Marathon Training Around The World

In one week, I’ll be in Kota Kinabalu taking part in the Borneo Marathon.

The Borneo Marathon came at the right time for me. I fell in love with KK since climbing Mount Kinabalu there last year and have been looking for an excuse to go back there since.
I signed up for the 21km race to prepare me for my 42km marathon in Singapore this December. Besides, a long time reader of is organizing it, and the least I could do is throw her some support.
Anyway, I’ve started training since about two months ago, running at least three times a week and clocking in more and more kilometres each time. Last Sunday was my best effort so far – 15km in two hours non-stop.

Friends and family are surprised at how seriously I take my training. I stick to my training program quite rigidly, sometimes to the point of absurdity. I’ve had the most awful experiences of waking up at the ungodly hour of 6am for a run, running at night or even running under heavy rain.
The problem with marathon training is that you do very long distances, and in a place like Kuching there isn’t many places for you to run. Very often, training get boring quickly if you just run around the same few park. It also doesn’t help the fact that there is only ONE decent park for running in the whole of Kuching – Stutong Park.

The jogging track in Stutong Park is only 1.6km long. When you’re doing 15km, there’s only so many laps you could do until you had enough looking at the SAME BLOODY TREES all the time.
So recently, I laid off Stutong Park and took my training to the streets.

And then I got addicted to it.
Horrible traffic smokes aside, I discovered running on the road is actually a lot more fun! Sure, it’s a little dangerous and sometimes I need to break my rhythm to cross the road. But I like running on the road because sometimes I’d notice quirky little things about Kuching that I wouldn’t have noticed if I were just driving around in my car.

Things like parents sending their cute little kids to school.
Or that hawker stall on Foochow Road selling kolo mee right out of their home car porch.
Who would’ve thought that after living in my small hometown for so long, I still don’t know so many things about it. Quaint new discoveries like those still tickle my fancy.

Another problem with marathon training is that because I’ve been travelling a lot lately, so sometimes I’d need to improvise. Since I begun my training, I’ve been flown off to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, even to as far as Paris and London.
Normally I’d put my training on hold while I’m out of town. But I knew if I did that, come race day, my race results would suck so bad that I’d still be running when everyone else have finished packing up their bags and go home.

As a habit now, I pack my running shoes when I travel. And through that, I discovered the joy of running in different cities around the world.
Of course, it’s easy to lose your way in a foreign city.
Depending on how you look at it, getting lost can be part of the problem, or part of the fun.

I always carry my HTC Touch Diamond when I run in a foreign city.
I love this phone. The Diamond is an absolute gem for runners. It is one the thinnest, lightest PDA phone on the market so it’s damn easy to carry around when I’m running. If I got lost, I can use the GPS function to find out where I am.
If I got REALLY lost, I can always use it make an emergency phone call.

When I ran in KL, I found Lake Gardens a God-sent (or rather, a “DBKL-sent”) in a city filled with traffic smoke.

Bangkok’s traffic is not much better. On top of that, their footpaths are bumpy and narrow. Many times I nearly tripped over because their footpaths have more holes than Ahmad Ismail’s face.
But that’s ok, I can forgive that. (The footpaths, not Ahmad Ismail’s face.)

I ran once when I was in Paris, the City of Love.
From where I stayed in the Jewish enclave of Quartier du Marais, I jogged along the tree-lined boulevards, past Notre Dame Cathedral then all the way down Jardin du Luxembourg, joining the locals doing laps around sculptures and statues, including one miniature version of the Statue of Liberty.

But by far, the best city I ran in during my training is London.
The weather has been nothing but awesome during my time there. It was never too hot, never too cold, and not once did it even drizzle when I ran.

Londoners love the great outdoors so there are always heaps of beautiful parks throughout the city to wander into.
The bigger ones like Hyde Park, St James Park and Kensington Gardens are nicely decorated with ponds, lakes, sculptures and fountains.

Occassionally, you may see a duck sunbaking by the pond.

Or a hungry squirrel roaming about in the park.
Squirrels are cute. They are exactly like hamsters, but with a bushier tail.

The views along London’s running tracks are absolutely stunning.
There’s this hill on the outskirts of the city called Hampstead Heath where I ran to one morning to catch the hilltop views of London city. Hampstead Heath is a big ancient park where Londoners used to picnic and and fly kites. Now, it’s a place where many Londoners taking their dogs out for a walk.

In Hampstead Heath, there are plenty of natural ponds where you can go for a cold swim the old-fashioned way without smelling like chlorine afterwards.
People have been swimming in these ponds since at least 200 years old. The council had wanted ban swimming in them due to health risks, but those crazy Londoners fought against it and won.

There’s a secondary school near Hampstead Heath. That morning, I spotted a couple of students walking to school.
I like their school uniform very much. It reminded me of Harry Potter.

Amazing. Even those schoolkids look like Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.
Speaking of Harry Potter, there IS actually a Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station.

Don’t laugh. I know I look stupid singlets and shorts.
I love noticing amusing little things about London when I wander through the streets.

There’s this takeaway restaurant near my hotel with a stupid name called “Jerk Chicken”.
I believe their next business venture is gonna be selling roast pork called “Bastard Pig”.

In Parliament Square, next to the British Parliament, a protest match was going on.
The loud but peaceful protest was against knife crime, which has become a serious epidemic lately in London. A lot of people joined in on the match and it attracted a lotta attention.

Even the dogs joined in on the protest.
Hundreds of policemen were present. Instead of shooting protestors with water cannons, the police marched alongside them and cordoned off streets to ensure safe and smooth traffic flow.

Heck, those policemen were so cooperative, you can even blatantly drink beer behind their back and he wouldn’t arrest ya.

This man in crutches here is Brian Haw.
He is an anti-war protestor who has gained worldwide media attention for his unconventional way of getting his message across.

Brian Haw has been sleeping in this camp in front of the British parliament houses since 2001.
That’s SEVEN FREAKIN’ YEARS, abandoning his own home to live on the side of the road to stage a one-man protest against war.
Everyday for seven years, those politicians going to work have no choice but to walk past Brian’s posters and be reminded of the atrocities they’ve caused in Iraq. Now that’s what I called hardcore.

I can’t imagine anyone living outdoors for 7 years just to make a statement. Can you do that?
Bloody hell, I can’t even stay still in one city for two weeks.

People here have nightmares everyday

One thing I really like about running in London, is their street names.

They either sound like they’re from Monopoly, or something your genitals would require stitches afterwards.

On my last day in London before I return to Kuching, I had the most satisfying 8 mile run from my hotel in Islington all the way to The Big Ben.

Along the way, I passed by many landmarks I recognised from Monopoly.
Starting from The Angel Islington, I went past Pentonville Road, King’s Cross Station, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly, Pall Mall, and finally Trafalgar.

It’s so exciting to see these venues come alive from the legendary 2D board game I have played since young. I felt as if I’ve already known them before I even set foot in London. If only Monopoly money were real, I’d buy them as I walked past them.
There was one only problem though.

I did not past GO. Did not collect $200.

I can’t believe I actually cried watching the Sex And The City movie. I wasn’t even a fan of the series and it was THAT good.
Dammit I am losing my masculine touch.

116 Replies to “Marathon Training Around The World”

  1. For a guy who is as well traveled as yourself, I would think you should know better then to call something stupid before doing some research. Jerk chicken is a Caribbean specialty, you can read more about it on my “url”. it’s not “stupid” and I don’t think the people of Caribbean islands would appreciate you typing that either. Just imagine, someone coming to Malaysia and saying that kolo mee(sp?) is stupid and probably not edible cause it looks like hook worms. Come on man…

  2. wow a long post & interesting read! XD
    I will be covering the marathon event as part of an assignment.
    Don’t forget to smile when u see a camera aight?
    PS: Sabah is the best man! If u do drop by, we got lotsa food to try!

  3. it’s posts like this which i realli love. about travel. about the lil’ things beautiful in life.. thanks for sharing with all of us the beautiful sights of the countries u’ve been. informative yet interesting.. it’s a refreshing contrast to the dull and monotonous scream for attention filled with vengefulness of the bitching, jealous/non-jealous pink blog c***

  4. the weather in UK only good to jog when it’s summer. Now it’s getting super duper cold. It’s only oct and it’s 2 degrees! Even just a few steps out from the house and I feel like getting back into the house already.

  5. Jerk chicken is an actual Caribbean dish. Dunno why it’s called that. I’ve always wanted to try it because it smells SO good! But it’s always over 6 pounds which is just too much for me 8-(

  6. You are right Kenny, the parks in UK is really really good for running! I love just be in the nature, enjoying the scenery, and breath the fresh air in the park. Its always my favourite destressing therapy during exam period. Just wish Kuching could be like that too=(

  7. Jerk chicken is delish – it’s spicy and savoury, sometimes with a fabulous sauce. But yes, London does have some funny road names. There’s “Pudding Lane” and “Poultry” in the financial area as well, harking back to the old old days where that area was full of old trade stores. Next time you’re in town, try a run along the river too. It’s a great circuit from the South Bank centre down to London Bridge and back the other way.

  8. This Jerk Chicken is going to be more famous after this. hahaha..
    Btw, this is a great post. From Kuching to London than back to Kuching and a superb ending.

  9. U can run at reservoir park u know. The weather helps u adapt when you’re running for the marathon.Stutong park shields u from the sun which gives u a totally different environment when ur running for the marathon.
    For a pro jogger, you should give yourself more varieties and diff styles so u wont get bored. Try running hills instead of flat grounds or doing swimming/cycling to increase ur stamina.
    All said and done.

  10. Hey Dude, great job keep the running spirit where ever you go, that is a healthy addiction. I always run with a Dog beating stick in Kuching sicne I cannot out run the dogs. btw I never did find stutong track during my 3 week stay, will get the GPS co-ord from you next trip.

  11. great post again…take me ‘running’ around some great cities around the world. Wish some readers can hav some sense of humour tho.
    Something closely linked to msia….i’m sure 1 particular moron named Sai Hateme would be busy issuing ISA arrests if the protest march is in KL….

  12. Hi Kenny! We are really looking forward to meeting you and the other participants here in KK. Not that long to go now. See you all soon.
    o.O – that shot of the Marlin is in Kota Kinabalu next to the Hyatt hotel.

  13. really make me jealous you can jog at diff city! hey I am training for marathon too, the next time you in KL and need a running mate give me a call. Totally understand what you said jogging at the same place really makes you lose your motivation. But I admire your determination to train.

  14. Gosh.finally an update KS!
    Awesome post la.really appreciated the summary of ur world-wide-walk. It helped to evoke my memories on how i used to travel to those places.
    Now my agenda’s mainly just china and india -__-
    Can’t wait to go euro-touring again ^^

  15. i thought i’m only the one who cried watching sex and the city. hehe. i cried to their sincere friendship. if only i had friends like that, those that i would shout of joy when i see them. ahaks.

  16. Man, good luck in ur marathon next week! Would’ve loved to bring u around KK but unfortunately I’m even further away from KK than you are. lol. It’s funny how I feel like I know you through reading your blogs even though I don’t. =/
    its awesome how u can jog and still take the time to snap Amazing pictures!
    keep it up! cheers!

  17. Like several people already said…jerk chicken is not a stupid name! It tastes pretty good…I had it once when a classmate made it but he toned it down because most of the “audience” were Americans.
    Imagine some Mat Salleh coming to Malaysia and making fun of the local food like “What’s this ONE TON MEE?” We’d call him an idiot, wouldn’t we?
    Anyway…running, walking, or biking are all better ways to get to know a city than going by car. You find out all the little side roads and you don’t go by the shops and houses too fast to look at them.

  18. hey kenny u gona b in kk in few weeks time? i would glad to tour u around n let u taste the great food from kk..hehe

  19. Haha, sounds like my cousin too, he always running here and there just when he is free, stress or something.
    Ask him to spot you one day LOL~

  20. KK is sure a nice place to visit. All the best with the marathon. btw, love London so much! it’s really a nice place to rest and jog while enjoying the beautiful scenery:)

  21. If u guys dun fukin like what Kenny has to say in his blog den dun fukin read it. Keep readin it and chasin after the daily posts just to criticise and give some bitching. U guys got nth else better to do isit? He talked ab jerk chicken, so what? It’s not like he’s gonna ruin the restaurant’s business for that.


  23. Hi Mr Kenny, did u bring ur dslr along when u jog or u brought only a compact camera? because I think that bringing a dslr is kinda annoying, isn’t it?

  24. It’s really relaxing to read your blog, to see the little things that you shared with us and to watch the world goes by

  25. i love reading your blog because you are blogging about serious things as well as adding a touch of humor to it. I finish every entries of yours with a glee at heart. You have done a great job updating your blog and blogging about things in order and in details. No matter how many blogs i have read, i still find your blog the best. well done kenny sia.

  26. hi, you can post about sarawak local fruits which are not available in west m’sia & s’,tarap,magan,durian kuning or dalit & etcs(all these names are from northern s’wak & brunei,some differents name in southern s’wak).

  27. jerk chicken is actually a jamaican/caribbean dish and its called so because its seasoned in jerk spice. its super delish too!

  28. I was really looking forward to running this half marathon too but due to last min plans, i had to stay back in melbourne till end of october to get some stuff done b4 flying back to kk. sigh, what a bummer!! :((( thought i might be able to finally see you in person. im hoping to train harder n go for the sg full marathon as well. n hopefully beat u at it. haha JK!
    enjoy KK! n go check out our resorts! 😉

  29. kenny coming to kk soon? wow.. 20km race means taking the full course run eh? hope to meet you in real life.. =) all the best in the marathon!!!

  30. glad to know you’ll be coming to sabah, my hometown… please take more photos and share with us.
    you cried watching sex and the city maybe it touched your heart caused you have the similar relationship…

  31. Jerk chicken is a dish which I think comes from the word “Jerky”, but then it was shortened to ‘Jerk’ Chicken.
    It is an actual dish.

  32. good endeavour shown in the lead up to your marathon..but based on your training schedule and the time you put still look the same!anyway all the best in your upcoming run…

  33. I love this post despite the fact that it was a HTC promo. 🙂 Anyway, my fave spot on monopoly (for some strange reason) is Picadilly…maybe because we have a Picadilly disco here when I was younger…tea dance, you know.
    That’s the way our polis should behave and act…not shoot water cannons. Bleessshhhhh!!!!
    And the school uniforms….really look like Harry Porter lah…

  34. kenny, Hampstead Heath is actually a place where gays congregate and hav a shag behind the bush. George Michael is a regular =) and jerk chicken is a Caribbean dish!

  35. Ah… Stutong… Is been 5 years since the last time I cycle there.
    I do hope I can travel around the world like you. It’s sure enjoying. Wish that I can meet up my net friends. But it’s pain in the ass for my wallet. Lol…

  36. Hi Kenny, good luck in your training
    Hope to see you in the Singapore Standard Charted run 😀
    I clock 10km this morning at a slow 1hr9mins at the run for hope charity run though :

  37. I lol at the harry potter part
    i too was thinking the same till u mention it that i crack up so much that i have to show my sis
    that must have been nice to jogging in the nice city~~

  38. Wow~ A very long and full of photos post!!! ^_^
    You manage to take a photo with their phone booth also~ I got no chance ar… haihzzz….
    Wanna go London so much~

  39. i was in london last year visiting my friend and you’re right, london is beautiful with funny names for its places, pubs and restaurants. i could still vividly remember on pub named dirty dicks 😀

  40. “Many times I nearly tripped over because their footpaths have more holes than Ahmad Ismail’s face.”
    Tat is so mean,lol!

  41. Kenny, you should try to run without your socks on. I was doing that for all my running and it’s cooling.

  42. why r u using a shitty adidas shoe to run? u shoud be using some kick ass nikes or asics. Only pussies use adidas for running…

  43. Excellent post! I think its a great idea to run in different cities. Great way to explore places off the beaten track and keeping FIT. I actually worked next to platform 9 3/4 for almost a year and see tourists posing daily. haha!! Am glad you enjoyed London. You are damn lucky that it didnt rain!
    Good luck with your training and keep it going!

  44. i thought the jerk chicken name was brilliant, really gets the attention of people who does not know that the type of dish exists (yeah, i was one of the people who reacted at your blog on it because we knew jerk was a dish; had my mom cook for me because we reported on jamaica as a country. it tasted really really good!).
    i envy you for having been able to visit lots of places around the world. thanks for sharing the pics:)

  45. Haha, my dad’s always been complaining how ugly that marlin statue is and here you are pasting it on your blog, haha…

  46. dude, be open minded lol!
    “jerk chicken” is actually a Caribbean or jamaican for bbq smoke chicken! its really good~
    you should try.

  47. so.. how long u gonna stay in kk? if u’re thinking of jalan2 around town at night just be careful with those ptis .. especially those around the marlin statue area.. and can u tell where u might be hanging out when u’re here? maybe i can meet u and say hi hehehe~

  48. very nice and interesting entry. i enjoyed a lot. and, good luck for your marathon. you’ve lost weight, haven’t you?

  49. OMG..Looking at your pics remind me of my trip thru Europe during Christmas last yr!!! It was super fun and cold!! I LOVE Paris & Eiffel tower at night. Magical. and riding the London Tube is an eye opener. makes me appreciate S’pore’s MRT much much more. My sis and me were so happy to see our monopoly “properties” in real life! Did u go to Buckhingham Palace? I went and the queen was on vacation! how dare her…Harrods & Galeries La Fayette was MARVELOUS!!

  50. OMG..Looking at your pics remind me of my trip thru Europe during Christmas last yr!!! It was super fun and cold!! I LOVE Paris & Eiffel tower at night. Magical. and riding the London Tube is an eye opener. makes me appreciate S’pore’s MRT much much more. My sis and me were so happy to see our monopoly “properties” in real life! Did u go to Buckhingham Palace? I went and the queen was on vacation! how dare her…Harrods & Galeries La Fayette was MARVELOUS!!

  51. are there any websites for marathons in sarawak?
    -or does anybody know of any marathons happening in early 2009(sarawak)

  52. Jerk Chicken is actually a local food of the Caribbean… and it tastes fantastic… with it’s own blend of special spices! It used to be a twice-weekly indulgence for me when i was there for 5 years. their peppers and chillis are really spicy and interesting. Beats KFC anytime! This food is, i believe, hundreds of years old before the word JERK is known for its current meaning.

  53. Kenny – you’re something else! You should be on the stage with that sense of humour. So refreshing – keep on running. Rita :o)

  54. Im jealous kenny. running in all those different cities. And im jealous of your phone. Just to let you know Hampstead heath on an evening is a bit of a dodgy place to go jogging tho during the day its fine.

  55. also, it just struck me, the original monopoly has all the London streets and train stations, but why is it when you pass go the currency is $$$ and not £££ ?

  56. hmm got inspired.. im in ho chi minh and im thinking of running along the roads..just thinking i have to brave the motorbikes

  57. Ahmad Ismail ‘s face not only like moon hole full of shit, his stupid piggy head and coconut head has made Penang shameful. I suggest you edit your excitement and wonderful story by delete the fucking name ( I called him Ahmad Babimai) Ahmad Ismail . Never and ever appear his name when sharing with Nation of Malaysian and foreigners in this wonderful web. I enjoyed your trip and experience, I am one of Marathon fan. You fantastic ..

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