Stormtrooper at Standard Chartered Marathon Kuala Lumpur

Image adapted from: @scklmarathon

The haze couldn’t have cleared at a better time for the KL Standard Chartered (KLSC) Marathon, which was scheduled over the weekend on 28th and 29th September 2019. As rainy weather brought back clear skies, KLSC Marathon runners – including a Stormtrooper – got ready to breathe in haze-free air for the races they signed up for.

Stormtrooper, on our side for a change

While Stormtroopers usually fight for the Galactic Empire (a.k.a. the “bad guys”) in Star Wars, the one who turned up at the marathon was a “force” for good. The lone Stormtrooper stood on the runners’ side, leading the flag off for the 10km Leisure category.

sckl marathon stormtrooper gif
Video credit: @klscmarathon 

It was too good a photo op to miss – many eager runners stopped the Stormtrooper to ask for selfies, and he was happy to oblige. 

Runners like Hafizan Ahmad were all smiles when posing for selfies with the Stormtrooper
Image credit: @jajanbarcode

marathon runner selfie with stormtrooper
Image credit: Atan Dainese 

While many settled for selfies, some participants got creative with the poses, and the Stormtrooper showed that he was game to pretend to be the bad guy by “holding them at gunpoint”.

Image credit: Atan Dainese

Who’s the Stormtrooper?

The man behind the mask is 40-year-old Atan Dainese, who goes by the Instagram handle @atandainese.  

Atan Dainese Spartan Ambassador

Atan is also an ambassador for Spartan Malaysia
Image credit: @atandainese

Atan was inspired by his one of his friends, who ran a marathon in a Stormtrooper suit back in 2016. “I thought it was fun. So I bought one for myself.”

Image adapted from: Atan Dainese 

From the event stickers on his suit, you might assume that Atan’s paid to appear at the marathon dressed like that – but he’s not. “I run dressed in costume because it brings a smile to the runners’ faces and puts them in good spirits. If you’re a Star Wars fan – you’ll know exactly which character I am – Code Number: FN-2187 a.k.a Finn,” says Atan.

Here’s the short story for Star Wars noobs: Finn was a Stormtrooper who turned good. 

And in case you’re wondering – yes, Atan actually runs the full 10km in his costume. “Of course, it’s hot inside,” he says. But he jokingly brushes it off when people ask, saying “the suit has air-con”. 

stormtrooper walks with marathon runners
Atan turned up at the World Stats Run 2019, held earlier this year, in full costume too.
Image credit: @atandainese 

Besides the KLSC marathon, Atan has also made about 10 other appearances at marathons in his Stormtrooper suit. You can identify him by the 3 red stripes across the left half of his mask.

He will be suited up next at Hari Sukan Negara (Malaysia Sports Challenge 2019) on 13th October at Putrajaya. Sign-ups for the marathons have closed, but if you’re passing by the area on that day, you might bump into him. 

An unfortunate hit-and-run accident puts a damper on the event

While the event got off to a winning start, it was marred by an unfortunate hit-and-run accident on the 29th September 2019. A car drove through safety barriers and crashed into runners at the marathon, injuring 2 participants, as reported by various news sites. 

KLSC Marathon updated their Facebook page with an official statement saying that they are cooperating with investigations.  

sckl hit and run statement
Image credit: SCKL Marathon

At the time of print, The Star has reported that the alleged suspect has been apprehended by the police and the car involved in the accident has been seized.   

Running for a good cause

Even though KLSC Marathon is a competitive platform, it has categories such as Run For A Reason and Corporate Challenge, that raise funds for charities. The 3 main beneficiaries the event is supporting this year are: 

  • Dignity for Children Foundation – a school for underprivileged children  
  • Hospis Malaysia – which provides palliative care to patients and families in Klang Valley
  • National Cancer Society of Malaysia – a non-profit that helps and supports cancer patients

So while winners are recognised and runners are aiming to do their personal best, the marathon also brings people together for a greater cause. And with runners like Atan, who participate to bring good vibes and smiles to other participants, it’s definitely an event worth attending.  

In the midst of this, our thoughts remain with the hit-and-run victims and we wish them a speedy recovery.

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