MyBloogle Entertains at Kuwait Charity Run – Gangnam Style!

Yesterday Kuwait hosted its 2nd Half Marathon for charity, aimed at raising awareness on Diabetes, a growing pandemic in the world today as it starts to affect children at a very early age due to improper diets etc.

The message was loud and clear, and best delivered with a charity run to raise awareness and get people active, a surefire method to battle this disease.

A group of runners were sponsored for the event were (including me), the one stop site for all your culinary needs in Kuwait.

Team 6alabat!

Of course, it did not help that there was a diabetes walk slotted in on the same exact day on the same exact road and starting at the same exact time! However, we will get to that later, let us commence as they say, at the beginning.

As I left my house to head over to Marina Mall, I was strangely self conscious of my appearance in my mini-skirt i.e. ultra short running shorts meant to increase stride, as I had never donned them before. I felt I was more likely suited to be standing beneath a street lamp in some shady area dressed in such nefariously short shorts. I hid in the shadows as I left my building, praying no one would see me looking so scandalous.

All fears regarding personal appearance were dispelled upon arriving at Marina Mall amidst my people, the running folk. All around the green lands by Starbucks displays were up with all the sponsors peddling their wares. The most conspicuous of all was the Caesar’s sandwiches, a rather heavy meal most probably meant for the organizers, however many a runner were witnessed scoffing down these meals, much to the chagrin of their legs later!

As the crowd started to grow and friends began to converge into groups, the final instructions began to boom over the amplifiers, I immediately made my way to the starting line, hoping to get a key position near the front. Before me stood the two that would place in at 1st and 3rd respectively, although at the time I did not know that. I turned to my gadgets to get everything in order; on my left arm sat my iPod, and on the right my phone-cum-GPS-tracking-device.

The Start/Finish line

At the signal, the runners took flight, like caged animals released into the wild; all at break neck speeds (a later analysis of my time would show that I too ran the fastest lap on the first couple of kilometers). The first thoughts upon starting a run are always “turn back”, “give up”, “quit”, “why are you doing this to yourself?”, “whoa! Slow down there cowboy!”, it takes all your will power to silence that voice and continue down the path, for it will always encroach upon your thoughts, and only the disciplined runners can wave off this specter of lethargy and sloth.

Slowly but surely, positions were gained and lost as people had an annoying habit of coming up from behind to surpass me, I gave a few a run for their money, with a special implementation of peripheral perception whereby you watch the shadows on your left and right to sense who is coming up behind you, and then attempt to intercept via speeding up.

The problem with the race this time was that it was a single shot up and down the road, no twists or turns, an international prerequisite for official 21.1K half marathons.

I spied a friend of mine who served as my motivation to reach the 5K mark, as he was running the 10K. After that turn around, the road became brazenly empty, and I was alone for quite a long time, with one or two runners catching up.

The police cars were not as well dispersed as they should have been, mainly near any entrances to parking lots where cars would suddenly interject themselves unknowingly, assuming the runners on the road were simply running by themselves.

Another problem was when the volunteers crowded all in one big bunch causing a bottle neck in the road where the runners were, true they were merely attempting to be helpful and give water to the needy, so I cannot truly fault them for being human.

The greatest pleasure however came at the 9KM mark, seeing the 1st & 3rd place winners coming at me. Whenever I speak of running, I always enjoy mentioning the power of Runner’s Affinity – the unbreakable bond shared between runners, a smile here, a nod there, a thumbs up on the side, a word of encouragement and even a high five given to those that have started the return journey all serve to lift the spirits of participants, and give that extra boost of energy required to endure the returning 10.5K.

At the 11K marker, I attempted to reach for my first sip of water only to be rejected by the volunteer carrying it. I do not blame her, I had passed by numerous others and declined to drink, however seeing her carrying a lone bottle made me attempt to relieve her of her burden, much to my embarrassment at having touched but failed to take the bottle from her hands as she turned around.

And then came my greatest challenge (and subsequent failure). For a runner had made his way into my vicinity, tailing me, as a lion tails its prey, always trying to sneak up on me, first to my left, then to my right. I would always leave a little extra in the tank to overtake him, knowing that it was a mind game. I waited and waited for him to tire, I would hear him cough and say finally hes running out of steam! But if anything his efforts were relentless, I would catch glimpses of his feet as he ran up next to me, and see that he was a serious runner with shin elastics and everything.

We kept at this game of cat and mouse for the better part of 6K, till the 17K marker, at which point, my legs started to voice their indignation  at the strain I was putting on them. I would always attempt to listen to his approach, the slap of his sneakers on the street, his breathing, hoping silently that he would tire, but to no avail. I finally conceded and he passed me at 17K.

And then we ran into a large BLUE sea of problems. Mainly a LARGE gathering of walkers hogging the entire last lane of the road! Forcing the runners to either dodge them or dodge the cars on the other lane. Not only were the walkers taking up space, but their banners would cause a momentary lapse in concentration as you attempted to read it (reminding me of the kindly Japanese expats raising awareness to Japan’s double whammy of a tsunami and radio-active fall out last February).

As my music steadily pumped into my ears, I started to get my second wind, every KM marker representing a milestone as the countdown to 21 had begun.

Rounding the 20K marker, I was suddenly energized and began my slow upward acceleration to what I believed would be my top speed. Before me, a blonde lady tripped and fell, the volunteers quickly surrounding her to keep cars away, as we (the runners) signaled to the ambulance to key in on her location.

The Race Results

My final bout of disappointment came at the finish line, as I was hoping to re-enact my jumping act from February, and having asked the organizers whether or not the ribbon would be placed up for all runners, I received a positive response. So imagine my disappointment at not finding said ribbon. Still, I would not be deterred from my finish line theatrics, as I managed a forward jump and roll, landing on my back in the end and having my medal placed around my neck. It was an exciting ending, however, not the pinnacle of my performance.

Part of the deal I struck with 6alabat, our sponsors, was that I would get stage time to perform the viral dance that has taken the internet by storm. For close to 3 minutes, all (ok, most) eyes were on me, on stage, strutting my stuff in my mini-skirt-cum-running-shorts, dancing the tunes of Psy’s Gangnam Style. Despite Psy’s statement of the dance being geared towards “dress classy, dance cheesy”, I took it to a different level, “dress TRASHY, dance cheesy”.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Mybloogle promised to be the blog that connects the dotted line between entertainment and sports, and at that moment, I was a runnertainer.

Halfway through the dance I began to think, what am I doing? I just ran 21K, and I’m stomping my feet on stage? Oppa Gangnam style, ow, ow, owww, they like me! Ow, ow, owww, they really like me!

What was the best part of the day? To have strangers compliment me on my dancing skills, as well as elite runners complimenting Mybloogle as a good read.

doing the Gangnam once more!

In testament to how good things come to those who wait, I had been attempting to acquire one of the following goody-bags:

Only to be told it was for the organizers only (much deserved by the way as they put on a tremendous show!).

However, after my performance, I was most pleased to have received this:

As well as an Aqua-jogging kit that I have yet to decipher how to use!

All in all, despite the setbacks of race day, the enjoyment level was much greater than any previous running event, undoubtedly setting a high benchmark for the next event.

Kuwait is in dire need of more of such events, as it is a great ice-breaker and social occasion, with many strangers leaving the race as friends.

I will carry the memory (and the videos, and pictures) of the event forever in my heart, as I fondly remember the day I Gangnamed after a 21K race.

A most enjoyable day for all involved!

A final request; I took part in a competition sponsored by 6alabat to see which of their runners can garner the most likes on their photo, mine is here, if it is not too much trouble, kindly like it for me.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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