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Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Review of @RunQ8Official 10KM run @q8sportevents

Alas, with yesterdays race now in the past, the Kuwait Sports Calendar for the running enthusiast has come to an end.

Thank you Fato for the lovely photo!

Thank you Fato for the lovely photo!

It is truly tragic that a country as rich as Kuwait hosts only two popular running events in any given year; the RunQ8 10KM charity run and the now slowly-gaining-momentum 642 Marathon.

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Whatever happened to Kuwait Charity Run (link)?

Alas, I digress.

Yesterday’s 10KM was a great, fun-filled event with plenty of give away’s (if only some organizers followed this example as opposed to hosting companies that charged 1KD per banana), friendly and familiar faces, high fives and attaboys to strangers and an overall sense of accomplishment and pride.

Q8FootSoldiers

Q8FootSoldiers

The race started off without a hitch on time, however, here are the points that should be taken into consideration next year:

1) 9AM was too late a time to start as on the run back to the finish line, the sun was burning down upon the contestants, searing skin and blurring vision. Such races should commence at 8AM.

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2) Pro-Vision, despite their best efforts to appear as a professional sports event time tracking company, continue to have issues that leave runners feeling annoyed and frustrated at the finish line. Case in point, despite crossing over the finish line within the first 45 minutes of the race, my bib number (200) failed to register on the results board, robbing me of the bragging rights to 2013 me that I set a new personal best for myself.

Further, the results page online did not have my results either, despite affirmation by the organizers that it would be so. I am also unable to pull out the certificate.

3) As what happens with most races, there was very little organization for the run back – the 5K return, where walkers and strollers were occupying 90% of the lane assigned to runners, forcing those on the return leg to have to maneuver between them and oncoming traffic. There should have been a clear demarcation to give those returning fair footing in a good space.

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4) The water stations at the 500M mark were distracting as one assumes water would be available at every KM, granted the walkers needed hydration at their turnaround of 2.5KM, however it should not have carried on to the 4KM point. There were even some stations were the water was merely placed on the sidewalk and runners had to bend down to pick them up themselves while propelling forward!

5) The final distance exceeded 10KM, which is good, as it did not fall short, however the actual distance should be informed by the organizers to the participants.

However, despite the aforementioned setbacks, the race was great overall with plenty of comradery at the finish line with new friendships forged after intense, grueling efforts put forward in finishing the 10KM run.

Plus, it is for charity.

Looking forward to the next RunQ8 charity run!

Any chance of making it a bi-annual affair? Pretty please? 😀

DSC_0741Extra: The Finish Line Fiasco

Finally happy that the organizers listened to my pleas from 2012 to pull up the finish line banner for all finishers, not just the top 3 or 10. However, I was unable to recreate the spontaneous image that has become my crowning running achievement – jumping over the finish line.

As I looked ahead I saw three runners ahead of me and the finish line being raised, I knew that short of having a rocket surgically implanted into my feet, I would never be able to cross ahead of them, so instead of the final dash for the finish line, I hung back waiting for the line to be raised once they crossed.

It was sadly not meant to be as the wind blew it down before I could jump over it.

Maybe next year…

The origin of “Running an Errand” in Kuwait

NOTE: for some unknown reason, this blog post was NEVER PUBLISHED due to inner errors with wordpress. Kindly go back in time to November 8th and read the following:

How many can claim to have a hobby that does all the following:
1) keeps them fit and healthy.
2) is done both in groups or solo.
3) can be done anytime, anywhere.
4) helps complete errands.

Show of hands.

that’s right. All runners.

This past saturday I had to take my car to the service center for the 40K service (expensive as hell but hopefully worth it). This seemingly simple errand irked me in a variety of ways. You see previously I would take my car to the service center during my lunch break as I worked in Shuwaikh and was within walking distance of the place. Since 2010 when I first purchased the car, I had been within walking distance of the center – serving in two different jobs btw (2010 – 2013, 2013-2014).

Anyhoo, as I now call Kuwait City my domicile for work, I had to go on a weekend. And early too, coz the service center gets packed pretty quickly.

How would I return from the SC? My first thought was I would not (pause for dramatic effect)…

In that I would spend the time around the place like at City Center or something. But, they opened at 9, I was there at 7:45AM and the kicker was the service was expected to last all the way till 4PM.

I called up a dear friend and asked her, say, want to run in the morning from Shuwaikh to Hawally?

She agreed!

Initially I had envisioned the run back to be a mere 6-7KM affair, tops.

As we are practicing for the 642 half marathon next saturday however, that would not slide with her, and she requested we push a little harder and opt for 13 miles.

I cannot say no to that!

So we started off at the service center, ran to the KPC building at the end of the Gulf road, and proceeded to run all the way down to the 3rd Ring Road including a refreshing run through the early morning sprinklers on the Gulf road as well as in insane run down the middle of the Gulf Road (sans the traffic ofcourse, we are not THAT crazy!)

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We called it quits 3KM out from home and enjoyed a brisk walk. By the time I got home it was 10AM, and I was waiting car-less till 4 apparently.

I got the call at 1:30PM that my car was ready, initially I had planned to take my bike there, but as I thought about it, running was so much less of a hassle! So again, I donned a different pair of shoes and went at it:

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The exact distance from my house to the SC was 10KM.

And that is the exact definition of “Running an errand” and the origin of the phrase 😀

(This can work as a preparatory run for RunQ8 this Saturday too! Sans the dates of course)

Dubai’s innovative way to solve Traffic

Why oh why can we not get something like this here? The government has already streamlined several services online in terms of fine payment, residency renewal (partially) etc.

It would really make life a lot simpler. Especially that if a foreign gets into an accident and can’t speak Arabic, and the Officer on site cannot speak English, it makes it very difficult to go ahead.

With traffic the way it is at the moment, 90% of traffic jams are caused by rubber neckers, onlookers and gawkers, especially in cases where the accident is at a pivotal exit/entry point and both “accident-ees” are parked in their collision position awaiting police assistance, oblivious to the build up of traffic caused by them and stretching for many, many blocks behind.

Someone should really push for this here.

RunQ8 is on 29.11.14 – are you Game?

It is almost that time of year again, where the Gulf Road shall be cordoned off from Marina till the 3rd Ring Road, and the raging runners shall take to the streets once more, but not for profit of sports organizations, but the benefit of charitable ones.

RunQ8 was the birthplace of my passion to run in Kuwait, way back in 2010 when the race started at the Scientific Center. 4 years down the line, the race has moved up to Marina and up the ranks of Kuwait’s most anticipated sports events. Think Sports Day in school, but instead of sitting in the stands (lol) you’re hitting the ground running, with strangers cheering you on.

RunQ8_A5-Flyer-Eng

From the horses mouth:

Join RunQ8, where all run proceeds go directly to treat children with disabilities. Our RunQ8 Runners/Joggers/ Walkers made it possible for The Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center to treat children for free. All race registration fees go directly into the Center, not to any commercial entity. Please tell all your friends, if there is one race to run, its RunQ8, where they can have a fun day out, raise awareness about disabled children in need, and directly contribute to the care and well-being of these children just by registering to run. Make your registration fee and your run (or jog, or walk) count towards improving a child’s life. Bring your family for a fun morning in our race village and support our runners.

The Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center is not business-as-usual, but is a non-profit working to improve access to quality healthcare for vulnerable children. The children we treat cannot get specialized pediatric care elsewhere. We work with community partners to make this possible, and our RunQ8 participants make a big contribution each year.

Driving With Pets in Kuwait

Equality for Children!

As I was driving to work today, I noticed something quite peculiar occurring in the car ahead of me at the traffic light; the presence of a furry face in the side-view mirror (the gateway to the car ahead of you):

If drivers are not allowed to have children on their laps, then dogs are DEFINITELY OUT OF THE QUESTION!

Do they have car seats for pets in Kuwait?

Arab Times out of touch with Social Media

Social media has surpassed all expectation from being a pass-time in its early days to an effective marketing tool and business strategy this day in age.

However, Arab Times needs to teach its writers to differentiate between “Twitter” and “Blogging”.

Twitter is a platform that allows for expression in 140 characters or less.

Blogging is a platform that allows for all to become bonafide journalists.

arab times

(link)

#642Marathon Review @extremesportskw @q8sportevents

Yesterday marked the first Marathon to be run officially (or unofficially) in Kuwait, and by god it was a game changer.

From the beginning, the 642 Marathon was the first to offer distances to suit everyone’s running appetite, with 5, 10, half and full marathon runs, everyone was bound to find a distance suitable to them.

It served as a refreshing change to start form Souq Sharq, as opposed to all the other races starting in Salmiya; mainly Marina Mall, although there was that one time RunQ8 had their inaugural first 10K in 2010 from the scientific center.

I had signed up for the half marathon, my wife for the 5K, and several friends for the 42.

There in lay the problem; the 42, the supposed crowning achievement of the 642 marathon, was a debauchery from the get-go.

Initially slated for the runners to begin at 7:30AM for the marathon and 8:30AM for all the rest, the marathon was delayed to start with all the others. This caused a problem in the space-time continuum in that a 5K takes an average of 30 mins, a 10K takes 60, a 21K takes 2 hours and a 42K takes 4hours, meaning the marathon folks would be running until 12:30PM, when the sun is at its highest point and the heat unbearable, even in these calming winter days. Also, the winners of the previous races would have to wait for the marathons to complete for the awards ceremony to take place.

Second, the organizers did an amazing thing in closing off the entire road side, as opposed to a single lane, for the runners to run in. This should have been utilized to its full potential by having people use all three lanes to separate the to and fro runners groups. This was not done and caused a problem initially at the first turn around from Mubarakiya onward and then the turnaround where the runners were put back on the Gulf road.

Third, as everyone is embracing the growing trend of tracking their runs to become more efficient, everyone is using GPS. GPS requires clear view of the sky to work properly. The run inside Mubarakiya albeit a lot fun, was a dead zone for GPS and several watches, phones etc. lost signal, throwing all runners paces off.

Fourth, the loop arounds that the marathon runners had to do were extremely boring and lacked what every marathon should contain, engaging scenery and a one shot activity with minimal turn arounds.

Feast your eyes on the Dubai Marathon map for 2014:

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The 642 marathon had the runners doing a loop at 12KM (with the 21) then again near the start, then again at chilis (like rats in a maze) to finally run back to the finish line.

Fifth, the sharp turn at the top of the bridge. The finish line should have been placed in front of Souq Sharq, to make the final dash towards the finish line a straight line.

Sixth, no energy gels were provided before the 12K mark.

Seventh, the roads were opened to cars at the second ring road at 11:30AM with runners still on them.

And finally, as a person that was injured and bleeding through my shoes at the finish line, I found the medical preparedness of the volunteers to be thoroughly lacking as I had to walk back and forth from the finish line to the registration tent and back before someone came and provided me with band aids.

Other than that, the race was perfect. The availability of water and sports drinks for runners was spot on, the booths were all very helpful and the overall atmosphere was encompassing of the bond between sports-folks, that of congratulatory admiration. Many a hi-5 and thumbs up were shared between crossing runners, proof that we may be competing on the asphalt, but we are all united in our quest for better health and wellness.

Definitely looking forward to the next 642 sponsored run, in hopes that they will take the constructive criticism provided by the runners into consideration.

Police checkpoints in Kuwait – a guide to Suiting Up!

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Its 4PM and you have finally left the office and started heading home, you notice that the traffic on your favorite street is slightly more congested than usual, you drive up and find the familiar red-&-blue police car lights flashing in unison at the bend, just out of eye reach.

You fumble and grumble and remember that you might have possibly forgotten to take your wallet with you on the way home.

And then you start to panic.

This is what usually happens when people are crossing a police checkpoint, however, sometimes you get off the hook very easily, and no it is not that women are not stopped, BS.

Here are a few tricks to staying on the right side of Misha’al Qanoun (Johnny Law’s Kuwaiti cousin):

1) DO NOT PANIC! This is easier said than done, yesterday I changed direction 4 times when leaving my house because I left my wallet at home and there was a checkpoint, even though last week I had sailed through one on the way home from work with ease because I knew I had my papers on me. Ever notice how anyone caught doing something illegal (i.e. at the airport, bringing in contraband) is described as looking “confused”? Confusion is panic.

2) Most cars pulled over at the checkpoints are either:

a) Old and likely to be viewed as a pollution menace.

b) New but driven by shady looking drivers (alas, judging books by their covers is routinely done, it is no secret).

3) For old cars, there is really not much you can do, try being well dressed? Sometimes a guy in a suit can get away with things.

4) For new cars with shady looking drivers, again, try wearing a suit. It works wonders.

So yes, what we are basically trying to say in a nutshell is:

suit-up-wallpaper

Suit up Kuwait!

And try to look innocent, yeah?

@SouqKuwait in-App purchase rip off

Is Souq.com purposefully deceiving its customers?

All companies fazed by the touch-screen phase must embrace it or face being phased out – OAQ (Original Aymz Quote – Patented!)

However, it rarely is as it appears to be.

At first it sounded like a very impressive marketing scheme to promote the use of the App by Souq.com

Mobile Madness Mondays, 10% off of all purchases made on Monday through the App. sounds great right?

Initially, it took 3 or 4 tries to get the code correct, as the following error message occurred:

 

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So, after wasting time trying to do the order again, then contacting them via their email address (in the morning at 10AM and receiving a response at 3PM) I finally got the coupon code to work.

Now if you follow Souq you will know that since October 22nd they have added a delivery charge of 1KD for all cash-on-delivery orders, thereby forcing their customers to opt for the K-NET payment, fast, hassle-free, and saves you a fils for those pesky 0.999 offers.

So one would believe that being in Kuwait, a K-NET payment option would be available, thereby giving people the opportunity to pay the exact amount. Right?

Wrong:

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No K-NET payment on their App.

If you opt to pay COD you pay an extra 1KD, eliminating the benefit of the 10% discount. If you pay via Mastercard, you pay an extra 150Fils. Not a big deal but still reducing the margin of your discount; the discount is effectively 7.69%, thereby deceiving the customer.

Bad form Souq.com, bad form indeed.

Kuwait’s Busy Schedule & The Upcoming @RunQ8Official 10KM!

Kuwait is a small country, so small we rarely get to enjoy good outdoor events except when the weather becomes humanly tolerable. So why is it, dear organizers of such events, that in the nice window of opportunity from Early October to April, can we not find a unique day in which to call our own, and space out our events in order to ensure everyone, everywhere can attend everything should they so choose?

I am talking about the 25th of October 2014 (last saturday), two sports events were slated for that date:

1) The Flying Start Triathlon

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I noticed on some websites it has been dubbed the McDonald’s Flying Start Triathlon??

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You might as well have Jack Daniel’s sponsoring the next AA meeting!

However, I digress…

2) The bi-annual Radisson Blu 3K fun run… which has now become saturated with young runners who run on the international scale.

Please organizers, we get very few events in the Kuwait Calendar, please take the proper cautionary measures to ensure these mixups do not happen as we very rarely have sports events in Kuwait (weather permitting) and would definitely love to try EVERYTHING AVAILABLE!

Speaking of which, runners rejoice! we are counting down to Nov 29th for the Annual RunQ8 charity run!

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Unlike other organizers, this event is strictly for Charity, so you’re registration fees are going to a good cause. In addition, you get what you paid for and then some in terms of excellent administration and participation! So what are you waiting for? Go and register NOW (link).

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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