Running The Vegas of Asia
The anchor was let go, the intrepid ship activated and the fairest of the fair creatures emerged from the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. There were no lethal komodo dragons, no Skyfall action—James Bond fans could go easy and take a turn into the wild that is the Latin city.
Winter just arrived and the Viva! bells were rung to kick off the Fantastic VIVA Treasure Hunt Adventure. A surge of visitors has come from all around the world to witness the handover celebration of the whole city.
This wild return to the fairyland awakened the children within us. As performing groups marched down for a psychedelic descent on the long stairs, the biting cold air gradually dissipated into the atmosphere of merrymaking that peaked everyone’s high spirit. Even the pain in our post-run, achy legs was muted by all the goings-on!
There were silly mimes swirling down in their top-like bottoms, dancers in painted faces and colorful embroidery, sacred dragons blessing the air in fiery up and down movement.
There was magic, there was history. There were ancient stories parading down and hunting for treasure in their dancing feet and indigenous regalia-clothed bodies. The French group Plasticiens Volants. The French troupe Herbert’s Dream. The Caretos de Podence from Portugal. The Luyi Folk Arts Group from Henan Province. The Reyog Moncar Manggala Surakarta from Indonesia. The Hong Kong Vigour Marching Band. The Mexican troupe Danza Azteca. The Caribbean Carnival Group from Guadeloupe. And the others—nearly 60 performing groups in all, 43 of which were local—populated the streets and alleys of the Latin City.
Much more Vegas than Vegas, Macau, on this great day in history, shed its past, present and future, only to reveal its very own identity as: Macau, beyond the moniker China’s Sin City. Macau, beyond being the Las Vegas of Asia.
ONCE UPON A RUN
If you think the game only happens on baccarat tables, we are happy to prove you wrong.
The morning before the parade saw marathon lovers from across the world flagged off from the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium into the race with horn blasts by Mr. Alexis Tam Chong Weng, Secretary of Social Affairs and Culture, Mr. Lai Ieng Kit, Chief of Office of the Secretary of Social Affairs and Culture, Mr. José Maria da Fonseca Tavares, President of Macau Sport Development Board, Mr. Ma Iao Hang, President of Macau Athletic Association, together with Mr. Francis Lui, Vice Chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG), which has been continuing its title sponsorship—2015 edition being the twelfth year—of the Macau International Marathon.
“Over the past decade, we have witnessed the marathon growing into an internationally acclaimed sporting event, featuring an impressive combination of local amateur and professional running enthusiasts as well as those from overseas regions. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the organizers of Macau International Marathon as the race has proven to be a great success in global marathon sports,” Mr. Lui said.
This edition took the runners through the Historic Center site. Elements of the parade were mixed into the race course, so the synergy of the diversified events that followed was written all over the air.
With 2,000 more participants, this year’s event witnessed 8,000 runners from local and overseas toe the starting line, with 1,200 joining the Full Marathon, 2,600 joining the Half Marathon and 4,200 joining the Mini Marathon.
The weather may have dropped into a bone-chilling temperature of 12 degrees, but this didn’t stop the runners from surging ahead to the finish line.
Ukraine’s Vitality Shafar swept the Marathon champion title in the Male category in 2:14:44, while Olena Shurkhno, also from Ukraine, emerged on the top by clocking in at 2:33:24 in the Female category.Ukraine’s Vitality Shafar swept the Marathon champion title in the Male category in 2:14:44, while Olena Shurkhno, also from Ukraine, emerged on the top by clocking in at 2:33:24 in the Female category.
Running Malaysia ran the half-marathon and was fortunate to pass by historic landmarks such as the World Heritage-listed A-Ma Temple, which already existed even before the city of Macau came into being, along with the runners of the same category and the full marathoners.
We also entered the underwater tunnel in Cotai to reach the University of Macau’s Hengquin Campus and bypassed Broadway Macau, the hawker-style street that opened in May for the first time in Macau. It’s located right opposite Galaxy Macau where we stayed for the entire trip. Seeing our hotel made us want to slink back to bed as soon as possible. Brrr!
While the entire course was generous with lovely views, the miles still flowed on slowly (oh so slowly), especially when crossing over the challenging eyesore that was the bridge—and back! Through the up, up and up of the run, we had to admit that running with the full marathoners almost throughout the course was a relief, having known that they had to tackle the bridge double our doing—4 times! Ours still passed off as the better news!
The race finished where it started. Our Team Reebok Malaysia, represented by the brand ambassadors, namely, Zijun Loh CK, Noel Maniraj Chelliah, Kimbeley Yap and Steven Goh, together with other media representatives, finished strong and slunk back to the warmth of our rooms, saving our post-run legs for what would be an afternoon and night of seemingly endless walking and wefies! No, we’re not complaining, as the continuation of our day revealed more surprises. Is overindulging a sin? Not in the city of Macau, when everyone’s celebrating the 10th anniversary of the inscription of “The Historic Centre of Macau” on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the 16th anniversary of Macau’s handover to China.
With our fun and friendly company from the Macau Government Tourist Office, who never failed to interpret the cultural and contemporary heritage of the city to us, the trip to the Sin City took on a new meaning. Is overindulgence a sin? Not in Macau, and not for us, with marathon and cultural performances as our guilty pleasures. We plead guilty, Your Honor.