#BajakJKT Is Revenge a Necessity?

#BajakJKT Is Revenge a Necessity?
I’m a fan of Nike.
I’m a fan of its shoes and apparels.
I’m a fan of its “Just Do It” attitude, telling us not to think too much, get a move on and just do it.
I’m a fan.Let me share to you what happened last Saturday, 13-12-14. It was the day that Jakarta’s traffic went to a complete stop. There was no riot, there was no protest/demonstration, there was no accident and there was no people blocking the streets for praying. None of the above happened, yet, its a complete stop.

Nike Indonesia held a running event called #BajakJKT. It was for the second time. The word “bajak” means “hijack”, while JKT is an abbreviation for Jakarta. I raced the first #BajakJKT and found that event was awesome. I had my first 10k there and got me hooked to a race.

When I heard the 2nd #BajakJKT is coming and open for registration, I didn’t think about anything else and I registered. I didn’t think about how much it cost, when, where, etc. I will pay whatever it cost, clear whatever in my schedule and just did it. I am that satisfied with the first race and am a fan of Nike.

But when it comes to the day that I collected the race pack, I was surprised to see that the event took place on a Saturday afternoon. For those of you not living in Jakarta, you have to know that Saturday after 11am up to say, 10pm at night, can be worse than a working day. Jakartans loves malls, we have over 100 of them, so the day can be crazier.

I was worried.

My preparation for this run was massive. I ran 230km in 8 weeks with a virtual coach from the Nike Running app on my smartphone to get my mojo up. I was in my 10th week of Freeletics training when the event started. I build up muscles, stamina, and giving up morning quality time with wife. (Sorry, dear) I never been on a marathon, even a half marathon. But I’m getting there. So I treated this event as a stepping point to get there.

There are few things bothering me about racing in the afternoon. The reason I run every 5.30am in the morning is because the air is soooo fresh! but running in 4pm? I’m worried.

The Race Day

When the race day arrived, my worries came true. I’m used to waking up early, about 5am, and stay awake until the race time, which is 4pm. I was already a bit jaded & sleepy around 1-2pm, not in my best condition for a race. But I went anyway.

Hearing on the social media how bad the traffic was (which was predicted), I decided to take a taxi. I left the house around 2.30pm and only arrived at 4pm. It was that bad. I jumped out of the taxi, and started running straight away. No warm up, I was late.

My worries of the pollution came true as well. The air was sooo dirty, I was inhaling CO2 and it slowed me down. Even in the normal traffic it was smokey, now added traffic jam to that!

Some roads were closed, some were using most of the lanes. There are parts that we have to cross a traffic lights, which halted the traffic completely. The race started at 4pm, the start line still open until 5pm. There were about 5000 runners participated in the race. Its a 10k race. Start imagining the chaos…. now!

Here’s the thing about Nike race, they are for beginners, like me. The good thing is, its open for public, no drawings, no qualification, so I can participate. The bad thing is… There are too many walkers! I feel like I’m in the middle of a Walking Dead movie. It was the 1st km and we already have people walking. Its okay if the tracks are big enough, but it was not!.

Runners, or should I say, walkers, were walking, chatting, taking selfies, brought their action cam, recorded their run all the way. And when they walk, they are walking on the right side of the road. So there was no place to dodge. Walking. Dead.

While on the other part, we have hundreds of car, trying to get their way to Gambir Train Station, Cathedral Church, Istiqlal mosque for praying, weddings, and hundreds of other reason, parked in the middle of the road waiting for walkers to take selfies! Drivers was out of their vehicle, chatting with each other, complaining and also took pictures of us. A guy in a motor bike yelled at me at one time, even trying to ran me over while screaming a very foul word. I just kept my head down & run.

What saddens me more is that some runners were giving back middle fingers to those motor bike riders. When the cars honked, some runners yelled back to them. “Wooooooooo”. Then, it suddenly hits me. Yeah, right, what Nike trying to do is to “hijack” Jakarta, hence the name #bajakJKT. Taking back the traffic. Its like a mission of revenge! Wait, what? Really?

Do we need a revenge?
Is revenge a necessity?

I kept my head down, eyes forward and kept running.
I was embarrassed to be a part of this.
I just wanted this to end.
I wanted to sprint to finish line.
But I couldn’t.
The air was dirty, the walkers kept walking & taking selfies.

My best time was just under 58″. I finished this race, according to the official time, in 1 hour & 38 seconds, ranked 666 from 5533 runners. Apparently this was also different with my time on the Nike Running App.

Nike Running: Finished 10.4k in 1:01:46
Freeletics: Finished 10k in 58:37
Runkeeper: Finished 10.59k in 1:02:33

(Hey I’m a geek, this is a tech blog, so yeah, I used all those 3 apps for running. Finished the race with 20% battery)

All of the above has an average of below 6min per km!
Which means, if the real track is exactly 10k, I would’ve finished under an hour.
So, was the track really 10k?

I really had nothing to be proud of that day. I didn’t get thru my Personal Best. I actually inhaled more CO2 in an hour more than I ever been before and worst of all, I was part of a huge mess effected by the event.

Is this how we make a statement towards the ugliness of Jakarta traffic? a revenge? an eye for an eye? Is this the true meaning of Just Do It? You don’t care about others, Just Do It?
Why not run in a morning? When the air is a bit cleaner?
Why not run at usual track like Car Free Day? So we don’t disturb too many people?
What happen with the alternative routes for the traffic?
Were they told in advance?

Wait, why an afternoon run? Does it have anything to do with DWP?

I’m a Nike fan, asking questions. I’m still a fan, but maybe not for the running event anymore.
I’m gonna run a half marathon and maybe a marathon someday, but maybe not like this.
Count me out for the next #bajakJKT.

For all those drivers who got stuck in traffic because of this fiasco, I deeply apologise.

Even after this vengeful run event, I’m still a fan. A curious fan, waiting for @NikeIndonesia to respond to the city rage.

Why do I write in English? Well, kudos to mas @romeogadungan for having done this earlier in Indonesian. Excellent piece.

 

 

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