Mounting calls for refunds from Klang Marathon organisers

BY A. RUBAN
Evelyn Ang Gek Suan during her routine runs. Ang and the two other runners were hit by the car at approximately the same time, with one carried for nearly a kilometre on the roof of the car that hit them. — Picture via Facebook/ET Tey

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Participants said they will seek refunds of fees for the Klang City International Marathon 2017 where three runners were hit by a car, with one saying he will donate the funds to ultramarathoner Evelyn Ang who was critically injured.

Following Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s advice for them to demand compensation, several entrants told Malay Mail they would do so over their dissatisfaction with the way the event was conducted.

For PY Tan, however, it was not about getting the money back for himself.

“I hope to donate my part to Evelyn Ang for her unfortunate event,” the 39-year-old freelancer said.

Ultramarathoner Ang had been pacing participants at the run when a Proton Iswara ploughed into her and two others.

While the other two escaped with minor injuries, she suffered serious head injuries that required surgery. Ang also remains in critical condition.

Others told Malay Mail they would seek refunds due to the unacceptability of preparations at the event, with some saying they had feared for their safety due to lack of precautions.

Nurdina Kassim said she regretted signing up for the race almost immediately after paying about RM80 for the half marathon run.

“After making my payment, I did not receive any confirmation regarding my race kit. I emailed them (the organiser) several times and even called their office line to sort this out.

“I almost thought it was a scam,” the 25-year-old bank executive said.

She also said the route used had been dangerous, with not enough safety marshals to guide runners, especially when crossing busy roads.

At some point of the race, Nurdina said she felt as though she had gone off course as there was nobody else in sight.

“This was around 4.30am and when I was passing through some dark alley,” she said.

Ang and the two other runners were hit by the car at approximately the same time, with one carried for nearly a kilometre on the roof of the car that hit them.

Nurdina also lauded Khairy for informing runners of their rights, adding that she was unaware that runners could seek a refund under such circumstances.

“It is the best we can do to avoid any future occurrence like this from other organisers,” she said.

Khairy had also urged runners to sue if the organisers refused refunds, adding that his ministry would blacklist the firm for organising future events.

Another runner who only wanted to be identified as Kumar said the Klang Marathon was, by far, the worst run he has ever joined.

The seasoned runner said his completion time for the 42km event was affected due to parts of the route with heavy traffic that made it unsafe to continue at pace.

“My timing was 4.45 hours because I had to run slower and sometimes walk or even wait because cars were zooming past us,” he said, adding that his best timing was four hours flat.

“And I thought the Penang Bridge International Marathon was bad,” the 35-year-old consultant added. “I am definitely seeking a refund and I hope it won’t be a tedious process.”

Police arrested a 27-year-old driver who had allegedly lost control of his vehicle and rammed into the runners from behind.

Khairy later accused organisers Earth Runners Int Group Sdn Bhd of breaching Section 36 of the Sports Development Act 1997 by not getting a licence from the Sports Commissioner’s Office.

Section 36 of the Sports Development Act states that no company can be involved in organising any sporting activity or any other activity related to sports in accordance to the regulations set by the minister, unless licensed by the commissioner.