FRIDAY NIGHT OUT
JUNGLE JAMMIN’: When I was invited to join the running group, The Trail Blazers (TBB) of the Klang Valley Running Club, on one of their night trail excursions, I jumped at the opportunity to tag along to find-out for ourselves what, actually, goes on in the jungle at night. Besides, I was just itching to finally put to use my under-utilised head lamp which is a leftover souvenir from the last Energizer Night Run 2012.
BE PREPARED: Incidentally, in case you want to join The Trail Blazer, then, it is vital that you are well prepared. The nocturnal excursion organiser, Hatta (Affendy Abu Bakar) gave the participants a checklist of what participants needed to bring for the night trail run:-
1. NO HEADLAMP/TORCHLIGHT – STRICKLY NO RUN!!!!
We will personally check everyone to make sure that you bring your own light gear, or else, we won’t let you join the run.
2. Please bring your own HYDRATION PACK or at least a BOTTLE OF WATER to avoid dehydration.
3. For SAFETY reason, please make sure that you are COMFORTABLE & FIT to run at least 10km. It’s a TRAIL run and it will be different from your normal road run.
Most of the trails are uphill, and it will drain your energy pretty fast: We will be running not hiking!
4. Please use proper TRAIL RUNNING shoes, or at least, bring your road running shoes.
NO Converse All-star/Futsal/Hipster/Fashion shoes allowed.
6. Please wear bright colour t-shirt/vest.
7. Let’s have fun!!
MEETING POINT: Approximately 9pm, on a clear Friday night, a mixed bunch of rookies & experienced runners, started gathering at TTDI entrance to Bukit Kiara.
Run supervisor, Bee, took the runners attendance which will be used throughout the run as a safety check list to make sure no one is left behind. In all, 40 participants turned-up for the much-anticipated night trail run. Given that the park was already closed, it was a privilege for us to be allowed the use of the park by the park management. However, before we were let lose into the jungle, we were given a safety briefing by the more experienced runners, Hatta & Zool who spelled-out the Do’s & Don’ts when running inside the jungle. The most important advice given was not to damage or remove anything from the park, and not to drop any litter.
THE STARTING: By 9:30pm, we were led in a single file into the darkened trail by The Trail Blazer frontman, Zool (Helmy Mohd Zin). There is a sudden calmness when one enters the jungle; all the stress, the hustle & bustle, the din of city life seems to immediately melt away, and it takes one, a couple of minutes, to adjust to the quiet and dark surroundings. Apart from the light shining forth from our head lamps, not much else was visible.
Teamwork plays a big part in night trail running because it is up to the front runners to shout-out warnings of any obstacles they may encounter along the way, and so, the sounds of our shuffling feet were intermittently interrupted by shouts of “rock”, “roots” “stones”, “branch”, “uphill”, “keep left”, “slow down”.
ADRENALIN RUSH: Our night run covered half a dozen trails with cool-sounding names such as Office, Overtime, Magic Carpet, 2K, KELADI, Lookout Point, and Twin Peaks. The pathways were distinct but not easy to traverse, and you need to be alert & fully aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid tripping over a root or rock. At times, a wrong step could mean falling unceremoniously into a side ravine. In fact, the only time, we could relax was when we stopped a couple of times in between trails to do a headcount. The numerous uphill climbs gave our hearts, lungs and legs a good workout. Therefore, you really need to be fit enough to run 10KM before joining this night trail run. That night, we were enjoying& lapping-up the many different aspects of trail running which constantly kept us on edge, and tackling the hill climbs of various degrees, the uneven terrain of dirt and loose stones, the various obstacles of fallen tree, big rocks, and above-ground tree roots, provided a big adrenalin rush which runners constantly seek and crave for. The eclectic mixture of a sweaty workout, running in the pitch dark, and the serene surroundings can make night trail running truly addictive.
COME AGAIN: One hour and fifty-three minutes later, having covered a distance of 8.4km, our human train of pumped-up runners emerged out of the covered forest tracks feeling elated with our accomplishment.
Shortly after, the cheerful Eda Fuzy was given the final task of leading our cool-down stretching sessions which will help speed-up our recovery process.
The runners had a blast, and the words of an English runner had summed-up the night best, “this is the best Friday night out I have spent in in KL, and I will surely, do this again!”.
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