The inaugural Runkawi 2018 was held on 14 July 2018, on the beautiful island of Langkawi, Malaysia. There were three distances on offer - a half marathon (21 km), a 10 km run and a 5 km fun run.
Billed as Langkawi’s first-night run, the 21 km was scheduled to flag off at 6.00pm, whilst the 10km and 5km fun runs were scheduled to flag off at 6.20 pm and 6.40 pm respectively.
With event partners such as the Langkawi Development Authority, the event organiser, Z1, promoted Runkawi as a “runcation”-a run “within the convenience of a weekend getaway”. This may explain the choice of a night run, to allow runners to travel to participate in the race on Saturday, and leave on Sunday after the conclusion of the race.
Participants were also offered deals and promotions with race partners to see more of Langkawi during the race weekend.
As part of my “runcation”, with the kind assistance of LADA, I took part in several outdoor adventures in Landkawi.
The first, Ungawa Legendary EcoAdventures, was the most exhilarating. Billed as “Langkawi’s Greatest zipline Adventure”, I enjoyed the “Big Waterfall Adventure” tour, which consisted of 3 swing bridges and 12 thrilling ziplines of up to 200 metres in length, one of which flew 80 metres high above the Seven Wells waterfall.
Located within Malaysia’s only UNESCO geopark in Langkawi, the views from the ziplines were stunning. The zipline guides, called the Sky Rangers, were helpful, fun and safety conscious and made this experience a cut above many others.
Island Hopping Jet Ski Tour
On the Saturday morning of the race, I took part an island hopping jet ski tour run by Mega Water Sports.
After a safety briefing and a quick practice run, we set off for an island hopping tour, piloting our own jet skis. This is not for everyone, as jet skis are powerful machines and the guide, a very friendly chap, set a fast pace from the start.
If you can handle the pace and the waves, then this 4 hour long tour, is for you. We visited two islands, and came close to the cliffs of another one to enjoy the scenery up close.
Langkawi Sky Cab
Prior to my departure from Langkawi, I managed to ride the SkyCab, a cable car that brings visitors up the Machinchang mountain range.
The views from the top station were beautiful. From the top station, I also went on to the SkyBridge, a curved suspension bridge above the Machinchang mountain range, which gave a different perspective of the views.
In line with the “runcation” theme, two running clinics were conducted prior to the race by running coach Liew Wei Yong, the founder and Managing Director of Train Live Compete from Singapore.
Cash prizes were offered to the top 5 finishers of all 6 of the 21 km categories, with the top prize of MYR 1200 going to the winners of the men’s, women’s, men’s veteran, women’s veteran, men’s (international) and women’s (international) categories.
The top prizes for the men’s and women’s 10 km categories was MYR 800, with the top 5 finishers also being offered cash prizes.
The run was graced by Tengku Sarafudin Badlishah, the Crown Prince of Kedah, who not only flagged off the 21km and 10km runs, but gamely participated in the 5km fun run, together with his brother, Tunku Shazuddin Ariff.
The Flag Off
The first to be flagged off were the 21km runners. The flag off was preceded by a warm-up conducted by Wei Yong, who proceeded to run in the 21km. The half marathon was flagged off at 6.02 pm, followed by the 10km and the 5 km fun run at intervals of 5 to 7 minutes.
A number of Singapore runners were spotted in the crowd.
The Race Routes
The race routes for all distances started and finished at the car park of the official hotel partner, Century Langkasuka Resort and overlapped, with the 5 km and 10 km runners making a U-turn at their respective half-way points.
True to the “runcation” theme, the 21 km route then continued on through the popular tourist beach area of Pantai Cenang before making its way back to the start point.
Coach Wei Yong, who finished 4th in the women's (international) category (congratulations!), commented it was,
“A run that allows you to explore the streets of Langkawi”.
Roads were closed for the run, but cars were still spotted along the run route, especially as the night wore on for the 21km runners. Race organisers did provide some escorts on motorbikes for runners. Future runners, especially those used to running along brightly lit streets, should note that parts of the race route were in the darkness where there were fewer street lights. The headlights of oncoming cars did not improve matters. Future runners may also wish to consider wearing safety lights to make themselves clearly visible to drivers and motorcyclists.
As for hydration points, these were placed every 2.5 km, which was a good interval. On the flip side, there were no toilets along the race route, so runners who over hydrated may have suffered as a result!
At the finish line, runners were greeted with their well-deserved medal, isotonic drinks, and an ice-cream. A medic station and an ambulance were also on standby.
Concert and Food Stalls
A post-run concert was held on the beach at the Century Langkasuka Resort. Food stalls were also set-up for runners and supporters to fuel up after the run, creating post-run carnival atmosphere.
Promoting a run as a “runcation” is a great concept that can be built upon further in future, especially with a beautiful tropical island as the setting.
What's your take on Runkawi Night Run 2018?