10,000 expected at full marathon on KL highways on Sept 8


By CY LEE

Chan (eighth from left) with first aid runners (in orange) and marathon race event pacers. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

MORE than 8,000 participants have signed up for the first-ever full marathon to be held within a closed highway system.

The sixth IJM Allianz Duo Highway Challenge, which in the past was held as two separate events, will be combined into a single event this year.

Set to take place along the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) and the Besraya highways in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 8, this year’s road race is expected to see over 10,000 participants coming together.

IJM Corporation Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director Lee Chun Fai said the combination of both previous events had upgraded the status of the event into a full-fledged marathon covering 42km.

“We are excited about this edition as it will be more challenging than previous ones,” said Lee during the launch in Petaling Jaya.

An estimated 80% of the runners who have signed up so far are Malaysians, while 20% are international participants, he said.

New to this year’s event is the addition of two 1.5km categories for children aged eight to 10 and 11 to 13.

The race is set to make history as the first full marathon in Malaysia to be held on a closed highway system.

The marathon, first introduced in 2017, has received enthusiastic support from participants because of the unique routes being on a closed-off highway, which also increased safety for participants.

Additional safety measures have been put in place, with 30 first aid runners, eight support medical bikes equipped with defibrillators, and first aid teams stationed at each of the 14 water stations.

According to race director Eugene Chan, this race would be the first in the country to have first aid runners accompanying the participants.

“Our aim is to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants throughout the marathon,” he said.

In total, the marathon includes 15 categories for full and half marathon distances, as well as 10km and 5km run to cater to different age groups and skill levels.

Allianz Malaysia CEO Sean Wang was most excited to see the introduction of the new 1.5km category for children.

“Similar to our Allianz Junior Badminton Championship, where we introduced a new under-11 category this year, this marathon aims to be inclusive for all ages,” he said.

Wang said Allianz Malaysia as the main sponsors with IJM hoped to use the event to promote a healthy lifestyle and ensure a safe and satisfying environment for all participants.

Lee said: “This marathon is part of our commitment to encouraging a healthy lifestyle while providing a secure and fulfilling experience for everyone involved.”

Former national marathon athlete Muhaizar Mohamad, who won two bronze medals at the SEA Games, said the upcoming event would greatly benefit the running community.

“A full marathon is a core sport and this event will inspire the new generation and improve the quality of running in Malaysia,” said Muhaizar, who is also the event’s ambassador.

He said participating in such events could significantly enhance the performance and determination of runners, potentially leading them to represent Malaysia in international competitions.

For more information, go to www.ijmhighwayrun.com. Registration closes on July 30.

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