Friends, supporters run in stricken ultramarathoner’s stead

By Ida Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 ― In a heart-warming gesture, runners are dedicating their mileage to popular ultramarathoner Evelyn Ang who remains unconscious over a month since she was hit by a car while pacing others at an event in Klang.

The dedications are pouring in on a Facebook page called Run4missyblurkit that was set up by fellow runner Lyana Khairuddin and named after Ang’s online moniker, Missyblurkit.

Lyana explained that the campaign is intended to offer support and well-wishes for Ang and her family, and for runners to clock up the distance the ultramarathoner would have amassed were she not still in hospital unconscious.

“Eve is an ultramarathoner, so her mileage is insane; someone training for a marathon would do average of 50-60km a week, Eve would do that in ONE DAY while training, she has completed 100-mile (160km) and 200-mile ultramarathons.

“I know I can't run that much with my current schedule, so I wanted to do a collective mileage that would match her training schedule,” she told Malay Mail when sharing her inspiration for the Facebook page.

Runners dedicate their weekly mileage to their friend Evelyn Ang for a virtual get-well card. ― Picture courtesy of Run4missyblurkit Facebook page

On the page, runners devote their mileage to Ang from Friday to Sunday each week, which Lyana then tallies. She intends to present the Facebook page to Ang when the latter recovers to show her that friends have kept her in mind all this time

As Lyana is studying in the UK and running the Facebook page alone, the timeframe for runners to report their runs is from 9pm (GMT) on Fridays to the same time on Sunday, to cater to her schedule as a student. Ang's friends also usually meet on weekends to run.

To date, the Facebook page started on January 5 has seen 62 runners sharing their mileage with Ang during the first checkpoint (CP) last weekend or the first tallying of the mileage dedicated to her.

Lyana said runners must reach checkpoints (CP) during marathons and ultramarathons by a cut-off time or risk disqualification, adding: “It's runner's lingo and one that we always ask when Eve is doing her ultras: 'has she reached CP so and so?'“

Lyana Khairuddin (left) is seen here with fellow runner Evelyn Ang (right) and with their friend Ahmad Azrai in the background. ― Picture courtesy of Lyana Khairuddin

According to Lyana, those dedicating their distances to Ang are fellow runners and mostly know her from their weekend running group Tasik Perdana Running Club (TPRC), otherwise known as the Terrence Poon Running Club.

“Most are Malaysians, including Malaysians currently living abroad, some are expats who have lived in Malaysia/ currently residing in Malaysia and was/is a part of our running group,” she said.

Lyana said the response for the first CP has been good with 938.89km logged, with some ultramarathoners even dedicating a full 100km to Ang in that first week alone.

“For me, I just want Eve to know that we all love her and that we believe she will recover and run with us again, so this support is wonderful,” Lyana said, describing Ang as a “stalwart” of the running community in Kuala Lumpur.

“The page will run until the anniversary of Eve having completed her Monster Ultra Challenge last year (200km). As we know that she had plans for ultras this year, this page could hopefully let Eve know that she has 'ran' ultras too, that we are all dedicating mileage for her, doing what she loves and what she has taught us to love,” she added.

Ang had participated in the 48-hour Monster Ultra 200 last year, completing the challenge on May 1 in 50 hours and 58 minutes.

Evelyn Ang hits the gong at the Twincity Marathon 2017 after achieving a new personal best for a full marathon, completing it 11 minutes faster despite the run being set in humid and tropical Malaysia. ― Picture courtesy of Vincent Khor

On Lyana's call for Ang's non-runner friends to start running and share stories of their experience, she said this would allow them to show their support in a tangible way.

“Eve is actually also an avid volunteer with causes like the 2015 East Coast Flood Relief, and a number of other causes. Everywhere she goes, she'll encourage people to take up running, so this is also for those friends who know her from these causes to show her how much she has positively affected their lives.

Ang was one of three runners hit by a driver on 4.30am on December 10, 2017 at the 14km mark of the Klang City International Marathon 2017. The two others had minor injuries, while she was severely hurt and suffered a skull fracture.

Ang's husband, Dennis Loo, told Malay Mail earlier this week that she has had four surgeries since the accident and is currently in a stable condition, having left the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

While she is also off the respirator and no longer in an induced coma, she has yet to regain consciousness, he said.

Close friend Ana Fauzi said Ang had achieved her personal best (PB) for a full marathon during the Twincity Marathon 2017 on January 15, 2017. In that run, Ang completed 42.195km through Putrajaya and Cyberjaya in 4 hours 29 minutes and 42 seconds, or around 11 minutes faster than her previous record at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2015.

“She had already signed up for the same run scheduled next weekend. She was aiming to do another PB but unfortunately she can't make it now,” Ana told Malay Mail, referring to the Twincity Marathon 2018 which will be held on January 21.