One key motivating element we miss in live running races this year is the ever-friendly pacers especially at the highly anticipated KL Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM) annual. In the 2019 edition, Ewegene Tan was tasked as the 4-hour-pacer but failed to live up to his billing.
Although the Taiping-born runner had run his second marathon distance at KLSCM 2014 and joined four times more after, every race is indeed different. Many might not realise that pacers have a tough duty running not only for themselves, but to serve the others in their timing group.
ToughASIA ran the long distance to catch up with Ewegene on his redemption KLSCM VR race experience.
ToughASIA: What inspired you to run the marathon in this KLSCM virtual run?
Ewegene: Well, I had to redeem myself with a good run at KLSCM whether in the live race or a virtual one. This is because in 2019, I was given the chance to be the 4-hour-pacer in the marathon (42.195km) for the third time. However, I did not manage to recover in time after running in the Tor Des Geant (TORX) in Italy less than a month prior to the race.
As a result, I had to abandon my pacer duty at KM24 and walked all the way to the finish line. Since then, it has been in my mind that I had to redeem myself after the trust that have been put on me.
Additionally, I felt the need to tell those who had placed their trust on me, that “you did not make the wrong choice, but perhaps I had made the wrong decision”.
ToughASIA: What route did you choose for this race and why?
Ewegene: I designed and ran a course here in Taiping, Perak that would have less traffic and most importantly a course that would allow me to hydrate every 5KM. I started the run at 4pm as I was taking the run as a training run which meant that I was starting it less than 24hrs since my last long run a day earlier.
ToughASIA: How did you plan your water and refuelling stations and did you have any support during this race?
Ewegene: I had a friend to pace me till KM20 and two other friends to support me half way through at the water station which I had set up.
ToughASIA: Did you have any proud achievements or tough moments during this race?
Ewegene: The tough moment of the race was having to run the last 22KM alone and especially when it rained heavily during the race. It was also hard trying to maintain a 4.50-5.05/KM pace throughout as I did not have enough training in long runs prior to this race.
Well, I would say the high moment is being able to keep to the 4.50-5.05/KM pace for 30KM and still being able to run thereafter.
No one says “It’s No Man’s Land” after 30KM in a marathon race for no reason.
ToughASIA: How did you record your distance?
Ewegene: I recorded my run with my Garmin 5X.
ToughASIA: How do you find completing a marathon in a real life race compared to a virtual race?
Ewegene: This is my second virtual race after the Great Virtual Run Across Tennesse (GVRAT1000). Running a virtual race for me is certainly harder incomparable to a physical race.
In a virtual race, one needs to motivate oneself especially if one is running against the clock which is something we could be assisted with during a real physical race.
As a fervent runner who participates in running races locally and abroad, the 46-year-old appreciates KLSCM as the biggest marathon in Malaysia and one that is always special. This goes to show the people behind-the-scenes plans the event meticulously and executes it well each time, to ensure runners do perform to the best of their ability on race day.
Hence, it is certainly a platform to race and not just an ordinary event year in year out, said Ewegene.
Photos were provided by Ewegene Tan.