Mt KK Climbathon – A Successful Story
Reported by AB Tan:
I am indeed happy to finish the Mt KK Climbathon 2011 race within the qualifying time of 3.5 hours for the ascent. I first came to know of this race in 2003 when I did my maiden trekking at Mt Kinabalu; I just wondered how it could be possible to race up in 3.5 hours. Then in 2006, I decided to try it at least once in my life. In 2009, I heard that Yee Choi (2009 and 2010 Mt KK Climbathon medallist) has made it within 5.5 hours, I realized that it is achievable.
In 2010, we trained together in KC Leong's group. In one training at FRIM in August, I broke my right ankle bone and badly damaged surrounding tendons; so I have to postpone the race by one year.
To log in enough 'mileage', after the last road run (Sundown ultra-marathon) on 25 June 2011 a few months ago, I concentrate to practise steps and climbing. I went to Gunung Nuang for trail training every 2 to 3 weeks, and Batu cave for steps training every alternate week. Finally in Sept 2011, I could manage to reach the summit of G. Nuang in 2hr 26min; 20 rounds of Batu Cave in 1hr 45min, and 35 rounds in 3hr 15min. I know I am ready.
The group from Kuala Lumpur posing at the starting line
I reached Kota Kinabalu on Thursday, 20 Oct 2011 to have more rest. I checked into Celyn Resort (at 2000m, possibly the highest lodges) to further acclimatize with the altitude.
Unfortunately, I contacted flu on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday, headache, sore throat, joint pain and fever all came. I just keep taking Panadol every 5 hours from Thursday night to Saturday morning, and keep drinking water. I felt so tired, sleep almost 10 to 12 hours for those 2 days.
Miraculously, on Saturday morning (the Climbathon race day), the headache and joint pain are gone. I know I have a chance. I met Edwin Goh, a medallist for 2010 Mt KK Climbathon and he advised me on split time required.
Surprisingly, the race seems not so difficult. I stick to the split time:
Laban Rata: 2 hours;
Sayat Sayat: 2 hours 40 mins
Finally, with some hard scrambling in the last 5 minutes, I reached the summit within the cut off time of 3.5 hours, and earned the coveted "Green Band". I was elated. Standing there for a brief moment of time gave me the top of the world feeling. Satisfied with my achievement, I turned around and race swiftly down from Low’s Peak.
The orange attire... (L-R) Dr Shara, Rothman Fong, ChooTS, KC Leong, Weng and ChongYF
Descending the mountain was straight forward. I just kept running when there were no steps, and brisk walking when there were steps (I think there are no less than 10,000 steps). I crossed the finishing line at 6 hours 5 mins.
Did I enjoy the experience? Yes, very much indeed.
Is it achievable? Yes, but need a lot of hard work, discipline and commitment.
From my heart, I want to thank the following persons:
1) KC Leong and Tony – for giving all the information and organizing many training session in the mountains;
2) Yee Choi – as an inspiration and setting target to achieve;
3) Edwin Goh - for the race split time; and most importantly, motivation and pacer from 7.8 Km to the summit.
4) Peter Chan – for compiling some “Hill Running” training articles and shared with me last year. I shall share will all later.
Written by AB Tan
The main group from Kuala Lumpur posing for photos after collecting the race entry packs... above photos courtesy of TeyEngTiong. (Tony - R1; KC - L4; CK - R3)
From CK Chong:
Thanks to KC Leong and Tony Q, and others whom I have not met, for the impeccable organization. Race achievement aside, the entire event will be an indelible moment in my memory. Even nature favoured us with her blue skies and mountain peaks resting on cloud cushions.
From Lai Kuan:
Welcome home to All the Mt. KK Climbathon Challengers!
And CONGRATULATIONS to each and every one of you brave souls who attempted this world's toughest mountain race! It must be a wonderful experience of a lifetime for some. Kudos to the 6 participants who qualified in this amazing race!
Such fantastic photography by KC ... that even had my adrenalin rushing just by viewing the photos that I half regretted not joining the race too.
Blue sky and bright sunshine before 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 22 October 2011; thereafter, the moutain is engulfed in clouds and mist, and it started drizzling.
From yours truly (KC):
After chatting with OngLP (from Cameron Highlands) who successfully made it to the peak within 3.5 hours qualifying time, I realised that there is one important factor which we overlooked and not too focus in our trainings.
According to Ong, the journey of going up Mt Kinabalu consists of countless steps. As such, intensive steps training – though unpleasant, tough and boring – is a mandatory requirement other than the usual trail running/training in Gunung Nuang.
When we went for the steps training at Batu Caves on the final week preceding the event, after six rounds of going up and down the flight of steps, I tried to engage double steps in one upward leap. I realised that I could not sustain for much longer duration. That means my legs would only have limited power to propel me up the mountain swiftly. If the double steps leap was given sufficient training, more members would have the chance.
On sunburn – Used to wearing vest for the trail training in the mountains, I wore the usual Adidas running vest for the Mt KK Climbathon. The next day after the event, I felt pain at both my arms. At first, I thought it was the friction or chafing caused by my Deutor hydration backpack; but I have been using it for more than 6 months. A closer look into the mirror, to my horror, the two arms and top shoulders that are exposed to the sun (at the rock-based area of Mt KK) are red. The effect of UV and strong ray at 4,000 meters nearer to the sun is just amazing. Lesson learn: must wear T-shirt and not running vest; unless we can run as fast as the top runners to reduce the exposure time to hot sun ... :-)
Do click here for Part 1 of Mt Kinabalu Climbathon 2011.
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