Running has always been her form of therapy to destress from the hustle and bustle of modern day life. Not to be defeated by this pandemic, Salmah Hasan, popularly known as Shasha put on her running shoes to run the virtual marathon for the KLSCM Virtual Run 2020 but as it turned out, her effort was not counted.
Since 2012, Shasha took up running competitively and was looking forward to participating in the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM) until the COVID-19 pandemic robbed everyone of live sporting events this year.
Born in Terengganu, the 32-year-old has completed more than 15 half-marathons (21.1km) and 4 marathons (42.195km). She would normally plan to participate in at least a marathon every year, if she is not racing in IRONMAN triathlon races. The analyst in the oil and gas industry can usually be spotted running on her favourite routes around Putrajaya and Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur.
ToughASIA caught up with Shasha to find out about her KLSCM VR experience.
ToughASIA: What inspired you to run the marathon in this KLSCM virtual run?
Shasha: Self-improvement will always be my inspiration. Because running is my definition of therapy, it is my time to escape and relax. It makes me a morning person and I can start my day early and feeling the day longer than ever.
ToughASIA: What venue did you choose for this race and why?
Shasha: I chose to run at Putrajaya and started at 7 am. Primarily, because it is near to my house, safe, and it has a big area for a long run. Furthermore, some of my friends chose this place for the run as well.
ToughASIA: Are there any proud achievements or moments which you experienced during this race?
Shasha: I finished the marathon within 4 hours.
ToughASIA: How did you plan your ‘water and refuel stations’ and did you have any support during this race?
Shasha: My water station was my car where I placed all my refuelling needs such as water, gels, power bars and towels. Furthermore, I carried one small bottle with me and some gels for quick refuel while running and to stay hydrated.
ToughASIA: How do you find completing a marathon in a real life race, compared to a virtual run (VR)?
Shasha: This is my first VR for the full marathon (FM). All this while, I’ve always always ran a real-life race or Half Marathon VR.
VR has its own challenges as we need to plan for our own water station, safety and time for run. We are fully responsible for ourselves as compared to joining live events.
Furthermore, the environment is quite different due to this COVID-19 pandemic where we cannot really have a live event with supporters, bands and other entertainment that can boost our spirit to finish the race.
ToughASIA: How did you record your distance? What distance did you complete when running compared to the distance recorded in the KLSCM VR app?
Shasha: I recorded my run using my Coros Watch. I thought I had stopped at 42.1km, but after I synced my watch to the KLSCM app, it was recorded as 42.02 km. Unfortunately, this means I am short in distance by 180 meters according to KLSCM rules. Not too sure what happened as it happened quite fast.
ToughASIA: Did you contact the KLSCM organisers and has there been any feedback from them?
Shasha: I have emailed the organiser and informed them what had happened. I am still waiting for their response as I know the system is quite busy with high numbers of queries from participants.
Nevertheless, I am satisfied and truly thankful for finishing the run despite of the issue that occur. Accepted or not, I am more than happy to know that I have run 42km this week and I take it as part of my training.
Who knows I might run again next weekend before they close the system (only if I am fully recovered from this FM and fit enough to run another FM).
Photos provided by Shasha.