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Runners young and old thronged Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Skudai, Johor for the inaugural Malakoff-UTM Eco Run 2011. A total of 1253 participants signed up for the race that offered a total prize money of RM 8,000 to 50 winners from the six categories offered.
It was also a family-oriented event as participants as young as 2 years old, accompanied by their parents, joined the 5km Fun Run category.
The event kick-started with an aerobics to get the runners warmed up for the race. Chairman of Malakoff, who is also the Chairman of UTM’s Board of Directors, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali flagged off the runners at the event, together with Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Tajudin Ninggal, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs & Alumni, UTM Skudai.
In this inaugural event, the six categories offered were Open Category (21km distance, Men’s, age between 18 and 39 and Women’s, age between 18 and 34), Veteran Category(15km distance Men’s, age above 40 and Women’s, age above 35), Inter-Department Category (15km distance, Men’s and Women’s), Inter-University (15km distance, Men’s and Women’s), Youth Category (10km distance, Men’s and Women’s, age between 15 and 18) and Fun Run Category (5km distance, Men’s and Women’s).
Themed ‘Run For Eco Awareness’, this initiative is part of Malakoff’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility platform, the Malakoff Community Partnerships. Inline with its ecological theme, UTM lined up a host of activities for participants a day prior to the run including talks on environment conservation as well as outdoor activities such as horse-riding, kayak and rowing machine.
Speaking at the event, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali was pleased that the run was a success with a huge turnout at the stadium for the inaugural event.
“This is the first time Malakoff has organized a running event in the Southern region. Previously, Malakoff has organized running events in Penang and Kuala Lumpur and the events have been a huge success and are among the favourite and most anticipated races in the respective states,” he said in his speech, during the prize-giving ceremony.
“The event was also done in Johor as a way for us to give back to our stakeholders in the local community where we operate.”
He was glad that the run was well-organized and went on smoothly without any mishaps, with the signature of all Malakoff runs of a hilly and lush, green route.
He added that other than creating awareness towards the environment, it was also aimed to cultivate a passion for sporting excellence along with promoting a healthy lifestyle by bringing together people of various backgrounds through a fun and healthy activity.
"In the coming years, I hope this event will grow with an increase participation from the public and university students, not just from Malaysia but also our counterparts in the neighbouring Singapore."
Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohd Tajudin Ninggal appreciated Malakoff’s willingness to become the co-sponsor of this event.
“We are honoured to partner with Malakoff in bringing this event to our Johor campus. We hope that this event will become an annual event for this campus and that more participants will join the race in the future.”
David Mutai and Wong Siew Seng outdid the others and came up tops in 21km Men’s Open and 21km Women’s Open, respectively. David finished the hilly route inside UTM’s Johor campus in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 46 seconds, creating a gap of more than 21 minutes between him and his closest challenger. Wong also finished 21 minutes ahead of her nearest contender, with a timing of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 53 seconds.