Friday, June 29, 2012


Community running project “Larian 40 Taman, 100 Kilometer” reached its halfway point on 23rd June, 2012 when the 20th run was held at Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir in Kuala Lumpur. Launched on the 14th of January 2012, the project has held runs in eight different states including the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Selangor, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Perak, Penang and Sabah.

Initiated by avid-runner and co-host of TV3’s morning talkshow “Malaysia Hari Ini”, M.Zulkifli Abd. Jalil, “Larian 40 Taman, 100 Kilometer” is a community running project that promotes healthy lifestyle and aims to get Malaysians all across the country to run at their neighbourhood parks with friends and family.

“We are definitely on track to hit 40 different parks by year-end which is our objective,” says Zulkifli. “We have also covered a distance of 58kms in the 20 runs so far, which is slightly ahead of the pace for the targeted 100kms.”

However, Zulkifli admits that response to the runs have been rather mixed. “At some parks, I get up to 50 people running with me, as was the case at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, while at other venues, only four or five would turn up. But this in no way has hampered my determination. I know it’s quite a commitment for casual runners to wake up early in the morning on weekends,” he says.

The runs are usually held on Saturday mornings and no prior registration is required. Everyone with a good pair of shoes and the desire to run or brisk walk is invited to join Zulkifli and other participants for a minimum distance of 2.5km.  The invitations are sent out mainly via social media platforms including twitter and facebook.

Zulkifli himself has been enlightened by the experience so far. “The project has taken me to parks I had only heard about, and getting to run at all these places have been absolutely wonderful. Some of our parks are really world-class and it’s a shame if they are under-utilised,” he says. “And that really is part of the objective of this project, to promote a healthy lifestyle and to highlight the fact that more family-centric activities should and could be held at public parks rather than shopping malls.

“It also feels good when people tell me that this project has inspired them to finally start running”.

The project is self-funded by Zulkifli and at most venues, participants are also given free T-shirts as mementos. “Sometimes, I also do lucky draws just to make it more exciting. I’m also happy to see that the project has managed to put runners in touch with each other as well as making new friends.”

While the list of the next 20 parks has yet to be determined, Zulkifli invites everyone to visit the project’s blog at for the latest info, or to suggest venues to run. “To date, more than 300 people have joined the runs collectively, and I would like to see more Malaysians join us for the next 20 runs!”

For more information, you can also follow  and “like” .


1.      Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya, Selangor
2.      Taman Merdeka, Johor Bahru, Johor
3.      Taman Rekreasi & Terapi Pantai Purnama, Port Dickson, N.Sembilan
4.      Taman Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
5.      Taman KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
6.      Taman Subang Ria, Subang Jaya, Selangor
7.      Taman Botanikal, Melaka
8.      Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur
9.      Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
10.  Taman Tasik Shah Alam, Selangor
11.  Taman Tasik Permaisuri, Kuala Lumpur
12.  Taman Rekreasi Hutan Bandar, Johor Bahru, Johor
13.  FRIM, Kuala Lumpur
14.  Central Park, Bandar Utama, Selangor
15.  Taman Rekreasi Sultan Abdul Aziz, Ipoh, Perak
16.  Perdana Park, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
17.  Taman Putra Perdana, Putrajaya
18.  Taman Perbandaran, Pulau Pinang
19.  Taman Rekreasi Seksyen 7, Shah Alam, Selangor
20.  Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012: The Mother Of All 10k Battles (Sort Of)

The SCKLM was the second event I took part in last year after I first started running. Of course I ran the 5k Fun Run, and I still remember the excitement on that day; the very early morning preparation, the feeling of anticipation, and the run itself, which turned out to be pretty good for me.

I was a little ho-hum about this year's event and actually missed the "public registration" period. But since Media Prima has a special arrangement with the organisers, I submitted my name for the 10k under the corporate registration exercise. But here's the tricky bit; I could have sworn I clicked on the "10k Crusie" (for those expecting a time of 90mins), but when I got the race kit, I was mysteriously "upgraded" to "10k Speed" (for those expecting a time of 60mins -- which was never gonna happen for me, for now).

Plus, all the extra weight training has somewhat jumbled up my cardio routine. Ah well, I thought, no shame in finishing at the back of the pack. I might even get a better time running with all these speedsters. BUT, the stakes was somehow unexpectedly raised...

I am buddies with this rather awesome running group called TT Kuda Runners who are based at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (FYI, even our national marathoner Shaharudin Hashim is part of this posse). And one of the group members is this dude known as "Kadok Kings", a really friendly guy who befriended me since my first running event in Putrajaya. Well, Kadok mentioned in the TT fb group that we had both had ran at Brooks and Newton this year, and the "score" was tied at 1-1. Suddenly, a "battle" was brewing!

I upped the stakes even further by putting up the pic above and dubbed this SCKLM as the "winner takes all" battle for the ages. Haha. I mean, people were talking about 40min 10k and the full marathons, and here we were, talking smack about our battle at the back of the pack. But in fact, the challenge rapidly drew interest from those who knew us. Yes, the pressure was on!

Anyway, I woke up at 3am on Sunday morning to, first and foremost, watch the Euro quarterfinal match between Spain and France. A yawner of a game, if I'm being honest. As usual, I gobbled down some peanut butter sandwiches for the much-needed energy and lots of water. Did a bit of stretching as well before taking a shower and suiting up for the run.

I left home around 5am, and it was actually drizzling along the way. Wah, a literally cool run this will be, I thought. Unlike last year where I made the rookie mistake of coming from the NPE and basically got stopped from getting into the city, resulting in my having to take two trains from Brickfields; this time I got in through MEX and straight on down to Jalan Ampang and parked somewhere near Kotaraya.

Then I walked towards Dataran Merdeka from Masjid Jamek, and saw that the Half Marathon folks were getting ready for their run.

I then continued my walk to the 10k starting point near Tugu Negara. By this time, I felt like wanting to pee continuously. I did exactly that twice along the way, and yet I still felt like I needed to go again. Even worse, I also started feeling like I needed to pass motion! It became rather desperate for me as the clock ticked towards 6.30am.

I blocked out all these unwanted urges and started to stretch again. And where was my "enemy" Kadok Kings? I didn't see him actually, and I honestly thought that the "battle" had fizzled out. I was in the middle of the pack and there was no way to see where he was with a few thousand other runners all around me. So I just recited the Al Fatihah, a short doa, and started my run as the gun went off.

The first km was pretty good. As we passed by the Carcosa turn-in, the breeze even felt icy-cold. Seriously! At 2kms, I saw someone in the distance that looked like Kadok from the back. But I wasn't really sure cos the dude was wearing a vest, and Kadok usually ran shirtless (you'd have to ask HIM why).

Then it was up the flyover passing the museum and down on to Jalan Bangsar in front of KL Hilton. My pace was quite good by my standards, and I was really enjoying the run. Then it was into Little India where the smell of curry became an instant distraction. But I didn't let up on my pace as we went down the turning into Federal Highway.

The first water station came at the 4km marker. I took a couple of gulps, and suddenly things changed for me. Strangely, instead of giving me a boost, I instantly felt a tad tired and sluggish. Maybe it's because I had to completely stop to grab the drink. But I did recover and got back on to my original pace.

THEN I saw him at the 5km mark! A shirtless Kadok running on his own. Whoa! The battle was back on, I thought. I pondered over whether I should "hide" myself or let him know I was around. Being a gentleman, I decided on the former. I ran past him and simply muttered, "Kadok". The look on his face when he realised it was me was simply priceless. "Adoi! Tetiba dia ada pulak!" he said (or something like that).

Things instantly got serious then.  At this point in time as well, I realised I was on pace for a Personal Best for a 10k. Not 10k event, but 10k flat for myself. My previous best was 1hr 18mins or thereabouts, and I was confident I could beat that time.

We went up the flyover past the old KTM station towards the Masjid Negara roundabout, and my first big test was just up front -- Bukit Aman! Going up the previous flyovers were a tad tricky, but this hill was gonna test me good. After Pusat Islam, the hill came and this was where I first started walking.

To be honest, I never looked back to see where Kadok was, but I could sense he was around. Halfway up the hill, I ran again, just to psycho him out (cos he knew hills were my weakness). One of Larian 40 Taman's main runners, Daud then suddenly came from nowhere and ran past me (he likes hills apparently, pfft). He pointed out Kadok to me and took a couple of pictures. I benefited from his tow but then he quickly disappeared.

We were in Lake Gardens now and as soon as the route became flat again, I re-started my run. We then passed by the 10k Leisure and 5k Fun Run folks near Tugu Negara. Damn it, these peeps haven't even started? I mean, the sun was already burning then!

Anyway, upfront was the next water station at 7km. But nooo, I didn't want to hurt my momentum again and didn't stop for a drink. Instead, I grabbed one cup from one of the volunteer's outstretched arm, but probably consumed only a couple of drops of the water before throwing it away. Kadok would later tell me that he had planned on stopping for a drink and breaking open his powergel but abandoned his plan when he saw me not stopping. Haha.

Then it was straight past Bank Rakyat and to the roundabout. And guess who I saw there at the 8km marker? Kadok's wife!! Who sportingly took this pic...

I started walking for a bit after that, but opposite DBKL, I basically kicked into another gear. Which didn't last long, really. I still didn't look back, but I knew Kadok wasn't too far behind.

When we reached the 9km marker, the Nike + told me my pace and I instantly smiled. I was on pace for that 10k Personal Best. We then made the u-turn at Pertama and was on the home stretch on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. And a few hundred metres later, we got to 10km, and I would have done my best for the distance so far.

At that point, that was all that mattered to me. BUT the run wasn't finished yet. I figured there must be another at least 800 metres to the finish line (God damnit!), and the Mother of all 10k Battles was still ongoing.

But I did notice that unlike last year when there were all sorts of bands and cheering squads, cheering us on for this entire stretch, they were disappointingly missing this year. I remembered getting a last-gasp adrenaline rush as we ran to the cheers of this lot. So that was a bit of a downer really. Instead I had to depend on Katy Perry's "Firework" on repeat for the same effect.

I still didn't look back then, but just before we got to the old Mahkamah Sesyen and with only a few hundred metres to go, Kadok actually overtook me! Holy smokes! I then had to make a decision; to simply let it go, or find something in me to make a mad dash for it. I chose to make a mad dash for it.

And for the last 300 metres, there we were, making a mad dash for the finish line, just like school kids at the padang trying to outdo each other. It was mental. It was childish. But it was nothing less than freaking awesome.

Every bit of my body was shaking like hell as I ran beyond the permissible level. But probably with 50 metres to go, Kadok actually gave up and stopped. The momentum carried me forward, but I then stopped as well. We caught our breaths, and seeing how close things were, I waited for Kadok, and we crossed the finish line together.

It was a draw. An honourable, and memorable draw.

We shook hands and paid each other compliments. I looked at my iPhone and saw that I had clocked 1hr 20mins for the 10.8km. Which meant, my pace of 7.25 was the best I had ever done for a 10k. Better than the Borneo Marathon, and definitely better than Brunei.

After taking our goodie bags, we then wandered off on our own for a bit before meeting up again near the old Mahkamah Sesyen to wait for the other awesome runners of TT Kuda. People who knew us were anxious to know the result of our battle, and we were happy to tell the story.

No, we didn't run the Full Marathon or even the Half, but we were two not-so-speedy men pushing ourselves beyond our limits. And what an amazing feeling that was...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Train "Live" In KL

So, Train arrived and everyone got on board. Was it a good ride? Here's where the 2,500-strong crowd this past Saturday night might have different things to say.

But before I get into my own verdict, I must say that I've been quite a fan of this San Francisco band. Not a HUGE fan, but theirs is the kind of music I totally dig. The kind of music I would MAKE if my life had somehow taken a different turn and I decided to become one of those enigmatic, brooding singer/songwriter. Haha.

So yeah, when I heard the news that they were coming to KL for the first time, I just had to shell out to moolah to watch them "live".

Those "chill out" zone tix of course meant we were on the upper terrace at KL Live. The crowd was the expected urban-looking Gen-Xers with a good percentage of the younger lot as well. There was no opening band slated to play and the gig itself only started 15mins late.

So it was straight to the music, and Pat Monahan and co blasted open with "50 Ways To Say Goodbye' and "This'll Be My Year", both pretty good songs that I quite like from their latest album "California 37".

Then it was time for the mega-hit "If It's Love", and if there were concerns that a large part of the audience were non-fans who were there due to free tickets, they were quickly dispelled as almost everyone enthusiastically sang along to the infectiously catchy tune.

But here's the thing for me. I just felt something was missing at that point. Unlike Switchfoot last year at some shoddy joint in Jalan Ipoh (yes, I'm still sore about that), I just did not feel the same sort of overwhelming energy. I mean, Switchfoot came out and just ROCKED the socks off everyone; no ifs or buts.

After a while though, it finally hit me. Here was the problem: it simply WASN'T loud enough. Yup. Standing on the upper terrace, I didn't feel my heart pounding and my ears assaulted by the appropriate decibel level. I also felt that the band, and in fact Monahan himself, were a tad too laidback. Monahan struggled a bit on some of the songs earlier on, and even forgot some of the words to one of the tunes. He did keep the crowd whoo-ing then by cleverly signing merchandise on stage and giving them away. So I just felt that the songs were carrying them instead of the other way round, at least half a dozen tunes into the set.

BUT, business did eventually pick up and once in the groove, Train did deliver the goods, and then some. The famously-impassive Malaysian audience really played its part and lifted the whole experience a few notches up. When the gals in the crowd accompanied Pat on "Marry Me", he declared "you guys just kicked Manchester's ass" to the delight of everyone. (Some might say this was simply "propah" though, hehe)

The highlight of the night was of course when they broke out "Drops Of Jupiter" to delirious reaction from the crowd. And I must admit that it was a magical moment listening to the breakthrough song performed "live". Other tunes performed included "Hey Soul Sister", "Drive By", "Meet Virginia", "Bruises" and "Mermaid".

So, my final verdict? I give it a rather modest "B". A good show with great songs, but yeah, I just wish it was a little louder :  )

Monday, June 18, 2012

Run For Tuan Senang Besar at SCKLM

It's now less than one week to this year's Standard Chartered KL Marathon. Another record-breaking number of entrants are expected again and the buzz is nicely building up.

A big number of runners that I know make this THE main event on their own running calendars. It could be their only event or the perfect occasion to record their Personal Best. Whatever it is, it's always interesting to read post-event stories on why people run the SCKLM.

This year, one of my friends and ex-colleague, Lotfi, along with many of us will be running in memory of our late friend, Kharis @ Tuan Senang Besar.

I've blogged about arwah before and what happened to him HERE.

Lotfi has also set up a page that collects donation for NASOM (The National Autism Society of Malaysia). Please visit the page HERE and do spread the word. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hard Rock Hotel, Penang

So, a couple of weekends ago, we headed up north for a short school holidays getaway. Our venue of choice? The Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Feringghi, Penang! Funny thing is, I've had a few opportunities to stay here via work, but the timing was never right. So this was gonna be my first time along with the fam.

We took a flight on AirAsia which was filled with screaming kids, so thank God the journey was only for an hour and nothing more. We then took a taxi to the hotel for RM69. And really, a BIG chunk of our budget  was for cab fares, but more on that after this. And oh, I actually booked the whole package through airasiago, so it was pretty convenient.

We reached the hotel close to an hour later, but hey, instantly we were greeted by a carnival-like atmosphere complete with running-kids, chasing-parents and cool, loud music. Check-in was a breeze and we then went up to the room to check things out.

The room wasn't exactly huge but they're clever enough to hide the fact with cool decor. It was also well equipped with flat-screen TV, iPod dock and DVD player. And the seaview was pretty awesome.

By then we were also famished, so we headed to the Pizzeria. There are four main makan places here; the lobby lounge, Starz cafe where would have our breakfast buffet, Hard Rock Cafe (duh) and the Pizzeria.

Naturally we ordered the pizza and it turned to be quite good. The ingredients were fresh and it was wood oven-roasted to perfection. If only they had some sort of hot sauce though!

We hung out for a bit after that and had a big dinner at Hard Rock Cafe later in the day, and bought some stuff at the Rock Shop.

After that we just lepak-ed by the pool, looking at the stars with "live" music playing from the lobby in the background.

The next day, it was time to check out the breakfast buffet (which was pretty decent) and the other stuff on offer. The Kids Club had a full program if the young ones want to join, so Tia started the day with an art class. Daddy meanwhile, went to the gym : )

Afternoon came, and we headed out to town for some yummy Penang food. We took a taxi there and told the guy our intentions. He suggested to wait for us and even took us to the beca "stand" for our joyride.

The famous Penang Road chendul was the first stop. There was a bit of a queue but it was well worth it when our chendul and ABC came. Simply out of this world!.

Then it was off to Line Clear nasi kandar. An even LONGER line queue awaited us, so we just had to savour every single calorie-rich dish we ordered. Haha.

It was then back to the hotel, and in case you're wondering, the taxi fare came up to around RM130 while we also paid RM20 for the beca. It ain't cheap, I tell ya.

Pool action was up next. A major attraction here, the pools have a fun layout with slides and tubes for rent. Memamg best lah.

And at 5pm, it was time for the kids' foam party! RM20 to get in, it was great fun that's not usually available elsewhere.

In case you're wondering, the beach nearby is pretty decent but it's not for swimming because of  the less than crystal clear waters and jellyfish. But nice for a jog or a walk.

At night, we walked over to the makan area at Feringghi and tried out one of the restaurants. Still smarting from the fact that we missed out on some great seafood in Kota Kinabalu, I just had to order the lobster. Haha!

The next morning, we took a cab to Youth Park at Penang Botanical Gardens for the Larian 40 Taman. It was the same cab, and this time I had to fork out around RM90. Phew! After that we just took our time to chill and relax.

We checked-out at noon and the same cabbie to us to the airport. Overall, a good first experience at Hard Rock Hotel Penang. It really has everything for a good family holiday, but make sure you have enough moolah for cab fares if you want to venture elsewhere on the island. Will we return? Heck yeah!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Euro 2012 Starts Tonight! Catch The Matches On TV3 & ntv7!

Tonight's the night! 16 of Europe's best footballing nations go to battle to be crowned UEFA's champions of Europe! And you can catch the first game, Poland vs Greece, "live" on TV3 tonight at midnight.

Even better, if you don't have any plans yet, pop by Sri Pentas starting 8pm for the Euro Viewing Party, with loads of games and entertainment, plus a chance to win a trip to Old Trafford, Manchester!

TV3 will be showing 13 "live" matches while ntv7 will have the rest on delayed telecast. You can also catch all the games online, on

And specially for Euro 2012, TV3 has invited former Man U and Arsenal player, and the first Black player to play for England, Viv Anderson, to be its guest pundit.

I had the pleasure of talking to Anderson and Abu Bakar Atan yesterday on MHI but the 10 minutes flew by just like that. Tak cukup lah!

But really, Anderson's presence will definitely spice things up for TV3's coverage of the tournament. Here we go!


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