Category Archives: Health

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.

Deborah (1 of 1)-90

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:

Deborah (1 of 1)-127

  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.

Deborah (1 of 1)-62

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.
Deborah (1 of 1)-116

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.

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.

IMG-20160213-WA0038 (1)

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!

#LetsGoForward Mishref Run Review @ForwardInspire

Contrary to popular belief; the Mishref Run was not a disaster on narrow straights.

Most of the runners I spoke to declined to attend the race for fear of likely collisions occurring, given that the path is extremely narrow at the beginning. However, this fear never materialized into anything as there were no points during the race where runners collided together – whether registered or simply users of the path.

Timeliness had become a significant trait of the LGF events, with all events kicking off on time, in spite of the weather.

Pedestrian path decorum boils down to the individual runner, and not the organizer; runners can choose to exercise their peripheral perception and “allow” others to overtake them by a) not actively trying to block them or b) moving to either side to allow them to pass.

And now, the cons of the run:

1) Inadequate refreshments at finish line the North Desert Run had adequate supplies of protein bars for the runners after the race; this time however there were no protein bars, and the Quaker’s cookies available were long finished by the time the rest of the 8K runners had arrived.

2) Placement of bottles on refreshment stations picture the following as it occurred to me during the run; the runner ahead of you reaches to grab a water bottle. The water bottles are stacked in long rows, causing a few to careen and roll off the table. You as a runner suddenly find deathly obstacles before you that, if fate should have its way, can lead to a serious injury. This is why water is supposed to be handed to runners by volunteers, to avoid the occurrence of such.

 3) Awards runners take part in races for a variety of reasons, some enjoy competition, some enjoy the thrill of crossing the finish line. Some aim for the gold, top 3 and strive to achieve it. With it should come a prize. The prizes offered for the races have been a plaque in the majority of the cases, which causes some runners dismay. And as we have countlessly stated before, the 5K runners deserve their moment in the sun too. Given that there is a fee that goes towards the race, then it is natural to believe that prizes should be more inclusive as opposed to a simple plaque. If that is the case, then why are the 5K runners not offered a similar trophy, as I am sure the plaques do not require much time/ money to make.

Awards go to increasing competition, if the prizes are worthwhile, attendance could easily be multiplied.

The good folks at LGF should take a page out of the book of Radisson Blu hotel who never fail to put on a SPECTACULAR bi-annual 3K fun run. Did we mention its for… FREE? Yes, runners show up at 8AM and register, receive a bib #, board a bus (water provided) which takes them to Jumeirah Hotel where the race starts, run down the road back to Radisson Blu, enjoy a free breakfast buffet in addition to prizes given to 3 categories – Male, Female, Children, with medals and giveaways including dinners and cakes at the Radisson Blu restaurants. All this is FREE, and all of it is given for a 3K race, a distance that is looked over by LGF.

Asides from that, the races are getting progressively better, and it is nice to have a full race calendar for the cool months of the year, to meet up with friends and catch up with those you have not seen in a long time. For that reason, people will continue to show up at the races, but in order to get people to buy into the ideology of fitness for a living, you have to entice them with the proper reward; that way they will talk to their friend who will talk to their friend who will tell their neighbor to show up at the next event.

Let’s Go Forward Road Run Review @Forwardinspire

Yesterday, LetsGoForward hosted the first running event of the 2015 Calendar in Kuwait, one of many that seek to transform Kuwait into a runners paradise with several runs touted, from a city run to one on Failaka, an ultra marathon (80KM) and the annual 240KM border run (link to other LGF events here).

When I arrived at the race site, prior to the start by 30 minutes, I ran into the organizer (Yousef) and the MC (Bader), after shaking hands I was asked by Yousef not to forget “the blog post”, as my last one cited 10 shortcomings of the last race I attended in March of 2014.

I write race reviews not to critique the organizers for the sake of ranting; quite the contrary. As a running enthusiast, I love seeing more races on the run calendar of Kuwait. I would love to see these races at top level. I love adding medals and t-shirts to my growing collection, and I love the unity that these races inspire. The more the merrier.

I appreciate Yousef’s concern to ensure that the races are up to expectations. Initially I thought his comment was sarcastic, but a message later in the evening showed it to be sincere.

Road-Run-2_1_2015-566x1024

Suffice to say, we were pleased to note that our observations (link) regarding the last race were taken into consideration, mainly:

1) Did not start on time.

RESOLVED. The race DID start on time this time. Although, a completely new demon reared its ugly head, that of the false start, where one overanxious runner jumped the gun triggering the timer to commence. This can be avoided next time by having a person with a flag or so standing INFRONT of the runners, as opposed to the MC standing on the left with a countdown (plus – cut the music at go time so people can focus). Sometimes people hit the ground running at 1 in a countdown, as opposed to waiting for the “GO!”.

They were able to fix everything quickly, reset the timer, and restart the race, efficiently and without delay.

2) No timer at the finish line.

RESOLVED. Timer was there, working and all, perfect for finish line photos (except the time shows the time for 10.2KM, an extra 200M).

3) Inadequate placement of distance markers.

PENDING. The markers for these races are kept at irregular intervals; 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 5. Different is not necessarily bad, however it does cause confusion, especially when the 4.5KM marker does not appear and you find yourself turning around at 5. In addition, you end up wasting mental energy on mathematics ((5-3.5)+5, +1.5, +1.5, +1.5) to figure out where you are when running back, energy I would much rather send to my legs. The stations should have had two stickers, one on each side, to show the distance for the returning runners. So it would be 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5.

4) Few and far between water stations.

RESOLVED. Hydration was up to par.

5) Understaffed volunteers.

PENDING. Although the turnout was fewer than anticipated (due to holiday season and teachers/students scrambling to board their planes), water stations had few volunteers at them. I only cite this as I witnessed one runner at the 5KM turnaround look around for the volunteer, who was standing on the other side, to assist them with water, only to get none, run forward, look back, slow down slightly whilst considering running back 10 steps for water or running head 1.5KM to get it at the next station. He opted for the latter.

6) Finish line was not padded.

RESOLVED. Sandy. Padding is only useful for finish line theatrics, which I am thoroughly missing.

7) T-Shirts. medals.

HALF RESOLVED. The medals improved dramatically over last year; despite being plastic, a new thing in the realm of medals, the neck strap was quite befitting and the design was simple and elegant. The t-shirts however are still cotton, and not dry-fit. Dry-fit t-shirts are more becoming of runners, whereas cotton is not.

8) No Refreshments for runners.

RESOLVED. The organisers ensured that water was present at the finish line for the runners in bulk. In addition, Nestle, the main sponsors this time around, gave runners a much needed dose of caffeine, in addition to a second goody bag.

9) Juice at the water stations.

RESOLVED. Not this time. Just water.

10) Pay for everything.

RESOLVED.

7.5/10 RESOLVED. Not bad.

SPECIAL MENTION goes to Mr. Megaphone, I did not catch his name, however I am quite sure he ended up doing at least 20KM of running up and down with a megaphone, motivating runners and shouting encouragement at them, all the while whilst maintaining a smiling demeanor.

Now, there are some points to raise specifically regarding the organizing this year for yesterday’s race:

1) The 5K Run.

If you are promoting separate distances during the race, it is counterproductive to:

a) Not offer timing/ ranking for the 5K finishers.

b) Not offer prizes/ podium rankings for the top 3 5K runners in each category.

Seeing as how the 5K was pushed as a secondary event, it should have been given more consideration as opposed to focusing everything on just the 10K run.

2) Traffic.

Time and time again, this issue is raised. The run is done on a main road, police are meant to patrol the last lane to ensure the safety of the runners. Granted, we were not expecting the entire road to be cordoned off for the runners like the 642 Marathon, however special care should have been given at the entrances and exits of the parking areas, where I saw several runners almost get run over by unsuspecting motorists.

a) Police cars should have been present at each entrance/exit, there were probably less than 15 such spots down the course of the race. Majority of police vehicles were at the start line, few were at the parking lots/ traffic lights.

b) banners should have been placed prompting motorists to stick to the left lanes.

3) Starting line.

In addition to an MC doing a countdown, a visual volunteer should stand with a flag or warning instrument of some sort to signal the start of the race, to prevent false-starts and restarts.

4) Timing.

Due to the race taking place during a time where most schools are off for their mid-year vacations, attendance was lower than expected. Of course the point would be countered by saying doing it earlier also risks non-attendance for the sake of studies, however it is better to schedule the race at a time where many are available and might likely show up, as opposed to many being on vacation and unlikely to show up.

5) Winners.

As I did not stick around till 11 for the awards ceremony, I am not sure if prizes (if any) were presented to the top 6 runners. I know that the previous race had only plaques being presented to the winners. Sure running is its own reward, but something could be given in addition. It does not have to be prize money, it could be a day at a spa or lunch at a restaurant etc.

If this was covered, apologies for not having witnessed it, if not, it is a point for consideration.

My interest is in bettering the race going forward, in alignment with the namesake and mission of the organizer – Let’s Go Forward.

(See what I did there >)

I look forward (I just did it again) to seeing you at the next races, the city run has really piqued my interest, as has the Failaka one!

Representing @RunQ8Official in Bahrain!

Make no mistake – runners know how to have fun, whenever, wherever!
A recent business trip to Bahrain – the growing country made me decide to have an impromptu run dressed in my favorite running garb.
This past weekend the Q8FootSoldiers left our mark on Bahrain, running from Exhibition St. (Holiday Inn Express) all the way to the Bahrain Fort (and subsequently staging a hostile running takeover)!

DSC_1007

this one is for you RunQ8!

Initially, I had planned to run around the whole country (which is put at around 55KM, just in excess of a marathon). However, this plan never made it to fruition as I was later informed that Bahrain was not an island as I previously understood, but a series of interconnected islands via highways. However, having run the length of the Gulf Road in Kuwait numerous times, I believed myself to be no stranger to a little highway excursion.

How wrong I was.

At first I planned my trip meticulously – I used Google maps to estimate the walking distance from my hotel to the Fort. It was placed at 9.1KM i.e. a 45 moderate paced run for me. I used the GPS on my S3 on my arm to track my run via Nike+Running and followed the Google Maps route on my Xperia Z2 in my hand (as I was running without 3G, I had to stick to the plan or risk getting lost in the streets of Bahrain).

IMG-20141205-WA0011

The route as proposed by Google Maps

wpid-img_20141205_232314.jpg

The final route + several wrong turns

wpid-screenshot_2014-12-05-22-37-40.png

a slightly larger map for scale to show the Coast-to-Coast run

The first 3K of the run were very entertaining, Google Maps had plotted an interesting route that took me through residential areas and made me see things I otherwise would not have seen had I not decided to run. Old busy streets and cobbled roads with people walking in every direction forcing me to have to dart amongst them to navigate safely.

It was when I turned onto the King Faisal Expressway (I think) that I had my first detour, despite Google asking me to go straight down, I was unable to comply due to the presence of a military checkpoint (and not a soul in sight other than military personnel). I thought, I can navigate around them, and ran through the market on the left side amongst giant 18 wheelers carrying produce for said market. Most of it stank to high heaven, including the fish market and a few bins full of rotting food.

DSC_1062

sunset at the Fort

When I saw that there was no way around the military, I decided to ask them what to do/ where to go. The lone military personnel available, at the sight of me approaching, reached for his rifle and stood to his full height, dwarfing me before him. He did not speak Arabic, or English for that matter, and I had the hardest time asking him how do I get to the fort, which he heard as palace.
I ran back down the side of the road again and towards a pedestrian bridge, crossing it to run along the other side, then joining onto the King Faisal Express on the right shoulder in the emergency lane. Google maps, despite the absence of a connection, continued to show me as a dot moving towards the destination, with a nifty count-down timer for distance. (people really should make an app that guides you to a run depending on your desired distance).
Again, I lost my bearing at the Ahli United Bank office and kept going back to my map and zooming out to find the blue road I was meant to be on.
Much of the land I was running on later was reclaimed land, as evidenced by the shells I found on the ground beneath me. Slowly but surely, I came to the Fort, finally!

wpid-dsc_1008.jpg

The Fort Has Fallen

The destination was definitely worth the journey, and in the end I had added an extra 3KM.

The run back was also an adventure, as I was short on fuel having only had breakfast in the early morning at the hotel and having decided to turn back at 5:00PM as the sun had begun its descent, the cold winds began to blow.

DSC_1070

The Bahrain Sky Line

All in all, it was a very rewarding experience to run bearing the crest of something that came from Kuwait. If only for next year we can get running shirts that clearly distinguish us as residents of Kuwait.

Maybe? Who knows 🙂

wpid-collage.jpg

Who is @KibetElkanah?

Those that took part in last Saturday’s last official run in Kuwait, RunQ8, were given a rare surprise – the presence of a world renowned, IAAF listed Kenyan with a PB of over 28 minutes for the 10KM.

The champ…

10644941_1010918635592321_6322502844556944073_n

is…

Here!

(link)

page-0

He finished in 31 minutes 25 seconds…

That is an average pace of 3 minutes 3 seconds per kilometer…

That is lightning fast… Expect even greater things from this athlete.

The last time I saw Kenyan professional athletes was at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon. The running landscape is changing in Kuwait, who knows which runner will make it to our little Desert Oasis in the coming races? Although I do favor local talent (such as the one below) it is interesting to see how the pro’s do it.

Speaking of athletes, and according to our resident speedster, Grzegorz Ziembinski:

1535007_527914630676425_3099229110988203939_n

 

“This is exciting as this is the closest to the world elite we have come here in Kuwait. Sure we have had amazing professional runners (for example Salameh Al Aqra), but to be able to lose to an IAAF listed Kenyan with a PB of over 28 minutes in Kuwait is really something…:)

The interesting thing, however is that for the first time (as far as I know) prize money was awarded for the winners of a run in Kuwait (642 Marathon) and next thing you know is we have a Pro show up in a race…:) Market laws…. :)

Well done to everyone!
Greg

(would have been 4th if it wasn’t for that lightening fast Pro)
(would have been 3rd if it wasn’t for that Spanish guy – Pablo Gonzales, who runs like a wind)
(would have been 2nd if it wasn’t for some new guy in town – Knud! Well done to him!)
(would have been 1st! (MAbrook!!!) if it wasn’t for that fast Kuwaiti guy – Mr Al Matar!!)

Not too shabby Greg! Looking good out there!

And there you have it folks, a word from the speed side of things.

Keep on running!

Race day etiquette for Runners & Walkers

Race day is very important. Although running is a fun activity, several running enthusiasts spend the day before worrying about their carb intake, rest period and other such fascinating measures that affect performance on that fateful day.

Long ago, in April of 2012 (I have been writing for very long) I wrote an article entitled “Kuwait’s Guidelines for Proper Pedestrian Path Decorum” (link) where I tackled the issue most prevalent amongst the running community – sharing pedestrian paths with, pedestrians! Everything from smokers to toddlers and groups of little old ladies walking side by side were brought up with calls to people to refrain from treating the pedestrian path as their own personal space.

Today, this issue is even more relevant given the two races that took place LAST month in Kuwait (almost typed this month) – the 642 Marathon and the RunQ8 10KM run.

Different people have different goals. Congratulations on deciding to run/walk the full length of the 10KM course, it is a grand gesture of commitment and you should be very pleased with yourself. HOWEVER, please note the following:

1) DO NOT see this as an opportunity to walk side-by-side with all your friends, thereby constricting the pathway allocated to the race and causing returning runners to have to lose time in order to circumvent you. Their goal is to set a new personal record. Do not trivialize this by blocking the path.

2) DO NOT spit! I cannot emphasize enough how disgusting this is, especially when you are constantly surrounded by people. Yes, at times your throat is obstructed, and in those dire cases, please attempt to be civil and aim for an open drain/ green area. DO NOT just spit to your right/left paying no heed to the fact that at that precise moment someone could be coming up on your side.

3) DO NOT discard your used water bottles on the ground in front of you. Yes it is annoying that there are no trash cans, but please do not simply drop your water bottle on the road demarcated for everyone and proceed. It is an annoyance to avoid and can lead to serious injury especially if the water bottle was not empty/ properly closed leading to slippage. Try to throw the bottle away on the grass areas, and be rest assured that someone will clean it up as it is part of every race requirement to have a clean-up crew.

4) On the subject of water, please DO NOT throw water at other runners! This happened to me only once (last saturday at RunQ8) and left me pondering the reasoning behind a complete stranger throwing water as we passed each other on my run back towards the finish line.

5) DO NOT walk in groups larger than two people at a time side-by-side! This cannot be stressed enough as to how much of a hindrance it causes to other runners having to circumnavigate around you in order to continue on to the finish line.

6) High fives and attaboys to strangers are an amazing source of encouragement that should be made mandatory in every race. However, DO NOT put your weight behind your hand when high fiving, especially as a walker high fiving a runner. There is no need to “slap that” and make noise, especially as again, this causes runners to lose focus.

7) DO NOT stop to take pictures/ selfie’s whilst running, keep that for the finish line! Unless you check around you and make sure there are no oncoming runners you might be obstructing.

7) DO NOT raise your arms beside you when running. Using common sense, a runner/walker can feel when someone is coming up behind them, either through peripheral perception (which I talked about/ explained here), watching the ground for approaching shadows or simply hearing them pounding the pavement or gasping for breath. In either case, check around you before raising your arms, as you could find yourself inadvertently clotheslining a runner!

And that, dear all, is that.

Feel free to add anything I might have missed to this list.

Happy running!

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.

DSC_0740

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.

DSC_0739

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.

DSC_0738

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!)

Screenshot_2014-11-08-22-26-14

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:

Screenshot_2014-11-08-22-25-40

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)

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.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

error: Sorry, Ctrl+C/V disabled; if you wish to use this content please contact us :)
%d bloggers like this: