KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — The organiser of the highly-popular Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur (SCKL) marathon announced today it is cancelling the 42km run that was scheduled to kick off at Dataran Merdeka here tomorrow.

The organiser cited the unhealthy air level as its main reason for the 11th-hour cancellation, though acrid smoke from widespread forest fires in Indonesia have been shrouding the city and other parts of Malaysia and Southeast Asia for weeks.

“Dear runners, the health and safety of all our runners remains our top priority. Since our last announcement, the haze has unfortunately reached unhealthy levels according to the latest monitored alert.

“Due to the rapidly deteriorating air quality and on the advice from the medical team, the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF), and the Institut Sukan Negara, we regret to announce that the Standard Chartered KL Marathon will be cancelled,” the organiser said in a statement.


It added that the decision to call off the run is supported by co-organisers, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), as well as title sponsor, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia.

The organiser advised registered participants to head to Dataran Merdeka tomorrow to collect their race entitlements directly, adding that the counters will be open from 6am until 12 noon.

“For those who are unable to collect their entitlements during this time, alternative arrangements will be announced through the Standard Chartered KL Marathon social media channels,” it said.


Despite the cancellation, city roads along the planned route are to remain closed from 6am to 9am tomorrow.

They are: Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Kuching, Jalan Parlimen, Jalan Cenderawasih, Jalan Lembah and Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin.

First started in 2009, the SCKL marathon covers a distance of 42km starting from historic Dataran Merdeka in the city, with registered participants now numbering over 30,000.

The air pollutant index (API) showed the air quality in 13 more spots had worsened this afternoon with readings crossing the 100 mark into the unhealthy zone.

The API reading for Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya was at 123 while Cheras stood at 107, up 11 rungs from 9am. Petaling Jaya and Banting in Selangor read 122 and 118 respectively on the API.

Places in the country where the air quality was below the 50 mark were Sekolah Menengah Tanjung Chat in Kota Baru, Kelantan (49); Sandakan, Sabah (47); Sibu, Sarawak (44); and Keningau and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah (39 and 35, respectively).

An API reading of 0 to 50 indicates good air quality; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 300 and above, hazardous.

Indonesia is investigating 100 companies and has so far frozen or revoked licences for four plantation companies, Bloomberg has reported, adding that the government will also investigate Singaporean and Malaysian companies there.