A Blockbuster Running Weekend, 19-20/Dec/2015 !!!
THE LAST HURRAH
For many runners, last weekend meant officially signing-off their 2015 running calendar with one last hurrah event. Boy, were there so many exciting events happening on that penultimate Sunday. There were Melaka International River Marathon, Newton Challenge, MyBuddies Run, and not to mention, Taiwan Marathon & Chiang Mai Marathon too! As for me. I was invited to the inaugural Semenyih Eco Trail Run 2015 (SETR 2015) at the Hot Springs of Sungai Lalang which is only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.The idea of trail running through natural greenery and getting away from the everyday concrete jungle of the city sounded very appealing to me.
RUSTIC COUNTRY ROAD
Without the help of GPS, I headed to Cheras and Kajang, before reaching Semenyih Town where I turned-off unto the quiet back road of Jalan Sg Lalang. About 5km from the main intersection, I reached the race venue which was essentially a Hot Spring recreational area which was converted to our event venue for that mild morning. I would not be far wrong to say that there were about 300 runners for the 16km category, and around 500 runners for the 7km route. There was a pre-race warm-up & stretching session for the runners to limber-up which is also a good way to shake-off any muscle-stiffness and rev-up the body’s engine.
At 7:30 sharp, the first group of 300 eager runners were flagged-off under a cooling mist of fresh morning dew. Although, I had no clue what stood between me & the finish line, I was, nevertheless thrilled at the prospect of running in such natural surroundings and filling-up my lungs with fresh air for a change. The terrain underfoot was a variation of grass, dirt, and gravel. We ran through shaded palm and rubber estates, as well as along fruit orchards and small rivers. These well-kept trails were were normally used by the estate and farm workers. At times, we ran along the wider dirt tracks which were used by trucks to ferry workers, equipment & harvested fruits. The route was hilly which tested the fitness levels of the runners going uphill. The downhill portion favoured runners with strong leg muscles who could withstand the additional strains on the knee joints as they bombed down the hills. The final hurdle was a river crossing situated 100 metres from the finish line. Although, the water was only ankle deep, the slippery and muddy embankment added a final challenge for the weary runners.
AT THE FINISH
According to the official Seiko timing system, the average finishing time for the 16km was around 2 hours, and by that time most of the 7km runners were already back to the finishing area too. Upon crossing under the finish arch, every runner was given a medal, and we waited in line for our delicious egg sandwiches, donut, banana, watermelon and cold drinks. Some runners were wading in the hot springs as they rested and waited for the lucky draw ceremony. Afterwards, trophies and prizes were given away to the top 5 runners from the Men & Women Open & Veteran categories for both the 16km & 7km distances.
A SPLENDID DEBUT
In summary, the race organiser Innotex Sports Management did a great job looking after the welfare of all the runners from start to finish with adequate course marshalling, sufficient water and isotonic drink stations available, and the chosen trails, be it 2km under-distance for the 16km route, were well mapped-out and it gave the runners an exciting all-terrain trail running challenge with the bonus of a beautiful countryside backdrop no far from the city centre.
For more SETR 2015 photos, click HERE.
8 TOP TIPS FOR TRAIL RUNNING
- Wear proper trail running shoes which are lightweight, sturdy, waterproof, and have the right traction for off-road trails.
- Always wear a hydration pack to keep water, energy bars, handphone and some cash in case of emergencies.
- Never run in a trail alone. Run with someone who is familiar with the trail.
- Novice trail runners should stick to easy trails such as the one in Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya or in Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong in order to familiarise themselves with trail running.
- On the uphill, stop or walk slowly if you find your heart beating too fast or if you are out of breath.
- On the downhill, be careful not to take too big strides as it will difficult to balance and control your speed.
- Remember to pace yourself, and reserve enough energy to last you the whole distance.
- Inside the trails, never litter and do not damage the natural flora and fauna.
About The Author
Gus is the Chief Entertainment Officer of Running Toons and he is passionate about endurance sports. As a writer, he has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia magazine, Cycling Malaysia magazine, Cycling Evolution magazine, Swim Bike Run magazine and more. LIKE Happy Runner and follow gusghani @Instagram.