Category Archives: Review

The Greatest Race I ever Ran @TMFoundation

It seems fitting to get back into the habit with a regular post I would create, albeit this one is almost a year late.

Lots has happened over the past year, it took the rejection of an article by a magazine to send me in a downward spiral of self-doubt, however, the rut is finally over!

So, allow me to take you back a year, September 2016.

The location: New York City!

I had just recently taken part in my first ever ROC race (Ridiculous Obstacle Course). And on my first voyage across the Atlantic, what better way to mark arriving on a continent for the first time than by adding to my (growing) gaggle of Medals? I sealed the deal with two back-to-back races, the ROC race, and a 5K race called The Heroes Run.

Now, this post is about the latter, not the former, but the full story cannot be understood without a small visit to the first race.

Obviously, it wasn’t a “race” per se, it A LOT OF WATER, and sightings of Power Rangers, superheroes and team participants from the Legends of the Hidden Temple gameshow way-back-when.

Moral of the story, I got really wet, including my ONLY PAIR of running sneakers, but it was super fun!

Fortunately, our hotel stocked ad rags at the front desk, being the well read runner I am, I quickly placed rolled up papers inside the shoes, to aid the drying process.

Race day was quite eventful, it was the day before Eid-Al-Adha, where Abraham envisioned slaughtering his son, so I was fasting. I had checked out how to get to the race location via subway, however damn the New York transit system, I found myself lost. And with no internet whatsoever. Fortunately, I found myself on a road that showed promise of an open wifi connection, I quickly used it to call an Uber (which worked with my current cashless status).

I’d selected this race after countless emails back and forth, the first race I had booked turned out to not give “finisher medals” which was a huge no-no for me, as everyone knows, runners are bling whores, we need our metal baby. So I googled “heroes run medals” and saw a few, so I assumed they were finisher medals.

Boy was I wrong.

I’d also been trying in vain to pay online for the race, using every means at my disposal, 3 different mastercards including a US issued one, all to no avail.

I made it to the race, on an empty stomach, and much to my chagrin, was informed that the run would not have finisher medals, rather placement medals, for 1, 2 and 3, in each category (runners in Kuwait know that the categories are male and female only).

I kept praying to God to be in the top 3…

At the sound of the whistle (or gun, I honestly can’t remember from the adrenaline), I was off, for 1/5KM I was in the lead, I thought YAY! my prayers were answered. Little did I realize I celebrated too soon. No sooner had I thought (this is in the bag) was I disturbed by a surpassing runner. I agreed to secede for second place. No sooner had I thought that, runner #2 took over, all in all, 4 men passed me, and 2 women.

On the run back to the finish line, I was almost caught by two others, at this point I decided to throw down the gauntlet and run like I never ran before. So I did.

The finishers were being congratulated with water and refreshments, I was further downtrodden as I couldn’t even enjoy those (because of the fasting). Atleast the t-shirt looked amazing I thought.

The race distance and timing system were measured and timed by a true pro, who had Olympic events under his belt. Runners walked up to his tent and got a printed receipt with their exact time. I figured, why not. Might as well. No sooner had I received my paper did my eyes bulge out in excitement, for right there next to my name was the number 2!

I was Second in my age category!

Which resulted in this awesome piece of bling-age:

It also helped a lot that the medal had a Super Cool Design!

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.

@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)

Review of Sustainable Youth Team Relay Run – Jun 16

As with any fledgling concept, there is always bound to be a few “snags” along the path towards a perfect event. This time we were no strangers to the problems, however, we’ll line up how we plan to tackle them in the future.

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Since day one we’ve been a provider of low-tech races. Our registration process seems to confuse people so let us break it down first before we get into the review:

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  1. You read about our event and are interested to attend, you are given a link to fill a registration form on survey monkey.
  2. We receive your information, through excel magic, we take the data and put it into tabular form.
  3. We send out a confirmation email asking people to confirm their attendance.
  4. People respond and confirm, we start assigning them to teams, again through excel and filters on age, gender and level of activity.
  5. We send out an email to the teams confirming their colors and getting the captains involved in motivating their teams.

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The problem is, people don’t check their emails often, much to my chagrin. I have 5 emails synced to my phone simultaneously, and some people cannot manage one.

What happens is they sign up, but don’t confirm in time, by the time they confirm, i’ve already assigned teams and they’re even, and we’re out of space.

Then those that confirmed and got assigned to team’s don’t show up…

Without further ado, let’s start with the cons:

  1. Did not start on time. People signed up, confirmed, got assigned to teams, and did not show up. Whats more, one individual who signed up informed me he needed a visa to come to Kuwait, at 1:30PM (race was at 10PM). People kept arriving late despite us requesting them to be there by 9:20PM.
  2. Time lost explaining concept. Despite having captains, several of the “casual joiners” who happened across our multicolored starting point wanted to participate, seeing as we had ample t-shirts available, and in line with our slogan of sports for all and all for sports, we let them in. Language barrier and sports barrier aside, they made for some excellent additions, specifically the veiled mother and her daughters and son, despite her daughter pulling out, the mother ran the race. Next time, we’ll make a roll-up banner explaining the race concept in two languages.
  3. Cotton T-shirts. I know, I know! Cotton t-shirts and runs do not mix! However, we don’t have the funding to get the t-shirts from abroad and store them until such time we have an event, so we need to get them locally, and dry-fit t-shirts are not readily available locally.
  4. Food shortage. Given that it was Ramadan we had hoped to provide people with a meal after the race, we were just short of 120 participants, and we’d ordered 150 meals. However, some people did not find meals at the end. suggested remedy – food for runners only. Runners were given wristbands for the race, at the end of the race, swap wrist band for meal. No band, no meal.
  5. Lack of coverage. Given that we are a very small outfit (only two organizers were responsible for getting the race up and running), we don’t have a camera person readily available. The timing also made it difficult to get people in addition to the short-notice-ness of the event – were asked to plan and execute in a very short period of time. Next time, i’ll invest in a camera myself and start taking pictures. However, despite this, we still managed to get some awesome shots courtesy of the super talented JCPQ8 (instagram) and the video by the awesome Baher Jaberi (link).
  6. Directions were not clear. We assumed when we said the Oredoo playground at Mishref Pedestrian walkway that people would know exactly where. Our bad. Next time, we posting the exact location on instagram.
  7. No medical attention. Trust me when I say, communicating with the concerned authorities is a hassle. Despite having MOH approval for our last race, no ambulance showed up. Same case this time. We apologize profusely to those that were injured during the run and hope you recover soon!
  8. Small stage. When we first envisioned this endeavor, we planned to MC from the stage, then later we added the idea of contests, however the size of the stage could not accommodate all willing participants. Remedy, bigger stage next time around.

Pro’s:

  1. First of its kind. The comments on instagram continue to bring a smile to my face, people actually enjoyed the event immensely, including the injured folk!
  2. In-tune with concept. When we first started, we wanted a race that was different that could be enjoyed by all. Looking at the pictures from the event, everyone enjoyed themselves, whether they were built as sprinters or not.
  3. Party so hard it was stopped by the police. ‘Nuff said.
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Lady in the black veil

The lady in the black veil is my new hero. She showed up at the event with her daughters and son and they all wanted to run. When the race started, one of her daughters opted to not run thinking its too hard. Not mom tho. She went for it. And everyone cheered. And that is the point behind SYQ8, there’s no cookie-cutter for runners, we come from all walks of life.

Review of the Dubai Desert Road Run 4-Jun-16

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Dubai is full of races. I was beyond excited to find out that immediately after attending the Fluffy Breaks Even show, there would be a second event from the bouquet that is my passion in life the very next morning – a run.

I went, I saw, I was beyond disappointed.

Before we dispense with the review, let’s look at some numbers:

  1. 10K finishers – 350. Fees 120AED, Total: 42,000AED
  2. 3K finishers – 152. Fees 80AED, Total: 12,160AED
  3. Grand Total: 54,160AED

Now lets start with the Cons:

  1. No storage facility for runners from abroad. You can easily gauge their numbers from registration, provide them a way to keep their bags safe, especially that some have come for a few hours to just run the race and leave. This is provided by other UAE based races such as RAK.
  2. No way to get back to civilization. Again, runners coming from abroad, especially first timers to Dubai, are not aware of how far the Sevens Village is, nor how difficult it is to find a ride back to Dubai. If not for #899 (Waqas the Humanitarian), my friend and I would have ended up walking back to Dubai! At the very least arrange with a few taxis to wait there.
  3. Messed up race markers. As  I was runing the 10K I found it strange that some of the distance markers were showing strange readings, 3.8KM, 4.9KM. And they weren’t even accurate!
  4. No food for runners. As someone who runs most of their races in Kuwait, and partook in organizing a race in Kuwait, I can honestly say I am most disappointed with the organizers and their greed in this regard. Let’s look at numbers.
    1. I organized a race for 120 participants – spent KD 30 roughly (360 AED) on oranges and bananas for the runners.
    2. DDR had almost 500 participants. Doing the mathematics, they would require KD 125 for the same food as above, which is 1,500 AED, which translates to a mere 2.7% of the total amount they took as fees.
    3. PS my race was free. Facebook.com/sustainableyouthq8 (look it up).
  5. No takeaways for the runners. Again, I run most of my races in Kuwait, the average for a 10K race is 120AED, however in Kuwait you get a t-shirt and a goodie bag. Not sure why DDR are so stingy with their money, but a race that doesn’t give a runner takeaways but charges fees is a race not worth running in the first place. We were given something though, and I wish we weren’t – hangers to put up items on walls. How this ties in to running is a mystery to me.
  6. Looped race. The Sevens Village grounds are enormous. Are you honestly saying you cannot find a 10K route that is not a double loop? Nobody minds running 5K one way then back, but to run 2.5KM 4 times is boring and annoying. In this regard, the 3K race was probably better, as it lacked the hamster-in-a-wheel effect.

However, there were some Pros:

  1. Tracking technology. The tying of trackers to shoelaces that can later be recycled beats the bibs with embedded trackers.
  2. Cups of water. Although a way for the organizers to save money, I see it as a way of reducing wastage. So I’ll give you a point there.

Prognosis: Negative.

Run the race once for the experience, never again.

Scaring the Fright Bone – guide to horror movies

It is extremely impossible to find a horror movie that truly reaches out and scares the living daylight out of you.

More often than not, slasher movies have made their unfortunate way into the “horror” genre, completely setting it askew. We are no longer terrorized by ghosts, demons or spirits of the undead, rather a macabre, disturbed individual with a penchant for sharp (or blunt) objects.

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For the past week, we (my wife and I, along with my brother and his wife) have been trying to up the adrenal high of fright night by finding movies that truly send chills down our spines. We only found two winners, and several flops when it came to so-called supernatural horrors.

We’ve come up with a quick guide for getting your scare on:

  1. more often than not, the sequel will butcher the original, regardless of whether its a prequel or a spin-off (case in point – Sinister 2).
  2. never go by ratings! we’ve been stung several times by movies that received such amazing accolades online, however failed to deliver (case in point – The House on Pine Street).
  3. The more a supernatural entity is featured, the less scary it becomes. Ghosts should only be shown sporadically, with dramatic music for maximum fear-age. Giving them more screen time diminishes the scare-factor. (Case in point – Insidious 3).
  4. never go by the description of the film! Several c-list movies, made on budgets, have amazing trailers and stunning descriptions, however they fail. Horrendously. (Insert several titles here).

If you wish to get your scream-game on, we suggest you try the following two titles:

  1. The Conjuring
  2. Grave encounters

The latter is a budget film, however delivers excellent scenes. It really made use of “found footage”, and much like Cannibal Holocaust, appears to be a film within a film, question the very reality in which it exists.

So go on, scream.

No one will hear you.

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Sustainable Youth Kuwait Community 5KM Team Run Review

At first people were skeptical, how could this event be free? What was the catch? Are the medals for everyone or just the top 3? Last 3? What is going on here?!

Yesterday marked the first time I ever took part with a group to organize a race, under the banner of Sustainable Youth.

Sustainable Youth is meant to highlight the fact that our own youth is in our hands; by living a life of activity, we can remain forever young. And that is what was most prevalent yesterday; looking around the participants, seeing happy faces, young and old, veteran runners and newbies, all united in their quest to have a great time.

Our goal was simple; the race would not be won by the first person crossing the finish line, rather by the last. For each participant crossing the finish line earned their team points, if teams were unequally distributed in terms of numbers, the age-old mathematical trick of cross-multiplication helped to level the playing field.

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

Team GreenIsMean! 

As an organizer, I was proud of the event we put together on such short notice, we had around 4 weeks from the time our project was approved by En.v to the time we had to implement the event, at that time I had managed to get 50 people to sign up and be interested in the event, of course it was no walk in the park from there.

Registrations, confirmations, cancellations, requested affiliations, suffice to say I lost a few friends along the way, but I ended up making MORE FRIENDS than i’d lost, so all-in-all, it was quite rewarding.

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

The Yellow Sparows! (gentleman in the top right was a last second addition, who drove by after the race had started, got out of his car, asked to be signed up, got back in his car, drove to park it, then ran the race and to the finish line – which is as you recall, THE ORIGINAL STORY BEHIND OUR VIDEO!”

The email we had made for the event had a problem; Google refused to let us send out bulk BCC emails, so I had to rely on my personal email for that, with around 14 different threads and 100 conversations or so.

Participants: We had 112 participants show up, out of a total of 156 we had heard back from. 72% attendance.

Food: in excess.

Giveaways: plenty remained, everyone was accommodated.

On race-day some people showed up that were neither registered or waiting list, we took them in as well.

We recruited the registered runners to help us out behind the table, special mention goes to everyone that stepped up and helped make this event a success.

It has been referred to as the M&M’s run, and the Skittles run. And we love the names!

The first four to cross the finish line, surprisingly, were one from each of the 4 teams! Red finished first, however as we said from the beginning, it was never about who finishes first, but this just goes to prove how equally the teams were distributed!

Now, I must step outside my role as organizer and critique the run I organized, as I have made a reputation of doing:

Cons:

1- Demarcations were not clear

When I arrived at 7:30AM that day, I had one mission in addition to organizing, demarcating the path – I’d printed papers to stick up along the path, to make the race a series of 500M runs. The day was very windy and the papers were quite flimsy. After I got to Salwa Al-Sabah hall and turned around (2KM & 3KM markers) I was putting up the before last marker (4KM, at the Sultan Al Jazeera area) when security showed up. Now security along the path belong to Marina, and we’re hosting the event at the Scientific Center ON Marina’s walking path. So of course they required authorizations, paperwork, approvals etc. Which we did not have from Marina. Fortunately, they let it slide and even gave me a ride for 500M in their electric car.

(props to @thescarletzeaster for being my executive manager and handling all phone calls as I went for a run!)

2- The start line was chaotic

We apologize profusely to Tami590 for her injury, which was as a result of OUR oversight, in that the start line was LONG, and the two poles in the middle were unseen by the people in the back as they began their run, so we sincerely apologize for that oversight.

3- No music

Planning the event on a frugal budget and having our mind focused entirely on the run made us miss entertainment, however we sincerely hope that the antics of @mradamantine made up for it!

4- Finish line banner placed on floor

Runners favorite moment is running through the finish line, however the one we had made was quite heavy, and was presenting a challenge both hold up and run through, so we decided to put it on the ground and have people run over it instead.

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Team Red Rage!

5- Everyone was running back

Initially we had communicated to our participants that only captains and co-captains would run back, however, when we saw that everyone was motivating everyone to run back, and that we had plenty of eyes at the finish line to tell us who had crossed before and who hadn’t to ensure no extra points were given by mistake, we decided to allow the people to motivate everyone!

What was beyond amazing was how everyone rose to the opportunity and motivated their team, not just caps & co-caps.

6- No ambulance

We contacted the MOH, they approved our request, an ambulance WAS supposed to come, however, nothing. We also contacted the MOI and got police approval, as well as the governor of Hawally to gather a crowd together, and yet no police came.

Pro’s:

1- as far as first events go, this was not that bad!

2- we reached out goal of motivating people to motivate others, which was something one of the mentors at En.v was skeptical we would achieve. I remember clearly he kept saying, you are assuming. What he failed to realize however was that in my core, I am a runner, and I KNOW how runners are. We’re the people who are over-eager and always happy to help strangers, we give advice when needed and remain silent when needed. We show support by running shoulder to shoulder with strangers and motivating them to reach their potential.

3- M&M’s and Skittles, the shirts were mutli-colored, the people were as different as you could imagine. Older, younger, faster, slower, smaller, bigger – but it wasn’t in how different we all were, as opposed to reflective we were of each other’s spirit – that of sustainable youth. Running is one sport where you can be as competitive as you want or as friendly as you want, there are two extremely and a million places in between where you can land.

4- Everyone was happy, no one was competitive, everyone was co-operative. Your individual finishing time did not matter, what mattered was your team’s collective finishing points, and guess what? we had points going up to 55 minutes, but EVERYONE was done by about 48 minutes, which is no small feat!

5- the t-shirts came out looking awesome, the logo was awesome, the medals were awesome, the trophies were awesome, the recipients who were captains were flabbergasted (especially our most influential runner who was not even paying attention to the guy on the mic as he sang him praise!).

What happens now?

If you think this is the end, you’re thoroughly mistaken. I saw the amount of fun people had, and save for one individual who had something negative to say about the race, we aim to ensure everyone is this happy again.

Our first time was free as it was completely funded by En.v, we plan to see where we can go from here, knowing full well the pricing of standard races in Kuwait.

The hope now is to find a sponsor willing to put their name on this project and write it off under Corporate Social Responsibility, now comes the difficult part of writing it up and pitching it, so if you know anyone that might be interested, please do send us their details.

IMG-20160213-WA0039

The winner’s and inaugural champions – Les Bleus!

Thank you to everyone that contributed to making this event a success.

Special mention goes to the wives of runners, who prove that behind every great runner there is a great wife that sacrifices and volunteers to help the common goal be reached, we were fortunate to meet two such lovely ladies (3 including my wife).

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

The champions!

#SparkMarathon Review 2016 @q8sportevents

Yesterday marked the inaugural run for Spark Marathon, a new contender on the running calendar of Kuwait.

The event was put on courtesy of the following sponsors:

sponsors

As we’ve done in the past, we’ll breakdown the positives and the negatives of the race – starting with the negatives:

  1. Total Takeover by Total employees: at the starting line, there was a very distinct sea of redcaps bearing the Total logo, despite them not being an official sponsor of any sort. What they did however was plant their employees at the start-line for some shameless self promotion, on the very front of the line, despite 90% of them not being dressed for running! This negatively affected the actual runners in the back who had to maneuver around them, in addition to the fact that they started IN FRONT OF the race line, meaning their bibs and chips didn’t even register. More care should have been given by the organizers to ensure they start the race like everyone else.

12545416_1529553034009260_1512260723_n2. Nonexistent markers: the organizers spent a hefty dime getting the road ready for race-day, with banners for the sponsors everywhere along the coastline. Would it not have been a smart move to also include a small sheet of paper at every KM signalling to runners where they were? There were even truss’s along the way, with no apparent logic to their placement save more advertising space! I was stuck doing mathematics along the way as I switched my GPS watch to Pace; I was a little past KFC and wound up thinking – ok, from Marina to Green Island is 5KM, from Green Island to Towers is another 5 or so KM, I’m almost at the towers which means I’ve done about 9 or so KMs. Too much math for a run! Just put up signs for the love of the road.

3. No giveaways: the biggest giveaway that there would be no giveaways for the runners was the running path, emblazoned with signage all the way from flags along the side to giant cranes carry giant banners advertising a giant sponsor. Runners pay the fees to take part in the race for the giveaways, sponsors pay money to get their name mentioned. What happened at Spark Marathon was a purely commercial stunt whereby the money went to the organizers from both participant and sponsor, and nothing trickled down to the participants in the form of giveaways. Low blow.

4. Cotton t-shirts: it has become a longstanding tradition to expect a dry-fit shirt from the seasoned organizers, however all we got was cotton. I’m sure to change it into lounge-wear-come-pj-top and end up running in my dreams.

5. Gatorade on the run: gatorade replenishes electrolytes, runners need to replenish electrolytes on the run, but they DO NOT NEED A FULL BOTTLE TO DO SO! A major mistake on the part of the organizers was putting all the electrolytes ON THE RUN as opposed to on the finish line! Runners ended up taking a sip or two and tossing it aside, a HUGE waste. The RAK Half-Marathon had plastic cups of two sips or so of gatorade along the run, which is what the organizers should have done.

6. Short distance: the 21.1KM was short by 100Meters. Puts me in a crappy position as I just nailed a new PR but Garmin won’t recognize it because the race was not exactly 21.1.

7. Race village: the race village was completely lack luster this year. Runners were offered pre-made packs of one orange, one banana, one bottle of water, one coconut water and a granola bar. Now, the organizers made the assumption that everyone requires the absolute BARE MINIMUM to recuperate, whether they ran 5, 10, 21 or 42KM.

8. Prize money in Half: now this is what the organizers put as the winning pot for the lucky top 3:

prizes

Now people would believe that that means each first place finisher would get the full amount, as is evident in the photo below:

winners

However, we were told that the prize money was split between #1 Male & Female, meaning they each get half the pot only.  edit: we were told that the prizes was half cash, half cash in kind i.e. flights from Kuwait Airways, dental procedures at Bayan Dental, medical checks at Seef Hospital etc. which is all well if you reside in Kuwait, however if you are not a resident of Kuwait, as the majority of the top winners were, these gifts are useless and infuriated the winners.

Benefits:

  1. Good medals
  2. Great ambiance

For a race that was meant to “kick start a movement that will integrate sport & fitness into the very fabric of society” (link), the only thing that got integrated was our hard earned money into the pockets of the organizers. Here’s hoping that next race is more participant-centric.

As far as personal achievement is concerned, this race proved that the winning formula for long distance runs is short distance speed workouts. Specifically 200M sprint, 200M jog X 10 (i.e. 4KM). With that regiment every other day, and the 30-day-shred on the other day, I was able to shave off 6 minutes from my time in the Gulf Bank Marathon and achieve a new PR of 1hr41mins.

In addition to that I was the designated pace-setter for the 1hr40, although I ended up overshooting it by 1 minute, it serves as a reminder that whatever the mind believes, the body can achieve.

And if you’re looking forward to the next running event, look no further than here.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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