Review of the @Bahrainrunners Cross Island Run December 2016

On paper, the race sounds extremely appealing – a chance to run an entire country from East to West.

The reality however, pales in comparison to the expectation.

unnamedLet’s start with the Cons:

Time not honored. I was sent an email confirmation that the race was due to begin at 9AM, gathering to be at 8AM to take the buses to the starting location. If not for my friend who valiantly offered to transport me, I would not have realized that the race time was made one hour earlier.

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Rules not comprehensive. The race boasted a few disclaimers I had not seen in all the races I have run previously, such as:

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Firstly; Music not being allowed was an overkill. I was under the impression the race would be run primarily on pavement due to this fact, little did I realize it only constituted almost 10% of the entire race. If I did not have my music to keep me centered whilst running across the sandy, arid plains, I would have gone mad!

Secondly, you would think if they’re asking us to treat everyone with respect, that we should also respect the country we are in and not aim to destroy the beauty of the desert, by discarding the spray paint cans alongside the running “path”.

No timing. This is not my first race, as you can probably surmise. It is also not the first race I take part in without a chip of some sort. Now most races provide you with chipped bibs, the good folks at BRR choose to sell you a tracker, valid for all races. What if I only want to run this race? Here is what your results will show if you do not have their tracker:capture

This seriously took away from the overall race enjoyment. Absence of a tracker should not excuse the organizers from manually recording my position and time, as per the bib placed on my front, as requested by their rules.

Few and far aid stations. In the desert, hydration is key.

Anticlimactic start. There was no designated start line, everyone just sort of converged into one location and kept edging forward till someone yelled “get set go!”

Short distance. The race fell short of the 16KM by 400Meters.

Disappointing GPS tracking. Despite claiming that the race is from one end of Bahrain to the other, the starting point was a fair distance inside as in not on the coast, making the map disappointing.

Long queue at the finish line for food. Despite a fair number of runners showing up, only one food cart was available at the finish line, making the waiting quite long.

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Pro’s:

Very friendly volunteers. truly a joy in any race.

Well chosen course. tough terrain but very enjoyable.

Massage at the end. A nice way to calm the muscles.

Bathroom facilities. Anyone in Kuwait knows, we don’t do very well with porta-potties for some reason, but Bahrain has it down!

@gulf_bank #642marathon review 2016 @extremesportskw @q8sportsevents @gulfbank642

Better late than never!

I was honestly very happy with the run this year, I kept formulating in my mind how I’d say it is good to be heard and that a lot of the pitfalls of the last run were dealt with this time.

However, it seems that there will always be a new pitfall to be highlighted every year, and the organizers could not have selected a worse pitfall than this, for which I and many other participants will certainly take offence.

I am talking specifically about how the race pictures were subcontracted to an external company that hopes to charge runners for their finish line/ race photographs. In all my years in Kuwait, and all the running events I have participated in, never have I seen someone try to monetize the most important aspect of the run for participants. One might argue “well they do it in XYZ country”, I would counter by saying “not everyone” and that “XYZ country probably has a lot more races than Kuwait does during their calendar year”.

Read on:

Starting with the Con’s:

Inflated participation. Organizers claimed that 4,000 people ran that day. According to the results, the following numbers participated in the distances mentioned:

42KM (Marathon) – 147

21KM (Half Marathon) – 429

10KM – 1,060

5KM – 1,532

Grand total: 3,168

Money hungry. if one were to check the 642 Marathon website, one would be confused to find the results of this year with the photographs of last year, an error of Frankenstein-ian proportion (on accounts he was made up of sewn together limbs from various cadavers). It is only when you received an email saying “your race photos are now ready” that you come to the conclusion that the organizers, in their great wisdom, decided to outsource the photography function, thereby requesting participants to pay extra for their race photos! And the prices are in dollars, and the pictures cost almost as much the registration (for a few) and for all it costs more than the registration.

On the other hand, you have the Runq8 10KM run, they posted 6 albums with a total of over 4,000 pictures, for free, on their facebook page.

Problem is, I was looking forward to the finish line photos, as well as the actual run photos, as I was running in costume, alas.

Ungrateful runners. Despite being upset with the organizers, I made a promise to myself during the race that I would berate the participants for not being kind/polite to the volunteers. These people take time out of their lives to stand in the sun to offer you water/ food at refueling stations. The least you can do as a runner is smile and say thank you. Or if that is too taxing for you simply pat your chest like a gorilla.

Delayed start time. Race was 15 minutes late. Even worse, the countdown was extremely anticlimactic. Next time get a blow horn or a starting gun to give flavor.

Short distance. The half marathon was actually 20.83KM. Short by around 300M.

Pro’s:

Cool new medal design to make up for the repetition of the previous year (with difference only in color).

Better finishing line. removal of the sharp left turn at the finish line was a welcome surprise.

Maximized usage of non-essential road. to prevent closure of important roads, the 10, 21 & 42KM runners ran past the National Assembly all the way to KPC building almost to the intersection with route 85, reducing the need to block a major portion of the main road (route 25).

Good weather. Not attributed to the organizers.

Newly paved road. Also not attributed to the organizers.

I am not too ticked off with the event. It showed the resilience of the human spirit. I have not run a half marathon since the Spark Marathon earlier this year in January, I was afraid I’d be slow, however muscle memory kicked in, and I ended up finishing the race in a time similar to January, so I am one happy runner.

@Runq8Official 10K Review – Nov 2016 @Forwardinspire

Better late than never!

The most anticipated running event of the year has always been and always will be the Runq8 official 10KM run.

This year, we went back to the roots of the event, starting from the “almost” same position as their inaugural run that took place 6 years ago – the Scientific Center.

Throngs of people came out to enjoy the weather and partake in the run, which for the first time in its history boasted a 5KM run as well, a distance to fit the appetite of any and all runners in Kuwait.

You will find below our review, as always, of the run:

Con’s:

NOT ENOUGH BATHROOM FACILITIES! We cannot stress this enough, these events gather a minimum of 1,500 runners. In all honesty, 3 or 4 bathroom stalls for all of these people is INHUMAN (and not the good kind form Marvel Comics). The Scientific Center had an area closed off that contained bathrooms, forcing everyone to go to the bathrooms near the restaurants, with LONG queues. I had to run all the way to the end near the KPTC marina to use the bathroom. Not good planning.

Direction Misconception. Before the start of the race, people were literally lined up facing each other, myself included, as there was confusion regarding the starting direction, which took time to resolve and saw a bunch of teeny tiny girls from BBS standing IN FRONT of the start line, just to be in the picture. It was chaotic.

Bottleneck at the Turn: The design of the start of the course was terrible, as it saw a huge number of runners charge a distance of under 100M and then come to a sharp turn to head towards Marina. Those that were unfortunate enough to not start on the front line had to wait a few minutes, walking, to pass this impasse. This turns gets Double Mention as it also made for a very annoying left turn at the finish line.

Confused Medics. During the return from the 10KM, I saw 2 ambulances driving around each other, a short while later (around 1KM) I came across a participant that had obviously fainted and had friends elevating her feet. I looked behind me, no ambulance. There was no way to communicate to the ambulances that a runner had fainted. What if it were serious and they needed immediate medical attention?

Race village ransacked. The greatest time at any event commences at the finish line; the high 5’s and well done’s shared, in addition to the booths and freebies. However, this time the booths were not all running related, or did not have freebies to be given, in stark contrast to the previous years where one would end up filling a second goody bag. In addition, the majority of foodstuffs provided seemed to be behind the counters of the booths. Now this could mean that people simply threw their garbage away there, but it could also mean that the non-runners ransacked the food giveaways before the runners returned.

Pet peeves. The event attracts a lot of runners and walkers. Not all are comfortable around dogs. Especially large ones. Since the event did not specify runners can bring pets, it should be informed next time, so no one is left feeling uncomfortable.

Short distance. The run was off by about 150-200M.

Did not start on time. The race was delayed by 15 minutes.

Pro’s:

Awesome new design for the t-shirt. Orange is definitely the new black when it comes to this years shirt.

Cool goody bag. The runner’s pouch was a great addition to the goody bag, as well as the earphones, the bandana.

Lauding the @OfficialKFSD

In this world, it is easy to lose objective of what we have to be thankful for, for example a quick response to an emergency situation by the emergency services, as what I just witnessed this morning.

My wife and I were leaving our building to head for work and we noticed a smoking car in the middle of the road. Passers by stared awkwardly and hurried away, whilst drivers took insane turns to avoid the fuming vehicle.

Shortly after, people started congregating around the soon to be inferno, some attempting to put it out with water and fire extinguishers. 

The bonnet began darkening and soon flames began erupting from beneath it, engulfing the entire engine. people frantically attempted in vain to put it out. 

I called the emergency number, and in 7- 10 minutes 3 KFSD vehicles were there, with two traffic police, shortly after an emergency police vehicle also came to pop open the bonnet and put out the flames.

All in all, 16 persons plus two emergency police.

Good response.

TRUMP WINS!!

It was a long, difficult, arduous journey, but finally the verdict is in…

And thank god it’s a joke because if we were to wake up and find out that this is true, let’s just say hara kiri might become an American word…

Can you imagine a Trump presidency?? tanning will become a state requirement, mothers will dye their baby’s hair blond, the word ‘Murrica will be entered into the dictionary, the entire country will gesticulate with their thumb and index finger, plastic surgeons will make millions with a new procedure to reduce hand size.
In a world where Trump is president, anything is literally possible. pigs will fly, milk will never go bad, small toes will be magnetically repellent to corners, and cars will run on willpower. 

A country that selects a buffoon as president that will invite ridicule at every moment, is not a country fit to call itself a super power.

Bombs on the roadside of #Kuwait 

Scattered across the roadsides of Kuwait, up and down the main streets all the way to the city, you will find the following strange looking piles.

Now granted, they’re not actually bombs, but they may as well be. Think of it, someone leaves several strange items all over kuwait, and no one even checks to see?

They might be building materials, but why are they stored so haphazardly?
UPDATE: pursuant to a random message received from KOC, a body i have no connection with yet they seem to have my number handy, the ominous items are scanning for oil.

Thank you Yousef Al-Shatti!

@UPPERCRUSTKWT from Best to Worst

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Tis a sad, sad day when your favorite restaurant stab you in the back and take a turn for the worse.

I used to fancy Upper Crust Pizza, finally someone that understood pizza correctly, that is until I visited their KIPCO Tower location last night and discovered their new menu.

Usually restaurants attempt to expand their menu to attract new customers. In all my years in business school, I never heard of reducing the options as a sound business strategy, specifically, those things that made Upper Crust unique – gone completely are the spinach pizza options, green sauce (pesto) or white sauce pizzas.

In addition, the staff are completely oblivious to how the menu works, as they informed us that the “make your own pizza” was all the same price, and that you can select as many toppings as you want. Upon requesting the cheque however, we discover that each item has a different price, which raised the price of the pizza to around 10KD (aka double).

Upper Crust have lost a customer, because they chose to remove that which made them unique.

(Stay tuned for the next few posts documenting the NY to LA roadtrip of a lifetime)

The Arizona Almost Arrest 

One of the scariest views in the world, specifically when driving in the USA, is to pass a cop on a highway who you see pull a complete 180 turn, flash the sirens, and shoot down behind you.
It happened on our way to the Grand Canyon from Colorado. I was stuck behind a large trailer and wanted to overtake on a two Lane road, so I poke out from behind and gun it.

Unfortunately for me, the person coming towards me was very close, and also, a cop. The minute i passed him i knew something was wrong, I’d committed a grave mistake, possibly referred to as aggressive driving. 

As if on queue, i look into my rear view and the police jeep pull a 180, turn its sirens on, and get stuck behind the same RV i was. 

I slowed down, and sure enough, he was behind me. So i pulled over onto the side, put both hands on the steering wheel, slapped on my most none threatening smile, and waited. 

A minute or so later, the officer approaches the vehicle. I roll down my window. He starts with a greeting, then asked if anyone in the car was in need of medical assistance. He also asked if i knew what I’d done wrong, that it’s dangerous.

I handed over my international licence and the vehicle’s registration, he looks through it then asks if im either drunk or tired. I answered no.

My papers are handed to me and I’m asked to get to my destination safely. 

A million thoughts ran through my head, a fine, jail time (both of which i cant afford), this was a breath of Fresh Air if ever there was one. 

In addition, earlier in South Dakota, we’d parked our car infront of our hotel and woke up to find a ticket on the windshield as we’d apparently parked facing the wrong direction. The hotel owner called the local police, who showed up at our doorstep, she explained we’re from out of town, and the policeman agreed to waive the ticket. 

Happy camper, right here 👈 

Expect the full road trip write up soon.

@CinesapeQ8 Report – The Missing Minutes

Lets face it, when it comes to movies on the big screen, Kuwait movie-goers are at a severe disadvantage, although not as much as our Saudi counterparts, nonetheless, it is quite annoying.

We will be posting a weekly/ monthly report on the missing minutes at the movies now:

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Movie: Manhattan Night

KNCC running time,:94 mins

IMDB running time: 113 minutes

Missing minutes: 19 mins

% of total movie: 17%

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Movie: The Neon Demon

KNCC running time: 100 mins

IMDB running time: 117 mins

Missing minutes: 17 mins

% of total movie: 15%

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Movie: Riot

In the USA, this was a Direct-to-Video release.

‘Nuff said.

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Movie: Suicide Squad

KNCC running time,:123 mins

IMDB running time: 123 minutes

Missing minutes: 0 mins

% of total movie: 0%

Update: the movie is actually missing around 2 minutes…

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Movie: Cell

KNCC running time,:98 mins

IMDB running time: 97 minutes

Missing minutes: 1 min

% of total movie: 1%

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Movie: The Fall of the Krays

KNCC running time,:102 mins

IMDB running time: 116 minutes

Missing minutes: 14 min

% of total movie: 12%

What CinescapeQ8 doesn’t understand is, these minutes cost $, by cutting up the movie, which granted is not their decision, the audience is effectively getting robbed.

@Delta Airlines outage – Karma?

Delta Airlines, the USA’s largest carrier by numbers, has experienced a “power outage” that resulted in thousands of air passengers around the world being left stranded (link).

Now, looking at that piece of news, and comparing to the “Hackers for Hillary” (link)

What if, and this is not so far out there, but what if the “power outage” was a result of Delta’s ridiculous stance on Muslim passengers?

For example:

Muslim couple says they were kicked off Delta flight for using phone, saying ‘Allah’

And “Muslim mother says she was discriminated against on Delta flight”  (link)

Two Muslim women who work for US government escorted off plane as they made staff ‘uncomfortable’ (link)

Doesn’t seem far fetched.

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