As far as I could remember, I had never run a marathon in my entire life before. Not a single one. So when a friend called me up to ask if I was interested in running for this year's Borneo International Marathon, I was quite worried. I mean, despite my lack of physical training due to my tight schedule, I knew I was gonna say YES. After all, it would all be done in the name of charity.
So, YES it was, I was set to run for the 21 KM half-marathon. It seemed to be the only relevant category for me. Wait a minute, 21 KM?? I can’t even run any more than 3 rounds of the standard field track in my once-in-a-blue-moon after-work runs! And that is only like how long? 1 KM..?
As the day of the marathon was nearing, the urge of withdrawing was getting stronger and stronger.
OK. I'm gonna be frank here.
At 9pm on THE DAY BEFORE the marathon, somebody took this photo of me and this self-proclaimed rapper celebrating a friend's wedding at the KDCA Hall in Penampang.
At 1am ON THE DAY of the marathon, I was caught doing this.
and 3 HOURS later, I was a struggling zombie. Running for the marathon suddenly didn’t seem to be a good idea.
It was October 11, 2009, 5.30 am.
Somehow, I found myself at the starting line, desperately thinking of ways to finish all the 21 kilometers.
I tried to think positively by having all of these in mind:
I. I am not running for nothing. It will all be done in the name of charity, something that I had rarely done in the past.
II. I am doing it to wardoff some pounds. After all, I have been partying hard in the past few weeks.
III. Some of the participants seem to be either too fat or too old to run. What makes me think I cannot do it? If the overweight Kenny Sia can do it, why can’t I?
IV. I gotta challenge myself. I gotta prove that I’m NOT that old and I’ve still got THE ENERGY. :-)
My ultimate goal was of course to finish the run. My second goal was to finish it in less than one three and half hours so that I'd be awarded the finisher medal.
For the first 3 km, I surprised myself by running without a single stop. The dawn was breaking over the horizon and I still had enough energy to savor the beauty of the morning glory at the Likas Bay.
By the time I was passing by the KK Plaza, a tinge of exhaustion was beginning to wash over me. I had covered 5 km, and I was still doing alright. It was another surprise.
After running past the Wawasan Plaza, I was beginning to make occasional stops. Tiredness was beginning to take charge. But still, I managed to muster up enough courage to keep running.
Later, I was at the Sutera Harbour. More stops ensued. My stamina seemed to be doing alright but my calf muscles were giving me some problem. My self-perseverance was being tested to the fullest but I still kept running. People were getting scarce to each other and somehow I could not even bring myself to look behind me.
By the time I was reaching the turning point at Tanjung Aru, I knew I already covered half of the distance. Now all I had to do was to run back to the starting line. Accept that it wasn’t easy to do.
Going back to the starting/finishing line had proved to be much more grueling. By now, my muscles were straining all over. I just kept running and running until my calf muscles were too painful to bear then I’d stop for awhile. Then I’d run again.
Once in a while I’d see a participant being picked up by an ambulance and there were times when I was really tempted to do the same. Really really tempted actually.
Over the last few kilometers, I knew I‘d make it to the finishing line. But then, my calf muscles were so painful that I had to DRAG myself to keep going.
The moment I saw this, I knew I was ALMOST THERE. I could hear people cheering me on.
By then, my legs were breaking to the point that even a single step was excruciatingly painful to make. I refused to give up. There was a jubilant feeling as I entered the Stadium of Likas and ran towards the finishing line.
I touched the finishing line at 8.48am. 21 kilometers in 3 hours and 18 minutes. I had achieved my goals. Not bad for somebody who had never done a marathon all his life.
Well, it really was a worthwhile experience. Despite my lack of training, I managed to finish the marathon. Yayyy!!
Apart from that, I got to see a lot of people – from my long lost friends,
To some of the most prominent people in the country,
To some of the most recognized faces in the internet world. Errr, wait a minute. Is that Kenny Sia?
Jipp: Hey Kenny. You really are fat in person, huh?
KS: What?? You really think so meh? At least I took the full marathon mahh. I even FINISHED it no problem ohh. Not like you. Half only!
Jipp: Errrr, good for you Kenny..
And most importantly, I got to discover myself in one way or another.