15 March 2024


Oh, it's been a while since my last post. Time flies. Time to add to my running diary here.

I cannot remember the last time I did a full road marathon. It was most likely before Covid. In 2023, I did one but it was a trail, the Mt. Ugo. I have had my fair share of 42K in the past both locally and internationally that I lost count.

So recently, I did the Standard Chartered Taipei Marathon (due to ease of travel since visa is not required anymore). I wish I had more weeks to train to come under 4 hours but it is what it is. This is by far my slowest marathon. It was however just good to be out there. 

The route was okay as it was something new. I had the initial impression that we would be running through the city but the route was mostly along a river. As I wont to say, the best way to see a city is on foot. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Weather was cold between 11C to 13C with wind chill in some open areas. I felt stupid not bringing my gloves and so I had to improvise by buying a pair of grey socks which I used as gloves. Not too fashionable but what the heck.

Will I go back? Nope. My eyes are set on completing the Abbot World Marathon Majors. I think the biggest challenge here is the Boston Marathon with strict qualifying time at my current age of 54. Well, let us see.

The best part after running a full mary is the food and drinks! Well, you have earned it. Cheers!

(Famous oyster omelette)

(Yong Kang beef noodles. One of the best!)

(Birthplace of what is now called Bubble tea)

There is a recent fuss (for lack of better term) about the rules in one of the trail races up North. The Race Rules now prohibits support crew, and this caused some uproar in our trail running community.

Although, I rarely bother posting any comment in FB which I do not deem worth my time. Besides, I rarely open my FB account. It's just I don't have the mood going through countless FB posts which are mostly 99% rubbish anyway.

At any rate, here is my comment in one post. I posted this out of concern and should not be construed as personal. The links to the post and the open letter of the RD thereto are provided for fairness. 

Simply put, my opinion is that outside crew in designated areas and pacer should be allowed in tough ultra races like 100 miles. This is the standard now in those 100 mile races I joined abroad. 

My take is that the RD should give all what the runners need so they can finish the race. 

(It is actually 108.5 miles. Damn!)

I remember doing my first 100 miles in Australia (GNW100) back in 2010. I did not have a pacer and was in a strange land that I had not set foot on. Everything was new. During the race, I got lost a few times. The good RD "appointed" a pacer (whose runner dropped during the race or did not show up) for me which normally does not happen. The runner and his pacer should know each other. But the RD knows I needed one and the pacer helped me finish the race. So that kind of need a RD should provide to his runners. Rules are only meant to provide order. The RD's main concern is how to help his runners finish the race. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Here is my comment:

I rarely open my FB and I see this. Here are my two cents.
1. I have been asked several times by other runners what it takes to be a good RD and my only answer is do NOT think like a RD when organizing a race; think like a runner. That way you would know what the runners NEED during the race.
2. To become a good RD, you need to become a seasoned (not necessarily fast or whatnot) runner with a good deal of experience in joing races both locally and internationally. That is the only way to have a good grasp of what are the "standards" out there. Try to implement them in your race as much as possible. Problem is too many RDs now lack this experience; hence, they have myopic views.
3. They do not call it "Aid Stations" (AS) for nothing. These stations are literally meant and function to sustain runners from one AS to another. Give the runners what they NEED to keep going especially in ultra races like 100 miles. Your goal as the RD is to help your runners finish the race. That should be it. Unfortunately, you can never know unless you have a good amount of exposure to other races.
4. The longer and harder the race like H1 (I should know), the more the RD should provide support to runners. Food and fluid not enough for all the runners is to me, a mortal sin. Registration fees are also meant to cover supplies at all aid stations.
5. RD's rules are not written in stone. That is why they get revised through the years based on the feedback from runners and experience of the RD as the organizer from previous editions of the race. Improvement is what they call it.
6. Organizing a race is still considered a contract between the RD and runners as customers. They pay the fees and they expect something commensurate in return. Not listening to your customers is just plain dumb. Otherwise, you will lose them eventually and your race will not grow.
Thus, as RD do not punish runners since the course (for hard and tough ultras) itself will do that job for you. Instead, give runners (customers) what they need to finish it. And believe me, they will come back.

Until next time!

Jon (looking for another race)