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The haze that was

As you would have heard, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon has been postponed to September 29th on account of the haze that enveloped KL in API levels of 180+ last week.

Before the much-awaited announcement, a quick glance on social media showed, unsurprisingly, that many runners were optimistically hoping for rain and favourable winds, though others erred on the side of caution and had good reason to advise against running even if the organisers decided to go ahead, pointing to the dangers of acid rain and the smaller (and arguably more invasive) PM2.5 fine particulate matter which may still linger (the Air Pollution Index (API) figures we all quote and rely on are based on the concentration of PM10 (coarse) particles).

The skyline we all take for granted -- KL on Monday June 24 (no Instagram filters employed!), and the much improved scenery on Thursday June 27.

The skyline we all take for granted — KL on Monday June 24 (no Instagram filters employed!), and a much improved scene on Thursday June 27.

Ironically, the haze started to thin out the day after the announcement of the postponement, which led to an informal ‘fellowship LSD’ being organised by a running group on the Sunday that the marathon would have taken place. It was a nice gesture – part of the objective was for local runners to bring overseas runners who may have already made the trip to KL, on a 21K from Dataran Merdeka towards Bukit Tunku and the Hartamas area, towards a finish at Padang Merbok. I was tempted to join in, as I had begun to miss running the Bukit Tunku routes. However, I was feeling slightly under the weather as a result of almost a week of smog. Also, there was the nagging thought that I should perhaps just take another weekend off running in case the air hadn’t completely cleared and/or the winds changed direction (call me a worry wart.. probably yet another after-effect of being a new mom!) So it was just another lazy Sunday, with some weekend shopping thrown in – without worrying if I should put on my N95 respirator upon opening the front door. There wasn’t a boring moment, though. Not if you also amused yourself with the variety of comments posted on the marathon’s Facebook page relating to the postponement decision.

I was, in fact, happy for the postponement.

It would be the first time I would hit 21km – with the amount of exertion expected, I wasn’t going to risk being out there for close to three hours potentially breathing in matter that could have a longer-term adverse effect post-race. It didn’t seem worth the risk.

I don’t normally relish postponements, but hey, the additional three months would present opportunities to slip in more LSDs before the race! 😉

Meanwhile, I will need to figure out where to keep my Half Marathon bib where I won’t lose it after three months!

About speedshuffle (75 Articles)
Wen Li is a runner, blogger, mother, educator and artist. She is the Co-Founder and Cartoonist of Malaysia's first comic strip on running, Running Toons ( and is a Compressport Ambassador. Her running story was featured in Marie Claire Malaysia's April 2016 issue alongside several other notable women running bloggers. She runs wherever the road takes her, come scorching sunshine, stifling humidity or relentless rain (and preferably to a Nasi Lemak breakfast!). Apart from pounding the asphalt, she also enjoys hiking and pilates, and is now attempting CrossFit!

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