Razif Yahya,41, The first Malaysian to attempt the prestigious LEADVILLE TRAIL 100 ULTRA-MARATHON

This is the true & raw story of our fellow Malaysian runner, Razif Yahya,41 years old. The first ever Malaysian to attempt the prestigious LEADVILLE TRAIL 100 (LT100) ULTRA-MARATHON.

Let this be an inspiration to all of us.

Lost my virginity in Bali.

The Journey

The toughest challenge in my first ever half marathon was .......

making the decision to run the 21km and having the guts to register for the distance.

Once that was done the rest was auto cruise. It was also easy to push myself to train for the run because 16th June was Father's Day and I did the 21km for my daughter.

I wanted to show her that age does not matter . YOU CAN DO IT!

Getting into training was exciting when I had a goal of completing the run in 3 hours.

And I did it. 3 hours 1min. That included 10mins of photo taking and chatting with the local kampung people in Bali. Otherwise I would have done it under 3 hours and Nick Phillip Arthur would have bought me a keg of beer.

My favorite training regime was aquarobics particularly on the spot running in the sea (chest high depth).

My favourite "thing" that happened was meeting fellow runners from different countries. Sammy and his family come from Jakarta and were staying at the same hotel with me in Sanur. What great people they are.

Sammy, Joshua, The OrangeMan, Suzyanna and friend 
We become friends instantly and not only he gave me a lift to and fro from the race venue but also helped me pace the run.

The run itself was beautiful in terms of the natural beauty Bali is.

The view that took my breath away was the Gunung view (dont know the name). Just about 6.30am I was on my 8th KM (the race started at 5.35am) when the clouds broke away at a distance and the farwway beauty of a tropical rainforest mountain was revealed to me.

I noticed that most runners just kept running but I stopped and just took some time to admire GOD's creation.

The charming and friendly Bali kampung people were there along the route cheering us on. Some actually sat down there quietly probably thinking why the hell would someone want to put themselves through the pain just to claim that they finished a 21km or a 42km on foot.

The Event itself

I thought the race kit collection center at Westin Resort Nusadua was fantastic as hotel and the way the collection center was set up. However, it was one hour by taxi from Sanur.

The collection was smooth although there was a waiting time 15 to 30 mins for a a queue of say 30 people. The total number of runners was no more than 2100.

The race venue at the Safari Park has its charm but I dont think it can cope for a larger crowd. People parked by the roadsides dangerously and walked towards the venue but there were no directions to follow.

The route for 21km was actually very scenic and was well laid out with distance and route markers. However there was no mobile toilets on the way. However, there were ample route marshalls and police managing the traffic.

The drink stations were ample and well manned. Only one drink station which was suppose to be around the 5km mark was 50 meters away from the route. You needed to divert from the route to have your drinks then get back on to the route again.

So I skipped that drink station and therefore I was running for about 6km with any drinks. That was tough.

I was also running in the dark for a good 6km and breathing in the open burning smoke. It was like running and smoking a cigarette at same time.

Despite some this little hiccups I really admire the race director Sayto Haryo Wibosono who is a senior management member for BII Maybank. Despite his full time job he was able to coordinate and execute this international event.

Race Director of BII Maybank Bali Marathon: Satyo Haryo Wibosono


I am glad I lost my virginity in Bali. I am glad I decided to run the 21km instead of my initial 10km plan. I am glad I did it overseas because it will be forever in my memory stronger. I am glad I met Sammy, Joshua, Suzyanna, Sari and the rest of the family.

I am so grateful that GOD has blessed me to be in the sports business.




10 points on why having a goal is key?

This is my final week of training for the BII Maybank Bali Marathon this Sunday, 16th June.

It has been interesting and exciting to say the least. I have been energized, motivated, inspired, anxious and nervous. What a cocktail of emotions. Physically, I have toned up and my muscles are coming back. Thank GOD, they were still hiding somewhere in my body.

I found that all this reengineering of myself came along because I have a goal.

Below are 10 points why having a goal is important to me:

1. 21km run goal got me off my lazy arse and I started my regime of being healthy
2. Consequently I feel and look good, my self confidence is even higher
3. I got into a routine and broke the habit of indiscipline where exercise is concerned
4. Met new friends and a support group
5. The mental journey is more exciting then run itself
6. I can fit into tighter tops...looking sexy baby ( some self indulgence here)
7. Less drinking of the happy juice, therefore spending less money on it
8. Sleep early and wake up early
9. Others are motivated by me
10. Travelling overseas to run. Thats FUN!

My heart melted last night when my daughter sang me a happy father's day song over the phone since I wont be with her this Sunday (Father Day). I have decided to complete the 21km, rain or shine for my princess.

I know this is a really short blog but thats all I want to say.

Just Do it!

This is my second week of training for the 21km in upcoming BII Bali Marathon on June 16th. It has been an interesting journey. I have taken the approach of .... "I don't want to die doing this. Must survive and must finish no matter what. I don't care about my timing."

Considering that I am 49 years old and have never done such a long distance I need to be practical. Also it has been a long time since I did any consistent physical activity. And the last run I did was the Jakarta 10km.

Therefore my training has not been like the Green Beret or GI Joe type. It has been quite enjoyable actually. With the mentality of just wanting to finish the run for personal satisfaction has been easier for me to get off my arse to exercise and train.

Below are the observations I made during my one week of training:

1. Running parks. I am glad that there are till some parks around as more and more development take over precious land for people to exercise and families to do healthy things together. The other area of concern is a sense of not feeling safe when you are running alone during dusk in the parks.

2. I actually prefer swimming to running. Made me feel fitter compared to running. I dont feel the tiredness compared to when I run.

3. I am surprised with the support that I have been getting from fellow runners and by those who don't run (LOL). Special "Thank you" to Leen Alkhatib. facebook has a purpose.

4. I even started do some weeding around my house because I have more energy.

5. Definitely feel fresh and fantastic after the training and a few hours after that.

6. When I did my sit ups today, I saw clouds from a different perspective. They are quite beautiful in their own ad hoc way. I noticed the moon up in the skies at 8am.

7. I surprised myself when I finished my running and went into a small time circuit training. Something I remembered when I was running for my school Victoria Institution. I also played football and hockey. It is muscle memory or DNA?

8. The best part is when seasoned runners can spot you as a beginner from a mile. They smile at you and I get the sense that they embracing me in the running fraternity.

9. I like mapmyrun. It is a cool application. I like the male voice that tells your distance covered, time taken etc. Good change from that female voice in car GPS systems that demands you take the left turn even if you dont wont to (LOL).

10. Brooks came forward and are sponsoring me the whole running gear. Running vest, round neck collar tee shirts, running tights, socks and even running shoes. Hooha! Brooks.

11. I wish that I can mix my training with some gym work.

12. My eating habits have changed alot in a such a short period. I automatically go for organic food as my first selection. Less oily food. I reduced my coffee intake. I even began to make my own green apple juice.

13. I have lost weight. And it is quite immediate too. Lost 2.5kg in under one week of training. Guess what, I still went and had happy hours with mates. (really long happy hour).

Important note: I have a better understanding why runners want to know how many drink stations there are on route. While I was running, I noticed that I was mentally timing when I should have my next sip of water to fuel my body energy and to quench my thirst... so that I can survive my first ever half marathon.

Should I wear my Orange sunglasses at the marathon?

Why do I need to do a half marathon? No bloody idea!

NO bloody idea why I have decided to a run a half marathon when the longest distance I have done is 12km.

I was sitting down and having a cup of coffee with the Bali Marathon race director Pak Satyo Haryo Wibisono at 7am at Plaza Senayan in Jakarta and we were talking about me possibly doing the 10km at the Bali marathon. This was last Friday

Yesterday, I just registered for the half marathon. Long story short, he sold me on the idea of running the 21km and I just walked into it.

I wonder why?

Why am I doing this at my age? I just turned 49 in April. I was cruising along in life with lots of fun. I am not a hard core health junkie. My exercise frequency is OK lah.

I like new challenges especially sporting ones. Thats why I took the opportunity of being in the panel of Bola@mamak being the OrangeMan.

Anyway, I decided to go for my first half marathon in Bali.

How do I feel?

I feel that I must train just to make sure I dont die half way through the run. I have been eating indiscriminately and drinking a fair bit of happy juice.

But now since I started my training, my food intake has improved. Replacing rice with chapatis Replacing oily food with organic meals. Lot more fibre and a little less meat.

More water than beer! Big sacrifice that.

I am still  abit loss on what regime to follow. For instance,  what distance should I do on a daily basis. How often should I train? What do I do as the day get closer? Is 3 weeks enough of training enough for me to complete the 21km?

Too many questions and not enough answers.

Would I be like this

 or like this

When passion becomes murder! Indonesian football madness.

I was going to blog on how it feels meeting famous footballing legends on the bola@mamak show. I was going to share with you guys how I felt meeting Zola, Paul Parker, John Barnes, Andy Cole, David May, Roy Evans, Stephan Henchoz and most recently Didi Hamman. 

But just as I was to start my blog I received the email below.

The email is from Raka, a 16 year old Indonesian youth who went backpacking to Surabaya during his exam breaks. Raka, if you have read my previous blogs, wrote about Car Free Day in Jakarta.

So when his mom told me that Raka is travelling to Surabaya I got excited because the fiercest fans known as Bonek Surabaya come from there. The local Surabaya team is known as Persebaya. So casually I mentioned to him to interview some of these Bonek fans.

Below is a small part of Raka's journey experiencing football fanaticism  in Indonesia. 

Hey. So here's the situation.

On the 15th of April, a congregation of Persebaya 1927 supporters gathered in the Governor's office in Surabaya to protest their team's demise. With the national league split in two, some political wrangling led to the creation of a split. Two Persebayas are playing in the split leagues of Indonesia. One version of Persebaya, the Persebaya 1927, is considered by many to be the 'original' Persebaya and is the more popularly supported team. But in the PSSI National Congress, where the PSSI aimed to unite the two opposing leagues in Indonesia, they decided to create a united national league starting next season. Persebaya 1927, the people's club, was not recognized. They will not be joining the united national league, and the 'other' Persebaya will join the league in their stead.

Now, this other Persebaya is headed by a guy called La Nyalla. In the PSSI National Congress, he was appointed the vice head of PSSI. And at the same congress, his version of Persebaya was recognized as the original incarnation and included in the league in spite of popular backlash against him. Coincidence or political manouvering by football's 'mafias'? The masses seem to think the latter. Hence they gathered on the 15th of April, demanding that the Governor ban the 'other' Persebaya from playing in Surabaya, which the Governor duly did, releasing a letter supporting Persebaya 1927. That letter, though, was condemned as 'governmental intervention' by the PSSI.

The night after the 15th of April protests, a fan organizer named Andi Peci was attacked with knives by mysterious men. The word on the streets is, those men are sent by La Nyalla, the head of the 'other' Persebaya because Andi Peci went ahead with the protest anyway despite 'warnings' imploring him to do otherwise.

And here's where it gets funky. They kept me in the dark for a few weeks, avoiding my calls asking for an appointment over and over again. It turns out that they have agreed on a media blackoutnot talking to any member of the media due to the media's perceived bias against them. They told my uncle that they will be releasing a statement soon, and they might send it to me before other members of the media. I certainly hope they will. Personally, I tried to push on and get the interview anyway. But I was stopped by members of my family. These guys are nekat, they said. They're crazy. They are not to be trifled with. Therefore I backed off.

All this, and I haven't even talked about the dead supporter beaten to death in Gresik. A supporter wearing Persebaya colours was spotted in a match between Petrokimia Gresik against Arema Malang. Arema is a big rival of Persebaya. After the match, the supporter and his friends was stopped by a convoy of Arema supporters and beaten to a pulp, eventually dying in hospital due to severe injuries. You do know that the Bonek supporters were so angry with the Malang supporters for killing the supporter, that they actually closed off a part of the highway around Surabaya looking for people from Malang? The Governor actually had to come there and implore the supporters to come home. Tear gas was used.

All I'm saying is that there's plenty to talk about. Drop me a line when you're in Jakarta.



Raka Ibrahim A

Fatal cardiac arrests, football injuries and artificial pitches: An Italian perspective.

A young Malaysian woman who is a hard core football fan now writes for Forza Italian Football while studying in the United Kingdom.

I dont have much information about Keshika Subbarao for now but I can say that this eager young Malaysian is moving up in the footballing world as indicated by her twitters and the interviews she has done.

Just yesterday, she sent me the exclusive interview to me and have taken the liberality to publish on my blog. 

In the below interview, find out what the Italian FA thinks about on the pitch fatal cardiac arrests, football injuries and the role of artificial pitches on those injuries.

Exclusive: Forza Italian Football Sits Down With Fabrizio Tencone, Juventus’ Chief Medical Officer

The Isokinetic Medical Group, a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence hosted the 22nd Annual Sports Rehabilitation conference on footballers’ muscle and tendon injuries and which took place on 20 – 21st April, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London.
 the Chief Medical Officer of  and Director of Isokinetic Turin attended the conference and Forza Italian Football managed to sit down for an interview with Italy’s leading Sports Medicine expert.

What are the changes that have been made in Italian Football afterPiermario Morosini incident last year?( Morosini suffered a fatal cardiac arrest episode on the pitch during a match between Pescara and Livorno in 2012)
One of the main changes that have been made is the formation of an official panel of experts working together with Italian federation of cardiology and Italian federation of sports medicine to improve the medical aspect of football. There has also been a requirement that each field is equipped with defibrillator.
Defibrillator is the most important device when it comes to saving a person.  We know today that if we have defibrillator it can save a person and such incident can happen to anyone therefore it is important.  Italian Sports Association is trying to improve this by bringing in new rule where every pitch has to have defibrillators near the bench.
Do you think anything could have been done differently in regards to the Morosini incident at that time?
Currently there is an ongoing inquest regarding the incident so I can’t comment on it.
Is there any link between playing football at a young age and the injuries that are acquired when playing football as an adult?
Every previous injury a player had can be a risk factor for injuries in the future. So if you had an injury while playing football at a young age, that kind of injury and healing of that injury can be a huge risk factor for new injury when you’re older, especially injuries relating to muscle because muscles do not heal normally.
Muscles get scars and if you had a lot of muscle injuries when you are young, then you will have a lot of scars on the muscle and that makes the muscles less flexible and elastic compared to before, therefore it can be risk factor. Some Injuries are different when you are young and old. When a person is young they are still growing and some parts of the body are not completely attached to the other part, which makes them more fragile.
How do you feel about Juventus elimination after losing to Bayern Munich?
I am sad. They (Bayern Munich) were much stronger than us both in Munich and Italy.  There was a great difference between Juventus and Bayern Munich. There is no excuse for Juventus.  At the moment, and only for the moment, Bayern Munich are the stronger team.
Is playing on astro turf or artificial pitch harmful to the players?
A lot of scientific studies are being carried out at the moment to study artificial turf but it could not be determined whether or not artificial pitch is a bad thing. In the centre and south part of Italy, the weather is not ideal for the growth of good grass and it is very dry. Therefore it is better to have artificial turf compared to nothing at all.
It cannot be said for certain whether artificial pitch increase the rate of injury or not. It is difficult to analyse this as every few years there is a new type of artificial turf emerging quality and it changes in terms of absorption efficiency and so on making it difficult to compare them.
For example, 10 years ago artificial turf was very bad and it was possible injuries were increased due to that back then but now the artificial turf are almost similar to grass so there is no difference. UEFA are doing lot of studies on this topic as well. But maybe there is no much difference between artificial and real pitch.
Dr Fabrizio Tencone began working with Juventus early on as one of their doctors, before becoming their First Team Doctor in 1995. During his time in this role, he accumulated more than 400 pitch-side appearances on the bench for the team – a record at the time. Dr Tencone still plays a major role with Juventus, acting as their Head of Medical Services since 2010.
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