Marathon runners can now focus on the run, without having to worry about the logistics, writes Elina Kamaruzzaman
WHEN Azrina Naimuddin was on one of her running escapades, she wanted to arrive at her hotel, sleep well, eat an early power breakfast and arrive at the running venue without hassles.
Izzat Khiruddin, on the other hand, started a travel business with a concierge service, customising holidays for discerning travellers.
They met over business and found no local company or organisation that caters to the needs of international and local runners who travel to running venues away from home.
So they set up ActiveXplorer to fill the gap and today, the company is the preferred travel partner of Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 (SCKLM), taking place this Sunday.
“When we proposed the partnership with SCKLM, we stated that we understood runners completely,” says Azrina, who has run numerous half marathons and boasts finisher’s medals for every SCKLM since its inception. Other accolades are Gold Coast and Singapore Sundown Half Marathons in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
“As a runner, the last thing you want on arrival in another state or country, is to have to switch hotels because you can’t get a good night’s sleep and to have to worry about getting to the starting point in the morning. When I travelled for runs, I wished there was an organisation that catered to all my logistics,” she adds.
ActiveXplorer allows runners to go online and choose their preferred marathon travel option. The basic package includes hotel room for two, transfer from hotel to run start-point and return and a pre-race breakfast power pack.
Members of Pacesetters Athletic Club, to which the company is affiliated, get up to 10 per cent discount on selected travel packages.
“To pick up their race pack kits at the Runners’ Expo, held over three days by the sponsor Standard Chartered, transportation is provided to the venue (an add-on) which allows them to immerse in runners’ paraphernalia,” says Izzat, the operations director.
Runners will also go on a Familiarisation Drive to study their running routes. “Sure they can see it on Google, but nothing beats experiencing the course and knowing every turn and gradient,” he adds.
Marathon runners can also have other add-ons such as airport transfer, a half-day KL city tour and an oblique remedial post-run massage in their hotel rooms.
The massage helps muscles return to normal resting length and function, allowing runners to move more easily, “free-up” joints, improving posture and flexibility and reducing the pain commonly associated with long hours of running.
“Irrespective of distance, we provide a return shuttle for SCKLM runners direct from their hotel to the race start point, be it the full, half, quarter or even the 5km category,” says Azrina, who is currently training for the prestigious Boston Marathon next year, representing the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Two of her uncles died of this cancer and she is taking part to help raise funds for the charity.
Izzat and Azrina are passionate about promoting Malaysia via sports, especially marathons and the fact that 98 per cent of their customers are foreigners show that they are doing a good job. “We also hope to bring Malaysians to other countries soon, starting with the Asian region, so they can focus on the run without worries,” says Izzat.
They hope to cater to loyal Standard Chartered Marathon runners who take part in other runs sponsored by the 159-year-old British bank.
Standard Chartered Marathons are held annually in nine cities — Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Dubai, Nairobi, Jersey and Falkland Islands.
Details at ActiveXplorer at www.activeXplorer.com.