Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT) Ultra Trail Marathon 2012 was held on 15th September 2012 (see Official Website). TMBT saw competitors competing (over 3 different categories - 27 km, 50 km and 100 km) over the Crocker Range mountains of Sabah which includes village trails, open gravel roads, very short tar sealed sections and crossing over hanging bridges on the race course with Mount Kinabalu in the background .

Below is an account from Cornelius about conquering the 100km ultra trail marathon - courtesy of his blog called Because I Say So:

I was trekking up the Kipouvo-Kokol route with my friend, Pamela Fletcher, a couple a weeks ago as part of our training programme for The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT), and I was telling her that the easiest part of an endurance event such as a road marathon or the ultra trail marathon is the race itself. Pam was rather taken aback, but I hastened to explain my statement. You see, the hardest thing about an endurance event is in the training, not so much the event itself. A race may take a few hours to finish; perhaps up to 30 hours for an ultra trail marathon (100km) like the TMBT; whereas a decent training programme may take up to months of regular workout—running becomes almost a daily routine; and almost the entire weekends are used up for long workouts on secluded village roads in the hills.

Training requires a lot of discipline and quite often a lot of sacrifice. Such was the case when we were preparing for TMBT. This year a lot of my close friends had opted to attempt the 100km category of TMBT, although some of us were doing it for the second time.

I was chatting with a friend, Esther Sim, via Whatsapp one day, and she said she's aiming to finish the 100km in 20 hours, and I almost fell of my chair! I have gone trekking with Esther to Terian last year, and she did not seem to be an extremely strong and fast trail runner to me. So it must have meant that she's improved by leaps and bounds since then.

I was also impressed by another lady friend, Hana Harun, by her strength during training. She demonstrated her ability to sprint up a steep slope after trekking for several hours. I'm able to run uphill too, but I very rarely do so during training. I'm always approaching the endurance training the old-fashioned way—no sprinting business. Another friend, Claire, has been training almost entirely out of sight for months. Anyway, these ladies really made me think that I'm getting too old for this sort of event; they kept me on my toes! And I was, like, "I'm not even a ballerina!"

Last Saturday morning, we found ourselves at the starting line in Kundasang town. It was a fairly cold and windy morning. There were a number of familiar faces in the crowd.

Hana was also there in her outstanding outfit; and of course not forgetting Claire the creature with a pair of long sexy legs.

It was a strange start—we were still busy chit-chatting when suddenly there was a whistle, and everybody started running. We were not even aware of the countdown. A short climb to the road, and then it was a pleasant downhill stretch. I turned to Bob and suggested that we do a slow jog down the slope as a warm up; and while we were at it, I watched in amazement Esther Sim surging ahead. Others in the group—Boyd, Eric and Jonas were also among the front pack.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Most Beautiful Thing Ultra Trail Marathon 2012