Yoma Yangon International Marathon: A Singaporean’s Experience

Jeffrey Leong and his buddy at the Yangon Marathon.

Jeffrey Leong and his buddy at the Yangon Marathon.

Last month, five free slots for the Yoma Yangon International Marathon were given away by PrischewDotCom in a lucky draw. One of the prize-winners in the competition (sponsored by HiVelocity) was Operations Supervisor, Jeffrey Leong, 53.

This was Jeffrey’s first trip to Myanmar and he participated in the full marathon (42km) category. He completed the run last Sunday in a net time of 3hours 59minutes and 15seconds – a new personal best timing.

I recently interviewed the runner to find out more about the marathon. Read on, to see what Jeffrey said.

How did you find Myanmar?

This is the first time I have been there. In term of their economic development, it’s on a par with Cambodia. Vietnam is slightly better and Bangkok is much more so. It’s not a shopping haven, but if you like historical sights, pay a visit to Myanmar.

What was it like running in the Yoma Yangon Marathon?

The weather was good. The race started at a cool temperature of about 20ºC and finished in the mid 20 degrees.

What was the most memorable part of your race?

Literally throughout the whole route, the locals were on the streets cheering you on. Some also offered food and drinks – which I really appreciated. By far, this was the best support that I’ve had for races. It made me forget the pain that I was going through and the cheering boosted my run – better than any running gel would.

Sightseeing in Myanmar.

Sightseeing in Myanmar.

What was the most challenging aspect of the run?

The hills on the last 5km. They weren’t too steep (at an incline of about 3 to 5 degrees), but on the last 5km, my energy was all sucked dry – so I could really feel the full impact of the climb!

How was running in Myanmar, compared to Singapore?

Though the logistics was not as good as in Singapore, the lively local support, the good weather and the fresh running route, more than made up for this.

What was the race scenery like?

Other than the 1.5km on the fringe of Inya Lake, the route was a bit boring. Yangon is not so scenic – except on the outskirts.

How did you find the race logistics?

The race pack collection venue was a disappointment, and there was no display or sales of merchandise at all.

The drink stations were well spread out though, at about 2.5 to 3.0 km intervals.

But there was a lack of distance markers. I only saw them at the 25km mark, not at every km.

At the race carnival site, there was not much fanfare. Most booths were unmanned too, except for the 100 plus and first aid ones.

Can you sum up your Myanmar race experience?

It was a good experience running in a developing country. But runners had to watch out for uneven surfaces on the route and there were only partial road closures.

Would you take part in the Yoma Yangon marathon again?

I’d like to do it again because of the fantastic local support.

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