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(For The Love of) Running – On Jakarta International 10K Race

How it started 

They say that love gives you wings.. so that you can ‘fly’.

I would say that love gave me more ‘energy’ than any carbo-loading possibly could provide. It packed more ‘fire’ to your calves and pumped extra ‘beats’ to your heart that an hour of run was like a walk in the park. Pardon me for a being a bit of melodramatic and hyperbolic when I talk (or write) about running and family at the same time.

The morning started very early.. From 4AM to be exact. Got my gear ready from the night before i.e. BIB, jersey, shoes etc. I learned the hard way from my 2nd 5K Race not to be late (again).

Alas, I sort of made the same mistake that morning. Since I was riding with a colleague to the running event, and this friend was actually also a novice to running race (he is quite fit, though) , he made my mistake of being (almost) late.

So I caught a ride with him and he sped through the road..

…from Serpong to Monas in less than an hour (it’s around 30km).

The adrenaline already kicked in..

The car was running no slower than 100 km per hour and during the ride my wife and son called me..

My two year old said “I ‘yove’ you” (he can’t pronounce ‘L’ until now.. but it sounded so cute).. That’s what I meant by the ‘fuzzy’ feeling at the beginning.

So there you go, with serotonin and adrenaline — at the same time —  as my breakfast, I joined my first 10K.

Jakarta International 10K.

Just 5 minutes away from 6.30AM, the starting time, we arrived and parked the car more or less 300 m from the starting line. We sprinted all the 300m to the starting line and joined the rest of the 30,000 over crowd of runners; sea of green.

Thanks to MILO (the title sponsor of this event), the shirt colored Jakarta green that morning..

Except for the elite runner who could wear their own jersey and the indorunners crowd who wore ‘funky’ and ethnic costume.

How it went

I saw many familiar faces (the familiar strangers) from the previous 5K races that I joined (Wintermar, Maserati and ISCI) — the young 20-to-30-something Jakartans and also expats. Yes, running is not actually a popular sports (yet) here in Jakarta and Indonesia, in general.

The second group people that I notice was the ‘cadet’ or ‘officers’ type — those guys with the crew-cut hair and army-like postures. I can safely say that this group made up half of the people that I saw during the race. Hahaha.. Go figure.

I kept reminding myself to run at my own pace in the first 5 minutes since (from my very short experience in 5k race) this is normally the time when — be it you are an elite runner or a Sunday runner — you will run at around 20km per hour. This is simply not sustainable pace for me. At least for the next 1 to 2 months 🙂

And.. Yep. I proved myself right. I ran past those crowds who sped through me; and that time, these guys were walking, catching their breath.. Well, guys, life is a lot like this long distance run. Know your resources (your body capacity) and run your journey. Sorry, I tend to be a hopeless philosopher as well when I talk about running.

The weather? It was a nice sunny Sunday morning.. Hmm.. come to think of it, it was a bit cloudy, rather.. However, since we were running due to South in the first 5K and going back to the North, you didn’t actually stare at the sun either on the first or second 5K.

The bitumen road is mostly flat, with a slight elevation during the first 5K (from 2km to 3km) and obviously the road back to Monas is the reverse..

But the highlight of the event is definitely the ‘show’ of costume by the runners from @indorunners. I can still recall one guy who wore a gladiator costume and pushed his wife on a wheelchair. Turned out that his wife was pregnant (At the time, I thought the wife was quadriplegic or something). Still a beautiful sight, though. There was another costume that caught my attention, this guy who wore oversize mask (it was an ‘ondel-ondel’ head) and wore ‘sarong’ instead of a running short. Hahaha.. Good one, mate 🙂

Oh.. and even a gorilla

The winners? The Kenyans. It took only 29 minutes for the 1st winner to run from Monas through Hotel Indonesia Roundabout and Sudirman (this is the first 5K route); and got back to the same route again to Monas.


Well… That was my warm-up race before the Triathlon Relay, next month in Bali.

Let it be a ‘suspense’ for now 🙂

Final thoughts

I know it’s a long shot..

Hmm.. Is it possible for us, Indonesians, to win our 10K race, at least at home, on our own turfs?

These days, when I start my morning run, my two year old Aslan always runs behind me (at least for 200 to 300 m) and tries to catch me.

Like an ending of a good Hollywood movie (with a sure sequel)..

I would say, “Watch out Kenyans”.


Picture credit:, twitter picture from @indorunner

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