PIC: New Straits Times Sports Journalist Ajitpal Singh (number 014) crossing the line at the NPC 1Malaysia Media Run.
THERE is money in sweat, and some rogue event management companies of marathons know how to squeeze blood out of innocent organisers.
The National Press Club (NPC) held its second Media Run on Sunday, and were almost fleeced in the process.
The first run cost the NPC a total of RM3,800 to organise from start to finish, and the event managers were among the best in the country, and it was run in a flawless manner.
However, the second edition almost turned into a night mare, when the first event managers could not commit themselves and introduced a new company.
And the first costing NPC received from the new company was a whopping RM36,500!
Consider this, the NPC run was only looking to cater for 300 runners, which is a modest number going by the thousands that compete in major events across the country every month.
Then there are many other medium sized runs every Sunday, where the numbers are anywhere from 500 to 1,000 runners.
When the NPC asked for a second quotation, the said company cut it down from RM36,500 to RM8,750.
Not satisfied, NPC scouted around and found a Hash run organiser who was willing to organise the whole event for RM5,700.
It was still higher that last year, but being short in time, the NPC expected the offer and the run turned out to be just as professionally run.
A total of 250 runners turned up at the NPC clubhouse at the back of Dataran Merdeka. The Five-km run was flagged off by main sponsor A. Thevasagayam, a businessman, and it took participants around the scenic, but gruelling, uphill route around the Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens.
Media members turned up in force and even the portly ones completed the route. However, the interesting entries in the Open category came from a group of 20 Indian boys who looked every-bit like what marathon runners should be -- lean and long-legged.
The young boys set a blistering pace from the start and disappeared in the horizon in a jiffy, leaving the other categories to run at their own pace.
Naturally the boys from that group claimed all the top spots in the Open category, and when asked, they said they are from a certain running club and train regularly for marathons.
The young boys looked like they could run the middle and long distance races with ease, and given proper training their times could also dip further.
Malaysia used to dominate the middle and long distance track events in the past, but sad to say, we have lost that grip even at the Sea Games level.
So, one wonders why the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Association (MAAU) is finding it difficult to find and train this distance group, when we have so many of them running on our streets every weekend.