The Cameron Ultra-trail (CULTRA) race started at 6:15 a.m. as planned on Saturday 28 July 2018 for the 30km category that I took park. After the first kilometre run on tar road passing by Tanah Rata main road, all runners were directed into the trails. While waiting in darkness at the narrow trail trying to clear the queue, I could see the strings of light going up the hills illuminated from runners' headlamps.
Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong. In the photo album, click "i" (info) for the descriptions of each photo.
Vibrant sunset viewed from Greenhill Resort Apartment, Tanah Rata where we have a comfortable and pleasant stay for 3D2N; it is only 600 meters to the starting line.
Looking up the hills, the terrain was similar to hiking trails – steep slope and with lots of roots on the ground. The running trails in this event were actually trails meant for hiking, and not the rolling hills type. True to the elevation map, the Jasar and Berembun peaks were tough hills to overcome, plus two smaller peaks after Sam Poh Temple; hence, the tagline of the event – Be prepared, be very prepare! The most satisfying moment was descending from the Berumbun peak where at certain stretches, it was run-able going downhill. With the hiking skill, I picked up the momentum and overtook almost 30 trail runners.
Yours truly crossing the finishing line in 7hr 12 min, another 48 min to cut-off time
With ChongYF, the running buddy
At check-point #3 and after passing by Robinson waterfall, all runners maneuvered down a steep slope. I saw a young lady (three runners in front of me) slipped and pitched forward, tumbling down the slope almost 10 feet below the trail. Luckily, her group of male runner friends where there to lend their helping hands. Another tough moment was to arrive at check-point #4 where the runners have to run uphill on tar road all the way to Boh Heritage Tea Centre and Factory at Habu.
Sunday 29 July, 8am having breakfast at Tanah Rata cheering 100km runners dashing to the finishing line
Overall, it was a good trail running event amidst the fresh and cool mountainous air of Cameron Highlands. The organizing standard of the organizer was good and is almost on par with other international trail running events.
Trophies and sports products/vouchers for the podium finishers
What I like:
a. well-organized event (dissemination of information via online and internet, systematic collection of race packs, big number of volunteers);
b. clear signage showing the direction with volunteers stationed at critical junctions (even camping in the jungle);
c. water stations with ample supply of drinking water, isotonic drinks, hot tea, oranges and dates; certain critical check-points even provided porridge.
The trail runners and supporter
Areas for Improvement:
a. after the first kilometre run on tar road, all runners were directed to narrow hiking trails; most runners would have wasted valuable time waiting to clear the queue;
b. at one tar road T-junction after emerging from Berumpun peak (just before check-point #3), the signage showed: 15km with an arrow going straight. Then what happened to the other categories, turning right? (we found out later that turning right was the wrong way)
Prize giving ceremony and the cheering crowd
c. with the tremendous enthusiasm from runners trying to register in this event but the window for registration was closed permanently after 15 minutes, many of the trail runners were not able to participate. The organizer may look at increasing the number of participants or a systematic way in selecting the participants.
Posted by KC Leong