Monday, March 15, 2010

IM Bolehland Bashing

What struck me from the trip was that, the organisation for IM MY was no where close, when compared to the effort that IM China put in.


During IM MY I saw a boy ram his motor-bike into a cyclist. Lots of kids were down right irritating, behaving like vultures to get our water bottles, safety glow sticks etc., verbally abusive, making sarcastic remarks, basically doing all kinds of stupid things.

For IM China the bike and run route is totally closed off to the general public. For the whole 90 km of the bike route there were uniformed personnel every few meters, even if there was not a soul around. They would just stand there. Around lunch time they would be eating their packed food (poor sods). There is a tape throughout the length of the route. No car or person is allowed through. There would be barricades even for dead ends.

The bike turnaround is through a lovely ancient village. The uniform people would be constantly giving instructions to the local population to keep clear. What do the local kids do??? They ALL cheer us. "How are you" they would say with a giggle.

The run was similar. We did not receive a single sarcastic remark. The run turnaround is through the heavily populated town. They cordoned off 90% of the width of the road for us, leaving a small little lane for thousands of local people. Uniformed people everywhere, making sure we the racers were alright. Can Bolehland do this?


The volunteers were from the local University (just like Bolehland). ALL of them were on the boil. From afar they would cheer us coming (this means there are alert and ready to serve). They would be clambering over each other to give us aid. They new basic English words, smiled and were quick and intelligent in their actions. They must have been preparing for quite a while, everything went like clockwork.

I know a lot of the volunteers at Bolehland were also good, but not all.


We sat on the floor at Bolehland and didn't know what they were saying.

At IM China, we all sat on comfortable banquet chairs. The audio and visual presentation was very clear. The briefing was carried out by illuminaries in the sport. Whit Raymond (we all know him, he is actually very good at what he does). Ian Adamson, the most successful adventure racer of all time (seven times World Champion). The great Jurgen Zack (who brought IM cycling to a different level in the nineties). We just couldn't avoid but give our most rapt attention.


I was the only one in the room. All twenty of them gave me their rapt attention and knew what they were doing. In Bolehland (they didn't even know what the person sitting next to them was doing)??


IM China, at a swank hotel. At Bolehland, one year the food was finished and I never went again. Lots of people at IM China got food poisoning though, not sure how that happened.


IM China - no deposit. A very reliable timing system. Flexible start time was implemented as the chips would automatically compute the nett time. At Putrajaya 70.3 - total chaos.


I asked him, what he disclosed is too sensitive to write down. Ha ha , sorry.

I of course have always supported local races and will continue to do so. IM MY for eg has always been the most special day of the year for me. I wouldn't have a life without it.


yipwt said...

I don't mind the kids asking for water bottles...just don't run out of water during cycling.

K3vski said...

Very valid comments, Sofian. Although I think Malaysia is very different. China is still a communist country with many more times the available resources. I actually find the village kids in Langkawi pretty lovable, I think it adds character to our race. But yes, there should be a limit. Kids chasing our empty water bottles like vultures is a bad image.

And yes, Bolehland can definitely learn a thing or two from this.

So, I guess there is no more problems with the aid stations at China eh?

sofiantriathlete said...

Yip, Kevin
To spin it another way, yes the kids do add character to IM MY. They are sort of lovable. It would be quite boring if we raced all on our own.

The aid stations at IM China a bit far apart (15 km for the bike and 2.5 km for the run). No bike bottles given out, so I stopped at most aid stations. Volunteers were very fast. Aid stuff adequate.

Emma said...

Super comments Sofian. We need more locals like you to stand up and say WE CAN DO BETTER...okay lah is no more acceptable. Thank you :)

sofiantriathlete said...

Thank you Emma

Bandit said...

anyone who was there as participant or supporter would agree with the comments made.

what annoys me is the ARROGANCE of these organizers with their "so what can you do about it" attitude.

i am putting my bets on Energizer Night Run to set the standards for local running events.

Emma said...

Hi Bandit,
Not sure to which organizers you are refering too, but the current 'new organizer' needs our honest constructive feedback in order to move forward.
And who better to help 'educate' those new powers than the malaysian age group triathletes themselves? When you do an IM you have to have a never give up attitude, lets take a bit of that spirit and apply it here shall we? :)

sofiantriathlete said...

I agree with you totally Emma. You got it right on the nail.

Stupe said...

Tuan, Right on the dot.

Don't forget there were a back-hoe racing with participants on the race course too ;-)

Denis Oakley said...

So do we have a Malaysian Triathlon Association where we can make our voice heard?

sofiantriathlete said...

Denis, the weaknesses actually involves the Local Government

Denis Oakley said...

My thought was that if we had an association it would be far more effective at dealing with the organisers and lobbying local government.

Emma said...

My belief and I don't know the ins and outs of the so called 'association' aside from what Sofian has told me. Dormant is a word he used !
Anyway...I am afraid my belief is that the so called 'dormant' tri association is only going to wake up when somebody local makes a dent on the global circuit. It is going to take a person of great strength and guts with a supportive family to step up to this and say YES I can make it with the best. WHY? Becasue there is no money in it. You must be fueled by passion FIRST and foremost that is what will keep you racing when you have acheived your goals. Too many 'athletes' here (I feel) have everything handed to them on a silver platter and where are the results?? Not even a handful. But those ones that stand up and have done it alone with support of family - Nicol David. Huge respect for her and she continues to deliver the wins. Finding such talent and dedication thats another story :)

Denis Oakley said...

As far as I can see getting a group of us together - and we pretty much all know each other - shouldn't be too hard.

Call it the Triathlon club of Malaysia and start organising a few low key social events to get people started.

With something that simple we can be going to races and saying that we represent 50% of the runners who attended thuir last race - and could they please improver these aspects.

It would also be a great way of communicating races and other events out to people as there isn't currently a central portal in Malaysia.

It would also be a great way for retailers to reach out to the triathlete community

Finally it would make arranging race sponsorship easier and help to broaden the depth of sponsors in the sport.