Monday, October 4, 2010

One Long Entry

The finishing line was just 100 metres ahead. I could see Hubs waiting for me at our car parked by the roadside. I thought I caught a glimpse of his brother Din, sitting on a metal bar behind the car, wearing his gray post run shirt grinning. Hubs  joined me in my last attempt of a sprint, encouraging me to push a little more.
I crossed the line happy.
Then I said, " Where's Din?"

Where was Din?
I told Hubs that I thought I saw him towards the end. Nope, Hubs was doubtful. How could he change in his post run attire when the car keys was with me all along.
So we waited.
Maybe he was so fast, he got a bad case of runner's high and forgot that he was supposed to meet us at the car.
But he's a sensible guy, he won't do that.
And we waited.
maybe he got cramps and decided to walk the whole way.
And we waited.
But even after the oldest uncles, veteran of veterans came shuffling by, even after they took down the Start/ Finish banner, even after they stopped giving away medals, we couldn't find Din.

We went to the officials.
Excuse me, I can't seem to find my brother.
I suddenly realized my voice was one octave too high.
My mind suddenly flashed to that poor boy missing during last year's run in Shah Alam.
Our brother is missing.

Oh, yes. Him. He was sent to the hospital.
What? Why? When?
He was running. They sent him on an ambulance. He's not warded or anything. Just an outpatient, I think. He's there at the hospital.
And then they talked to each other about something else.

We ran to the hospital. It was that close. Not even a kilometer away. The race was over but there we were still running. We went to the A&E.
Is our brother here?
Yup. He ran a marathon, and then there was an accident. He was jogging.
What? Who ran over him ? Is he hurt?
Ah, wait ah. I'll go check.He's in the Yellow Zone.
We looked around the ER. Every room was yellow.

Dr Geetha attended us. After I identified myself as a Dr. She produced all the medical jargon mumbo jumbo about syncope, ST levels, ECG, arrhythmias,dopamine,MIs while I was trying to remember all this from my 3rd year Medical class in Dental School.
Anyway, his BP level was really low but now it's getting better. I'm doing some tests to rule out MI since he's a young, fit fellow. I suggest a full cardiac assessment after he's a bit better. 
We took up everything in exclamation marks.

A hour later, we were called in again. Din hollered out to us, grinning as always.
What happened?
I blacked out. Then, I'm on the ambulance, then I'm in the ER. It's like in TV. The whole fuss is real. I got wires all around me. And they won't let me take pictures.
I ran hard, they didn't have markers. I thought every bend was the last bend. Then I saw a minah salleh with a stroller running past me. Then a few minutes after that, all I saw was black.

But he was okay after that. We even got him discharged. It was a case of dehydration and overexertion. He ran a 10K PR of 45 minutes back in UK a few months back and planned to repeat the feat here. Without proper training. Especially in this weather.

The things that baffled us were :

  1. The organizers didn't provide medical assistance along the way. No St John or PBSM. Thank God, Din fainted near a hospital. In the middle of a race. In front of policemen. What if he was unlucky like the boy in Shah Alam. Who was dehydrated post race , and in his disorientated state, wandered to a secluded spot and fainted and nobody found him and he died.
  2. They didn't accompany him to the hospital. They left him with the hospital staff. They didn't make any announcement. 
  3. No water station along the way. Yes, it was an RM10 race but not all runners are capable of going the whole 10K without water. 

And the take home note from this would probably be :

  1. Organizers need more organizing. Please, please be more careful in future races.
  2. You can't cheat  running. You need proper training. Don't ever jump head first. Even if we feel we can. Latihan is letihan but the letihan makes it work.
Din, I know you're reading this. Like I said, it's not the end. Do more cardio. Do more on road training runs. Get that cardiac assessment done once you're back home. Just in case.

You'll do fine.
One day, we'll race again. And you'll be so fast, you'll get your runner's high and forget about meeting us by the car. But just for a moment.
Because after that I'll see you, waiting for us, grinning as always.


  1. Serdang? You mean shah alam? Never heard of a race in serdang though. Anyway glad everything turned out ok. Always listen to your body and know whrn to stop. You may not be all that lucky all the time. And of course the much needed training.

  2. Oh was it?
    Yes, let this be a reminder to each and every one of us.

  3. Hi... scary scary... marathoner and sub-45mins 10k runner black-out in 10k race... big big lesson to all of us! Thanks for the article.

  4. Alhamdulillah Din's OK. Let's not repeat another Gary Leon's.

  5. memang scary and alhadulillah he fainted at the right place, lets all heed to this and take care !

  6. Yes, one of the big different between training on threadmill (i.e. indoor) and running outdoor is the HEAT. Running endurance is one thing, long exposure to heat is totally another scary story.
    I've seen people who got heat stroke during a race, and it ain't pretty.

  7. YS: Thanks for visiting. Anytime :)
    Syah: Alhamdulillah. A 10K is a short race but anything can happen, kan?
    KakJune: Sometimes we focus too much on running hard, we tend to ignore the warning signs. I must remind myself of this also
    Nik: Tell me about it. And it's a lot more tiring running outdoor with the same pace indoor due to external factors such as the wind, heat, uneven running surfaces etc. So like it or not, runners must find the time to train outdoors to get used to these conditions similar in races.

  8. thank God he's OK.

    Thanks for sharing this story Julin.

  9. Syukur semuanya ok. Org kampung semua ok!

  10. zackyuiheromalaya: orang kampung semestinya selalu ok

  11. first sekali...fuhh..nasib baik dia selamat...alhamdulillah..
    2nd sekali ...fuh...nasib baik takde org perli aku...(ha, ha..nik..)..

    Tu la, kekurangan air ni mmg memudaratkan...dah minum banyak pun rasa mcm haus lagi...

    jangan pengsan tengok amoi sudah..

  12. ijam: mana nak ada org nak perli. kami semua baik ape. cuit2 sket tu ada la. jgn dok cuit amoi sudah la.