final decision. This is the time to rely more on better judgement than sentiments. And in any case, as the Good book says (somewhere), don't do anything that is based on doubt.
All that said, IF you are adamant to run this Sunday, then at least be cautious to heed the signs of impending doom. At any sign of wheezing, difficulty in breathing, unusual fatigue, palpitations etc, please do not carry on. STOP. Bring along some cash for a taxi. Or head towards the nearest medic tent.
You should really aim to live to run another day. Haze or no haze. I think common sense prevails.
And No, running with N95 is not an option.....