Born in Kuala Lumpur, but currently living in Petaling Jaya (Selangor, West Malaysia) Cecil Cheong is a 22 years old running engineer. His running career started with track events (1987-1997) but since 1992 he is also participating in road races, defending the colors of the Club Roadrunner Ipoh, a running club with over one hundred members.
Cecil usually runs five times a week not lesser then 5 kilometers but not more then 15, depending on the daily workload. He runs alone during the week, but in a group on the weekends, alternating routes to get some fresh workouts.
He does not eat anything special before a run. Runners in Malaysia usually consider bananas to be the best food before engaging in any sport activity.
In the tropical country like Malaysia runners only can have either rain or shine. "Personally I enjoy both" - says Cecil - "but most runners will skip the rainy day. My favourite weather is the drizzling after a heavy downpool". Heavy thunderstorms may affect running in Malaysia, as they are really dangerous.
Cecil usually wears running shorts, singlet and sunglasses in the sunny day, and running lycra, thong and cap in the rainy day. He owns four pairs of running shoes, one pair of all season running shoe that allow him to go for some trail run. No other running accessories or aids. He keep himself up to date by reading running magazines.
Running in Malaysia is an accepted activity, and the number of runners is raising as every state organizes it own events annually. However the popularity of running among men and women depend by the location. Because Malaysia is a multi-races country, Muslims are not supposed to expose their body shape, "hence we have to respect their religion" adds Cecil, and particular consideration has to be given to the running attires. Dogs are also "not permittable for Muslims in my country", so runners with their dog will not be too recommended in a public jogging park. Practicing running is though generally safe and Cecil notes that "the municiple council has stright control these days" on the roads. The only precaution Cecil takes is not to listening to any music when running as it is really dangerous when you running along the roadside.
Cecil participates in organized events. There are many races from 10 kilometers up to a full marathon held annually. The entry fee normally costs 10 Malaysian Ringgits (approximately 2.5 U.S. dollars) for those races below half-marathon, while a full marathon is usually 30 Malaysian Ringgits (approximately 8 U.S. dollars). T-shirt or food are always complimentary and participants are awarded with medals and certificates. Race organizers provide refreshment points during an organized race, usually sponsored in the prestigious races.
Cecil has ran in other cities, as he tries to plan his holidays around races. However he has yet to run a marathon. His personal best on the half marathon is 1:23 but he assures, "there is still plenty of room to improve". His all time favourite event is the "Kuala Lumpur Towerthon".
Run The Planet would like to thank Cecil Cheong from Malaysia for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.