PETALING JAYA: After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysian marathon returned with a bang as 1,000 competitors rose early to hit the streets of Padang Timur here.
Organized by the Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM), the event returned to the city yesterday, bringing another refreshing change as men were allowed to enter the race, which was once the exclusive domain of women and girls.
And under protocols set by the Youth and Sports Departments, attendance had to be capped at 1,000, although many agreed the open-air event could safely accommodate several thousand more without undue risk.
Known as the MCIS Life-Malaysia Women Marathon, yesterday’s cash prize event consisted of a full and half marathon and the 10K race.
Karen Loh, founder and race director of MWM, was overjoyed with the way the event went.
“We have done things in full compliance with standard operating procedure, including on-site Covid-19 testing,” she said.
According to Loh, yesterday’s event was a significant step in MWM’s decade-long history as men now play an equally important role in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment, which is the philosophy of the title sponsor and MWM.
Prasheem Seebran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Loh and MCIS Life, believes that “the goal of building a community where women have equal powers with men is the shared responsibility of all.”
They also expressed their pride in doing their part to meet this global need.
Prasheem said this is the first time they have hosted a physical sporting event since the pandemic, but with strict adherence to the established SOP.
“Today’s turnout shows that Malaysians are excited to pursue their fitness goals through events like ours that allow them to push their physical endurance limits,” said Prasheem.
Tourism Selangor Chief Executive Officer Azrul Shah Mohamad said they have been working with MWM for several years to promote Selangor to local and international tourists.
“Sports tourism is part of our focus in promoting domestic tourism, and the theme of the MCIS Life MWM event aligns with our Pusing Selangor campaign, where we encourage local tourists to explore places of interest in the state,” he added added.
Women Open winner Loh Chooi Fern, 30, was pleased with how the event went.
“I’m excited to be back at a real event as it’s my first time in two years.
“I haven’t managed to train due to MCO adjustments and professional challenges. The SOP of the event (Covid-19) is as expected and as long as everyone adheres to it we should all be safe,” said the website designer.
The participants for the full (42km), half marathon (21km) and 10km were announced by Ragunath Murthy, Chief Marketing Officer of MCIS Life, Josephine Mary, Malaysia’s own athlete at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and Jamaliah Jamaluddin, the MP from Bandar Utama, waved off , respectively.
The next edition of MWM will be held in Ipoh on July 31st.