Run 54 : Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

RTW Malay 1

Please give generously to Cancer Research :

Date : 22nd March, 2015

Time :  59’ 19”

Total distance run to date : 540 km

Run map and details :

I saw this on the BBC sports website the other day in reference to Malaysia:

“Situated just north of the equator, and pretty much at sea level, the heat, accompanied by high humidity, is all-pervading.

It envelopes you, permeates you, overwhelms you. And for the drivers, it takes on a different dimension again.”

From that last sentence, you’ll have gathered that the article was about the Malaysian Grand Prix – rather than my run –  but the quote does a good job of describing the impact heat and humidity can have on athletic endeavour.

But that wasn’t my only problem. Battered, bruised and very tired sums up how I felt as I stared up at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur – picture above. And it didn’t help that I had a lump literally the size of half an orange on my right thigh. A reminder of the previous day’s fall in Yangon that was making it hard to walk, let alone run.

The Petronas Towers are pretty impressive, and a good excuse to delay, but eventually the procrastination had to end and I set off – gingerly. My plan was to try to see as much of KL as I could in one 10k run. A plan that didn’t last long as I don’t know KL and I had to keep stopping to look at my ‘increasingly soaked in sweat even though it was in my running belt’ map.

I did make it as far as the KL Tower and then to the Bukit Bintang area. But by now the map was starting to fall apart in my hands. And I was getting tired of stopping every couple of minutes to squint at it through sweaty blurry eyes.

I therefore decided to stay in the Bintang area. Which was a mistake as the streets were crowded and I was frequently reduced to walking pace – particularly on Jalan Alor – famous for its huge variety of restaurants and hawker food with tables spilling out across the street.

And then, for some reason, my Garmin stopped recording my distance for about 500m. All of a sudden I was up against my old friend – the self-imposed 1 hour time limit. I had to get to less crowded streets where I could pick up some speed and actually cover some ground.

These runs can be great. But they can also, as in this case, be miserable. Running round half-lit, nondescript back streets feeling knackered and short of food, water and breath is no fun. I couldn’t think of anything except getting to the end of yet another run – within the hour. Every 100 metres was a struggle and I just wanted to go home and stop this ridiculous running round the world.

But eventually the end came – after 59 + minutes which felt more like 2 hours. There’s not much more to say. I got the tube back to the Chinatown area where I was staying. My map was unusable by this time and no-one had heard of my hotel so it took me ages to find it. I was exhausted by the time I got to my room.

A quick shower then I dragged myself out to look for somewhere to eat. And found a place serving Indian food with lots of blokes watching Premiership football. Didn’t serve beer but where’s there’s food and football, there’s life. Even better, I now only had 2 more runs to endure on this trip before the flight home..

About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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