Sunday, November 11, 2007

Go Fling Yourself at the Mountain: Genting Trailblazer 2007, Mild 8KM Mix Team Race Report.

I just got back from the Genting Trailblazer Run 2007. I've a hard time explaining what was it about to friends who didn't participate, as they normally associate me with road races.

I would call it the longest and toughest 8km race I've ever experience and the road portion, which was miniscule, had very little to do with it. It was a number of firsts for me, as it was the first time I participated in an adventure/trail race, the first time I stayed overnight in a hotel for a race, the first time I actually ran in a team, with a partner, and the first time I ran in Genting.

My group of friends and I arrived a day earlier (yesterday) at Awana Genting Highlands, collected our t-shirts, running bibs, goodie bags and checked-in at the same time. The 6 of us were divided into pairs, entering the "Mild" 8KM run for Men, Women and Mix Teams.

We had a BBQ dinner, and sat in the same table with a group of veteran Pacesetter runners. They gave us some pointers about the next day's race, and regaled us with stories of their experiences in different running events. The vast difference of experience aside, both groups were excited about the race.

Race Day: The race started off with the "Wild" 14km run participants first, followed by the "Mild" participants 5 minutes later. The first portion was a gravel road followed by tarmac before filtering into the jungle.

The jungle: It was ok at first, then things got muddy...and then it got muddier and muddier, I would rate the mountain trail as muddy as that of Gunung Irau during the rainy season. I found the going much tougher in the Trailblazer race, despite having a 20 kilo haversack strapped to me when I hiked up Irau early this year.

Up and down, mud, mud, mud. The amount of suction mud can apply to one's pair of shoes never fails to amaze me. Some sections required participants to clamber over fallen trees, pass streams, go uphill and downhill with the assistance of rope or pratically slide down on your butt.. Most of the time my partner and I were looking for footholds to haul overselves up inclines.

t's hard to describe, unless you've gone through it yourself and I do recommend it for any reasonably fit person.

Team work is very important in the race, some parts had either one of us hauling...or pushing the other from behind. Coming out of the jungle and taking a spin around the hill near the finishing line before hitting the obstacle course gave me cramps in both legs but I managed to walk it off. Very painful.

The obstacle course. This thing can be considered by some as fun, some might even consider it abit sadistic, after what participants have gone through in the trail.

Here we went into small mud pit, clambered up earth mounds, wade through even longer mud pits, clambered up and down more mounds, went up and down a wooden structure before going single file on bamboo poles, crawled under a net on sand of all surfaces and then hitting the last long mud pit, which was exceptionally muddy. The finish line was a short run away from the last obstacle.

Time: 2 hours 26 minutes. Placing: 24 out of 44 Mild Mix teams. I had a lot of fun and the company was great too, can't wait for next year.