Standard Chartered KL Marathon is now at its 10th edition. 10 years in KL becoming over time the biggest and most prestigious marathon in Malaysia. SCKLM is organised by Dirigo Events with Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia as title sponsor. The 10th edition is planned to be held on April 8, 2018, starting from the iconic Dataran Merdeka.
Update as of publishing: all slots taken in a record time despite the registration portal issues. It seems that next year the ballot might become a reality !
For this launch, were present: Mr Rainer Beimas, Project Director for SCKLM and director of Dirigo Events, Mr Abrar A. Anwar, Managing Director and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia and Mr Khairul Anuar bin Mohd. Juri (Assistant Director of Culture, Arts, Tourism and Sports, DBKL). Present in the audience were numerous runners, medias and past winners of the KL Marathon.
So you’re wondering what’s the difference with the previous years editions ? Good question, Mr Beimas explained that they wanted to focus on the runners experience for this 10th edition and as such introduced the 10th key features of SCKLM2018:
1. Introduction of participation history
Runners will have the opportunity to check their participation history through the SCKLM website. This feature would allow runners to see how they have progressed through the years. It’s available here.
2. Kids Dash Timing Chips
For the first time, the Kids Dash participants will be using timing chips to determine their finishing times, as well as allow friends and family to track them through the SCKLM App.
3. Standalone Kids Dash
In order to give more prominence to the Kids Dash categories, the event will be held a day earlier on 7 April. This would allow parents to be present in support of their children instead of being involved in their own respective runs.
4. SCKLM Recognition of loyal runners
Runners who have registered for all 10 editions of the race are now a part of the “SCKLM Juggernauts” who will receive special privileges such as personalised running t-shirts and customised bib numbers.
5. Introduction of VIP package
Runners will be provided with the option to purchase VIP Packages that would entitle them to priority Race Pack collection, access to the VIP Area and a breakfast buffet, VIP baggage drop and a Brooks polo shirt and track pants.
6. Motivational Signs
Upon registration for SCKLM, runners can submit a motivational quote that inspires them. The best 20 of these quotes will be displayed on signs along the Full Marathon route with the runner’s name attached.
7. Option to choose running t-shirts with or without sleeves
8. Special commemorative finisher medals
To commemorate its 10th anniversary, SCKLM will introduce medals featuring a unique KL skyline swivel design.
9. Introduction of a new feature within the SCKLM App
The SCKLM App which won Gold at the SPIA Asia Awards held in Bangkok recently, will introduce an exciting new photo feature that will capture runners’ memorable running moments.
10. New full and half marathon routes
To keep the race fresh and challenging, the Full and Half Marathon categories will have a new route that navigates around more of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic landmarks.
Overall, I like the attention put to providing more to the runners. Wether you want a VIP package (not sure many are interested, although Mr Beimas said they had quite a lot of returning runners who picked this option, so let’s see), but mostly having your cleaned up history of SCKLM with your results over 10 years, giving a special gift to those 10 years loyal runners or simply having the kids race prominently featured with a start under the real SCKLM arch and a proper timing, that’s great. Many races treat the T-Shirt as a thing that must be done and do not put much attention to it, it’s nice to have the option sleeve vs sleeveless. It’s not much I think for the organiser but it’s a really nice attention to runners. I personally have those singlets that I don’t like too much using stacking up, so that’s a nice thing to give a choice. The medal – although I don’t care much about it – is really beautiful and reflect well on the 10 years of SCKLM in Malaysia. The app was quite good, they improve upon it and give you straight away access to your photos during the race. I ran few oversea events and I didn’t see anything that close. Kudos to Dirigo and their provider, as it’s not something easy to achieve in realtime.
Now the best part: new routes ! No the Duke highway is not ditched and will remain but more run will be done in the city, for example passing this time closer to KLCC, … Not major changes but nice improvements to refresh the interest. Don’t expect any records there to be broken… it’s still quite hilly compared to say Putrajaya SEA games course (flat like a pancake).
Moving on to Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia participation, their new MD and CEO Mr Abrar A. Anwar was quite excited to be at the helm of the bank for the 10th anniversary (he just joined Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia from another country). Interestingly, Standard Chartered has been in Malaysia for 143 years to date, quite a long time. The community and charity aspect is key for them and no other events move so many people into a healthy physical activity and providing for charity with the Run for a Cause program.
After the official launch moment, the official video was introduced. You can watch it on the SCKLM web site at this address. We then moved onto a brief walkthrough of the SCKLM mini expo for the officials. The mini expo features the history of SCKLM, the original race singlet, the hall of fame, … Hopefully it will be shown at the REPC for every runners to enjoy.
Now onto the Q&A session, here are some of the interesting questions asked to Mr Beimas and Mr Anwar:
Will there be more entries for the kids dash as it’s now on the Saturday evening ?
No, it’s still capped to 500 children (and 500 accompanying parents). SCKLM will see in the future if more slots are needed, for now it’s about going the kids a more prominent place and quality event.
Race organisation issues as seen in Singapore
Mr Beimas said he could not comment on what went wrong in Singapore but said that for KL, the processes can always be improved and that however in the pas years, they’ve been fairly efficient with T-Shirt and medal distribution, baggage handling, …
Cut-off time, will it be strict ?
The question was referring to the Malaysian habit of asking a lax COT and to be allowed to finish after COT… with a clear reference this lady last year who put up publicly it was a shame that COT were put (personally I don’t think highly of her, COT is COT). Mr Beimas expand there will be 3 strict COT during the race, with buses. You miss these COT you board the bus. End of story. He was however less explicit on the final COT (7h15), saying it was generous but maybe Malaysians were not yet ready for the strict COT implementation that you can see oversea (Japan for example where at COT reached, they close the arrival gate). I do understand they might allow some leeway for runners finishing maybe in 7h16 or 7h17 but probably not more than that. He concluded it was better to be training well for the event.
IAAF label: will SCKLM apply for IAAF label ?
Mr Beimas answered it was in his plan for the future, maybe having a label for 2020. He then explained that technically the race already meet the criteria however an IAAF label which always start at Bronze required the organiser to bring some elites from oversea, have potential live TV coverage for up to 6 hours, … this all cost money and he explained that at the moment, they prefer to invest that money into making a better event for runners. Also once you apply say in 2019 edition for an IAAF label, you get the label the following year assuming everything is fine. To be noted there are very few IAAF labeled events in Southern East Asia.
Standard Chartered remaining as sponsor in the future
The question was asked to Mr Anwar and the response was very diplomatic. Obviously this is big dollars discussion and they’re interested to continue provided everyone can find an agreement 😃 Note he did not say that as directly, this is my interpretation.
Will there be a ballot in the coming few years like other major marathons in the region (Japan, …) ?
I asked this question to Mr Beimas and he said that at the moment not but it might become a necessity at some points. Interestingly, he mentioned he was in touch with the RD of Berlin Marathon, which has a ballot system and explained there are challenges to tackle when you put a ballot system: people having the ballot and not registering or not coming, … There are different ways to implement it with different registration days, … basically when it becomes necessary a proper study needs to be done to get this right.
Online registration issue
Every year, SCKLM is having issue with the registration at launch. This year, they offloaded the returning runners from the general public. Coincidentally while we were having this press conference, the registration servers had issues with thousands of runners trying to register. Mr Beimas was obviously concerned about it and hoping the IT team would fix this ASAP. On the registration issues, they persisted throughout the day with some slow servers response. At the end of the day, all the slots were taken: no more FM, HM, 10km slots.
Now the only way of participating is the Run for a Cause program. There are 4 charities that you can put your support behind:
Finally, don’t forget the Friendship run ! It’s a fun moment which comes with the breakfast and runners from all around the world. It’s a fun moment the day before the race, worth doing. I attended last year and it was a great moment ! Lastly, do not forget that a Full Marathon is a long race and you need to be well prepared. SCKLM will organise as usual running clinics over the coming weeks and months, if you need support you might want to attend them or other regular running clinics organised by brands and running clubs. You have in particular the Pacesetters support program that just started, companies like The Running Plan offering group trainings and plans (both for a fee), … the opportunities to train well are numerous, just pick one !
You can find more pictures and videos on our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/runhikeasia
Press conference Photo album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/runhikeasia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1047227845418989