Creator of Malaysia Women Marathon encourages ladies to take up the sport


A group of runners from 261 Fearless showing their support for the women-only race

RUNNING a marathon is never an impossible feat. Some have taken part so often that they have not only grown to enjoy the time spent on the road but also encouraged many others to pick up the sport.

Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM) event director Karen Loh, who is an avid runner herself, hopes to encourage more women to lace up their running shoes and head out for a good run.

“Women are often afraid that they would not be able to finish the race in time or feel the course is too long for them,” she said at the launch of Malaysia Women Marathon in Shah Alam.

Karen, who is the brainchild behind the popular women’s only race in South-East Asia, feels that anyone could inspire their friends to run.

“People keep telling me that I inspire them to run but I feel anyone can do that too,” said Karen, who has been running for about six years. She has participated in races around the country as well as those in Japan, Australia, Europe and the United States.

The race, which will be going into its fourth edition this March 6, has encouraged many women runners to challenge themselves by signing up for the full marathon category.

“MWM has been a venue for many first-timers before they set off to compete in other marathons,” she said.

MWM has also been an inspirational platform for the women running community through the years with dialogue sessions by well-known international and local runners who share tips and stories with the participants.

This year’s event will feature a host of speakers whom Karen said would also be running and also serve as a pacer for the race.

Human rights lawyer Stephanie Case and founder of Free to Run, an organisation which helps empower runners through running for women in conflict-affected communities, will be delivering the keynote speech.

For the women’s dialogue session, participants can look forward to meeting Sue O’Brien from the Partnerunning series, Sarah Joyce from Women Running Magazine, ultra runner Jeri Chua and former national track queen Datuk Marina Chin.

This year, the MWM features four categories – the full marathon, half marathon, 10km run and the 5km fun run.

Those who complete their runs will receive a finisher medal while runners participating in the 21km and 42km will receive a finisher buff and finisher cap, respectively.

As for the course, Karen said runners would be able to enjoy a more scenic route around lesser known areas in Shah Alam.

The race will be flagged off from Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam where runners will run in Kota Kemuning and Bandar Rimbayu via the Kemuning Shah Alam Highway (LKSA) before returning to the city.

There will be various activities held prior to the race day including fitness programmes, fashion show featuring running apparel as well as health and fitness talks.

Also present at the launch was Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, Selangor Youth, Sports, Cultural and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman Amirudin Shari and IJM Land managing director Edward Chong Sin Kiat.

Registration for the race is open until Feb 21 at www.mwm.my

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