The most anticipated marathon in Malaysia recaptured the hearts of all Malaysian runners with the virtual version of the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon VR 2020 (KLSCM VR 2020).

COVID-19 or not, live race or not, the running spirit was very much alive and burning brightly. More than 50,000 runners in and around Malaysia took to the streets and ‘celebrated’ their virtual run on their favourite running routes.

ToughASIA laced up our running shoes to chat with some runners on their KLSCM VR 2020 run experiences.

Read Also: The Running Doctor Sets His Stethoscope Aside for KLSCM VR 2020

Chris Khoo had been training to improve his marathon record and nailed it in the KLSCM virtual race.

A regular at the KLSCM annual race, Chris Khoo could not leave 2020 without the opportunity to better his own marathon record. Even when training could not be held outdoors, he found a way to train even if it meant doing 21km by running on the spot in his house!

The newly-wed gathered his wife, Maple Chan who had worked the late-night shift in the medical sector, to start in the wee hours of the morning en route to a Personal Best (PB) for both of them!

ToughASIA: What inspired you to run the marathon in this KLSCM virtual run?

Chris: It was my target bucket list to break the 4-hour full marathon time barrier this year and the KLSCM Virtual Run could not have come at a more perfect time.

Maple: A yearly challenge, and hubby signed me up as a surprise because he saw that i was ready.

ToughASIA: Do you usually sign up for the live event KLSCM?

Chris: Yes we do, it is like an annual challenge tradition for my wife and I.

ToughASIA: What route or venue did you choose for this race and why?

Chris: Started at 4am at Desa Park City, Kuala Lumpur because it is where I usually train my low heart rate training. Furthermore, I can mix between flat loops and slightly hilly loops which I am familiar with and know I can pace myself a lot more easily.

Read Also: Soh Wai Ching – Stepping Up to Guinness World Record in Towerrunning

Maple Chan kept putting her best foot forward en route to a personal best in the KLSCM VR 2020.

ToughASIA: Did you have any proud achievements or tough moments during this race?

Chris: A proud moment surely when I kept at good speed and managed to maintain my zone 2 heart rate till KM 30 which kept me well on time for my sub 4. That euphoric feeling will be something to remember.

A tough moment was when I had to untie my loose but stuck shoe laces which took a bit of time off. The loose laces was causing my feet to slide around inside the shoe too much to land properly causing my ankles to get really sore.

Maple: Achieved my PB for the full marathon (FM) at 5 hours 14 mins shaving 28 minutes from my previous record at KLSCM 2019.

ToughASIA: How did you plan your water and refuelling stations and did you have any support during this race?

Chris: Self-support. I placed my table and ice box at the car park where my run loop route would pass every 2 – 3km. Therefore, making it easier to plan for consistent fuelling.

ToughASIA: How many others joined you in running the marathon at your venue?

Chris: My wife and three other friends joined me for the full marathon. Few other friends started later for the shorter distances.

Read Also: Shasha Ran the Full Marathon at KLSCM VR 2020 But It Was Not Counted

Teamwork: After his run, husband Chris turned personal butler to support wife Maple.

ToughASIA: How do you find completing a marathon in a real life race compared to a virtual race?

Chris: Planning and executing is much easier in a virtual race as compared to the real life races. Fuel is always spot on, and the route can always be familiar. Whereas real races tend to have the challenge factor, especially the unexpected climbs before the finish line, plus having to carry your own gels on you is another chore.

ToughASIA: How did you record your distance? What distance did you complete when running compared to the distance recorded in the KLSCM VR app?

Chris: Used my Suunto 9 to record my run. I did extra just incase stopping at 42.8km where the KLSCM app rounded it down to 42.1km. Was a close call!

Maple: Using my Suunto Spartan Trainer GPS smartwatch. I ran 43km and 43km was recorded in the app as well.

Read Also: MIND GAP: Stay Motivated And Get a Workout Buddy

Although Andrew did not break his personal record, he came close to it in the KLSCM VR 2020.

He progressed from a non-runner to a runner, and then became a regular at the annual KL marathon throughout the years. From short distances to the full marathon, Andrew Choa too could not relinquish the opportunity to take part in the KLSCM VR 2020.

ToughASIA: What inspired you to run in this KLSCM virtual run? What distance did you choose?

Andrew: Half Marathon (21.1KM). Yearly “must-do” race and at least to continue my running streak for KLSCM.

ToughASIA: What route or venue did you choose for this race and why?

Andrew: Taman Tasik Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur (2.6km loop) because it is a flat and easy route. Started at 4am to avoid the crowd and massive traffic that started to pour in by 6am. Also to emulate around the same flag-off time of the live event.

Read Also: Looking‌ ‌Into‌ ‌The‌ ‌Running‌ ‌Life‌ ‌of‌ ‌Tasha‌ ‌Jacky‌

Andrew is a regular at the annual KL marathon.

ToughASIA: Did you have any proud achievements or tough moments during this race?

Andrew: Wasn’t able to break my Sub 2 PB 1:58:59 (wasn’t aiming for it) but was very happy to achieve the next best thing (2nd best HM PB at 2:00:57). Took it easy on the run as there is no stress to be at the start line on time and manoeuvring through the crowd like in a real race. Took it as an experience to prepare myself on “how not to panic” in future races.

ToughASIA: How did you record your distance? What distance did you complete when running compared to the distance recorded in the KLSCM VR app?

Andrew: Used Garmin 935 and linked it to the app. Recorded 2:00:57 at 21.1km. KLSCM VR app recorded 2:00:55 at 21.1km. (Got a discount of 2 seconds).

Read Also: World Champion Ultramarathoner Kilian Jornet Is Not A Machine After All

In December 2019, Allison Yee last had her major race at the SEA Games in Phillipines, representing our country in the duathlon which consists of running and cycling.

Since then, the 24-year-old turned to her books to complete her bachelor degree and restarted her small business in home-baked goods based in Kuantan, Pahang.

ToughASIA: What inspired you to run in this KLSCM virtual run?

Allison: Friends and peers signed up and encouraged me to join the fun in the 10km race.

ToughASIA: What route / venue did you choose for this race and why?

Allison: Desa Park City in Kuala Lumpur was my choice route as most of my RC Coaching buddies were running there at 7:30am. Furthermore, some of the boys were attempting their best 10km, which would make it more fun and exciting to be there. We were looping together with other runners, cheering as we passed one another.

Read Also: Bukit Pelindung, Taman Gelora, Teluk Cempedak: Allison Yee’s Favourite Running Spots In Kuantan

It is always more fun to have buddies join you on the run.

ToughASIA: Did you have any proud achievements or tough moments during this race?

Allison: Every run is a bonus to me at this point, especially when you still get to run together with friends in this social distancing situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, I was able to help a friend of mine achieve her targeted 10km timing while we ran together, plus I managed to hit my target timing as well!

Despite the fact that I have been being busy working and not have been racing for so long, I would say I am happy to be able to help my friend while running for myself.

It was a bit tough to hold my pace at the last 2km to be honest, but I managed to crunch through it with the cheers and clapping by my teammates as they ran towards me, looping from the other direction. It felt like racing again! How I miss it.

ToughASIA: How did you record your distance? What distance did you complete when running compared to the distance recorded in the KLSCM VR app?

Allison: I was using my Garmin Forerunner 945 to record my run. It recorded right on the dot, 10.00km.

Photos provided by Chris Khoo, Andrew Choa and Allison Yee.