“Conquer all 12 GIANT Inflatables as you complete our 5km route and be prepared to fall, laugh and repeat! Scream as you slide down the 26 feet in height and the TALLEST inflatable in Malaysia!”
Such bold claims started the epic disaster at the EIC Run held at the Bukit Jalil Park recently.
My friend and I were anticipating what was supposed to be a fun run, perfect for bonding with family and friends. The event purportedly attracted 7000 participants which were split into seven flag-off times thirty minutes apart which you could choose upon registration.
So we arrived on event morning for the 8.30am flag-off but upon arriving at the location, we could see cars parked along the roads leading to KESAS highway already, roughly 1km from the starting line. There wasn’t any form of traffic control nor advise on where to park. Somehow, we managed to find a parking sport and walked to the park, which we discovered had more than one entrance, with no signage leading to the starting line.
We walked past several people with red coloured t-shirts which turned out to be the event crew, but they made no effort to guide us to the starting line.
Anyway, we managed to ask other crew members, but alas, we missed our flag-off. However, we managed to catch up with the group and start our run. Firstly, the roads were wet, full of moss and mud, and slippery, plus the road was very narrow, unable to cater to the big crowd. Many people were walking and in turn blocking the road, so we couldn’t really run.
Throughout the whole journey, there were no direction signage and there were many cross-roads inside the park where you will easily miss because some runners from other groups would be crossing the same road at the same time. You would easily have followed the wrong group and end up nowhere.
Again, very poor organisation as there were very few crew members located at junctions. The crew members were senior citizen or youths looking so clueless, often just looking at the runners, playing or talking on phones.
At last, we arrived at the obstacle area, but we only saw three inflatable structures, not twelve as promised.
At the first structure, there people were not queueing up, but instead rushing in like a frenzy.
Despite the different flag-off times, you could still see some of the runners from previous groups still waiting to go into the obstacle. The inside of the structure was so pack, that every inch of the ground and the structure were covered by runners standing on it.
The structure become so unstable and heavy, that it started to bend inward and looked like it was going to collapse.
Some of the participants on the inside shouted, asking others outside not to rush in, but to let others clear out first.
Sadly, I only saw a crew member using a small pipe to spraying water pathetically towards the runners inside the structure, creating the “wet” effect they promised. I couldn’t tolerate this anymore and looked for a crew member to ask how to circumvent the route.
After clarifying with the senior crew, the plan was to run for 2km, overcome the obstacles, then run for another 2 plus km but we discovered, the route planned here today did not reflect any of that.
At the obstacle, we needed to take off our shoes, climb up the obstacle, land on mud, and wear our shoes again, and run again. Muddy and dirty, which started another disaster at the water stations. The organizers claimed that they prepared sufficient water. However, we went straight to the water stations after skipping all the obstacles.
The crew at the water station proclaimed loudly, “Oh, we’re running out of water. We don’t have a choice now, not enough water. We can’t do anything after all water has run out.”
There are another two groups which would have flagged off after us, and at that time I already knew this is going to be a nightmare. After the water stations, there was no signage leading to the finish line.
The organizers complained that the participants used the water (from the water station) to wash off the mud. However, the organisers did not plan for a water truck to help participants wash up. Furthermore, with supposed 7000 participants, I only saw not more than 15 portable toilets. There is a public toilet in the park where you need to pay money.
However, the guardians of the toilet begged us not to go in even though we willing to pay. This was because people were washing off the mud in the toilet, making the toilet extremely dirty.
After we had finished the run, we heard one of the three obstacles had deflated, which got the participants really riled up.
At the finish line, basically you run pass a small arch, take your medal and water. No food was served either, no milo truck, nor food trucks available as promised. The medal was on slightly bigger than the old Malaysian 50 cent coins and the landyard was not printed, only the t-shirt was acceptable.
On the event’s Facebook page, people started asking for refunds. The organisers in turn, puts the blame on the contractors claiming that they already had fully paid and prepared sufficient water and crew to manage the event. They charged rm45 per pax and with 7000 participants, this event could have turned out extremely well, but this was not the case today.
Photos courtesy of Fat Rabbit unless otherwise stated.
More about the author
Fat Rabbit is a cyclist recently turned runner.