Marathon of blunders — Penang Boy

NOVEMBER 20 — As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Unfortunately for the participants of the recent Penang Bridge International Marathon (PBIM) the organisers had the chance to organise a great marathon but failed miserably.

Many organisational blunders were made, thus robbing the participants of an enjoyable, joyous marathon event. Worse still, the reputation of the PBIM has been badly marred.

What went wrong ? Too many things went wrong that cannot be excused by the fact it was the first time that the marathon was being held on the second Penang bridge.

Free shuttle bus

There weren't enough buses to ferry participants from Weld Quay, Komtat and Queens Bay Mall to the starting point.  Many waited more than 1½ hours to board the buses. Those fed-up with waiting, got their pre-run, by walking 5km from Queens Bay Mall to the starting line.

There were no PBIM representatives to  direct the crowd at the pick-up points.

When a bus came, all hell broke loose as everyone jostled to get on board. The old and the young were squashed in the melee.

The return buses were not labelled and some unfortunate runners ended up in the wrong disembarking points.

Again, those fed-up of  waiting and discouraged by the chaotic scene, trudged back to Queens Bay Mall, albeit with leg cramps and the hot sun beating on their backs. 

Distance marker

There were no distance markers. Even if there were, they were not noticeable by us runners. How are we expected to pace our run?

No dedicated route

Without a dedicated lane, runners were forced to weave through their way among walking crowds at various merging points. This happened at the last 10km point, and another at the last 5km point. Runners wasted time and energy trying to get through the crowd.


Signages were too few, too small, or none at all. Partici[ants did not have a clue as to where the next water station or first aid station was.

At the end of the run, it became a game of follow the crowd and hope that it will lead to the finishing line or the place to collect the medals


Unbelievable but true. There were runners who finished in the allotted time but were told there were no medals available. It was so badly organised that different category runners were given medals not in their category. There were also cases of 7km and 10km runners who were given 42km finisher T-shirts.


Imagine only two mobile toilets for 60,000 runners at some check points. As a result runners wasted time waiting to use the toilet, and at the same time those who were still running were slowed down by the toilet queues.

What was supposed to be an exhilarating experience turned out to be a frustrating one because of the incompetence of the organiser. Learn from the organiser of the KL Standard Chartered Marathon on how a proper marathon should be run.

Lastly, the PBIM organiser should consider starting the marathon on the mainland side  to solve the problem of space for parking vehicles and for the starting and finishing point.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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