Commando Elite Challenge Urban Warfare (CECUW) 2015
Military Training For Civilians
Obstacle Racing or Obstacle Challenge Events are becoming increasingly popular in Malaysia partly because gym-goers, fitness freaks, athletes, as well as the weekend warriors are looking for newer events which can test and challenge their overall physical strength. The other main reason why obstacle challenges are “hot ticket” items is that it is actually a lot of fun rolling around in mud, climbing walls and swinging across the monkey bars with your buddies.
A typical obstacle challenge is based on the hardcore Army Commando obstacle course which is part of the military training for recruits and soldiers in order to test their speed, agility and physical strength. To instil a spirit of teamwork and good camaraderie, in the civilian version, participants are encouraged to help-out each other to overcome certain challenges such as scaling the 8 feet wall and climbing in and out of the slippery mud pits.In fact, one of the highly endearing characteristic of obstacle running is to witness strangers helping each other complete the course, and no matter who you may be, a doctor, a lawyer, a housewife or from any walk of life, the course treats everyone equally and without prejudice.
Solo Night Mission
Lucky for me, I was invited by the CECUW 2015 race owner & organiser, NM Galaxy, to participate in the second edition of Commando Elite Challenge (CEC) on 12th December 2015 at Bukit Expo in UPM Serdang. The first CEC was held in January 2015 on a different obstacle course, and a total of 850 “recruits” had taken-up that challenge. This time round, 387 participants volunteered for the Night Mission on Saturday, and a further 611 participants took-up the Day Mission on the following Sunday.
Like a “real hero”, I chose the night mission because I wanted to experience how different it would be to navigate the 14 obstacle challenges in total darkness, and only relying on the beam of light from my headlamp to steer through the course. As the Emcee was briefing us on the race guidelines, it started drizzling which would add an extra challenge for the participants and the race crew to overcome. However, the wet weather did not dampen our collective high spirits because we all were expecting to get wet and dirty in any case.
Do It For Your Country
Right before flag-off, we stood at the start line singing “Negara Ku”, and it gave us all a rousing sense of pride and patriotism, and I wondered how it would be like to be a soldier being sent to a faraway foreign land to fight and die for my country. Thinking about the huge sacrifices that our Military Commandos make everyday to protect our Citizens and keep our Country safe had inspired me to want to do my very best to complete this obstacle challenge no matter how tough the situation. Sure enough, as soon as the horns blared, I ran as fast as I could across the dark and wet 6km course feeling like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.
Soldier Of Fortune
The trail surface was a mix of road and off-road, and it was quite even throughout which made for good traction. There were a few uphill climbs but I was determined not to let them slow me down too much. The variety of obstacles significantly tested our overall strength and fitness as we had to wade in chest-high water across a big pond, crawl under barb-wires (not real bard-wires), clamber up and down cargo netting, scale 8 feet walls, climb up a high-tower rope, carry heavy logs and water containers, swing across the monkey bars, jump over obstacles, traverse walls, skip across tyres, flip 200kg tyres, slide down a giant iced-water pit, etc. Anyone who could not successfully complete an obstacle was required to do 10 Burpees as a penalty. It rained harder and we marched on gallantly while covered from head to toe in mud and sweat. “Smile, remember that we paid for this”, I thought as I overtook a muscle-bound warrior near the finish line. One last jump over a campfire and under the finish arch to collect my finisher’s medal. Wait a minute! It is not over yet, because we were given an option to complete one extra Warrior Rest Challenge if we wanted another medal. For this bonus challenge, we had to rest our foreheads against the ground with hands behind our backs and with only our feet touching the ground for 20 seconds. After working so hard for 70 minutes to get this far, how could I have backed-down now! So, I grit my teeth and summoned all the strength in my neck muscles to complete this final task.
Triumphant Warrior Returns
We took shelter at the covered finishing area where we were given drinks, ice-cream, bananas and buns to replace some of our loss-energy. I was feeling happy because I completed my mission in good time, and I gave it my all, and not-once, along the course, did I take my foot off the pedal even when I was out of breath and wanted to rest quite badly.
On hindsight, if I could do it all again, I would still pick the night over the day mission because the darkness added some sort of element of romanticism, adventure and mysticism to the challenge. As for the rain, I was actually looking for a legitimate excuse to bring-out my inner child and play in the rain again. A Win on both counts.
Victory For NM Galaxy
It takes a colossal effort to build and set-up all the obstacles from scratch, and for putting together a great event whereby the runner’s welfare was well taken care of by their friendly and helpful crew before, during and after the race, I must congratulate Muazan, Ariff, Fatin and all the crew of NM Galaxy for being perfect hosts and making CECUW 2015 such a fun, thrilling and challenging occasion for all the Rambo and Laura Tomb wannabes like me. Special thanks to all the participating sponsors, without which, it would be next to impossible to pull-off a successful Commando Elite Challenge Urban Warfare 2015 :- RHR Hotel (Official Accommodation), 2XU, Kaz Prosport, Salonpas, Celebrity Fitness, Massimo by The Italian Baker (Official Refreshment), and Running Malaysia Magazine (Official Sports Magazine).
What Is Next?
Do not panic if you missed CEC 2015, because from what I heard, NM Galaxy are already making plans to have the next CEC around April or May 2016. Meantime, I recommend you visit their fresh online sports portal TixTac and stay updated with all the exciting sporting news and views! For event photos, check-out TixTac page.
Until we meet again, it is Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Roger & Out!
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 and entertaining 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.