MELAKA, Aug 3 (Bernama) – For the Merdeka@Melaka fun run held today in conjunction with the National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign, the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) gave away durians to the first 300 participants to cross the finish line.
Melaka FAMA director, Che Samudin Hassan, said the durian kampung award was the agency’s way of promoting a campaign to eat local fruit. The top three winners received three fruit each.
“The durian season is normally just twice a year – from June-August and at the end of the year – so we decided to give those who joined the race a fruit each to celebrate the season,” he said, adding that the king of fruits is a good source of carbohydrate for runners to replenish their energy.
The 3.4km run joined by about 2,254 people of all ages and by those from other parts of the country, too, was flagged off at 7.45am from Dataran Pahlawan in Jalan Merdeka by state communications, multimedia, NGO, youth and sports development committee chairman, Kerk Chee Yee, with Information Department director-general, Roselindawati Abdul Rahman, alongside him.
The run, with a ‘Sukan Wahana Kekeluargaan’ (sports bring families together) concept, took a route that included the Proclamation of Independence Memorial (near where Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj declared the date of independence) and historical Dutch building, The Stadthuys.
“Our target was 2,000 people, but today we see a turnout of more than that … there are schoolchildren, youths and families,” he said, adding the event sends a positive message to the young about appreciating their forefathers and the country’s struggle for independence, which is celebrated every Aug 31.
First-place winner, Muhammad Azail Junaidi, 22, from Semporna, Sabah and a Malaysian Armed Forces Camp Terendak fire station member, said: “I was shocked at first to receive the cloth bag of durians when I crossed the finish line but also excited because this is the first time I will be trying durian. It’s rare to find it in Semporna.”
Third-place winner, Muhammad Nazafie Jefidin, 19, from Ayer Hitam, Johor and a mechanical engineering diploma student at Politeknik Merlimau, said: “It was strange to get the durians because normally, on the podium, the winner gets a medal or cash prize, but this time its different. But no matter because it’s a fun run and a time to have a good time.”
Fourth-place winner, Megat Irfan Syahmi Zanaruddin, 19, an accountancy diploma student at the same institution, said: “This would be the fifth time I’m joining a run and the durian is truly an odd prize, but I’m content. I’ll be sharing my one durian with my friends at college to celebrate my win,” said the self-confessed durian hantu (durianholic).