The 2022 Ultimate Trails of Penang (UTOP) was held over the weekend of 8-9 October at the Northern part of the beautiful Penang Island. The top category 100km, with a total elevation gain of about 6,000m, has the reputation of being the toughest 100km trail ultra in Malaysia.
The Most Beautiful Thing – TMBT Ultra-Trail Marathon was successfully raced on the weekend of 17-18 September 2022, after a two year postponement due to COVID-19. This was the 10th Anniversary chapter. I had the privilege to be a part of this wonderful yet challenging race experience.
More than two years ago, before Covid-19 hit us, I set out a goal to complete a 100km ultra-trail race within 24 hours. Today I can humbly say that I have accomplished that.
Recently my wife organised a nice island vacation for the family to celebrate our anniversary. We were looking forward to some quality family time together, just the four of us, away from immediate family and friends. We arrived, checked in and promptly made our way to check out the pool and beach when whoa… I bumped into my ex-boss!
It was just before 6 in the morning on 18 December 2021 when the gentle drizzle turned into a medium shower. The first-wave ultra-runners were all waiting at the starting pen, keeping a small distance between each other in compliance with the pandemic standard operating procedure. Personally for me, it took courage just to show up at the starting line.
In my preparation for trail ultras, I would spent hours training in the forest trail on weekends. There is something magical about running or hiking in the forest that leaves you refreshed and renewed. The nature makes you feel good.
Covid-19 first arrived at our shore on 25-Jan-2020 and it has been raging on for the last 18 months. In Malaysia, more than 1.1 Million people have contracted the disease with over 10,000 deaths recorded.
I understand that running is not for everyone. I don’t enjoy running as much as I would like to as well. Neither am I considered good at it. In fact this morning I struggled with an easy run and only managed 4km before I threw in the towel. My left hip was a little tight and I was running out of breath even at the easiest of pace.
22nd May 2021 – Twenty one runners died after an extreme weather descended on a mountain trail race in Baiyin City in Gansu province, North West of China. The Huanghe Shilin (Yellow River Stone Forest) 100km trail race which features winding rocky path along the Yellow River, began that Saturday morning in sunny conditions. But within three hours of starting, the weather condition changed to freezing rain, hail and extreme winds, lashing participants in the high-altitude trail-ultra.
I am going through a rough patch with my fitness. My legs just feel tired most of the time. If I hit the trails long and harder during weekends, my usual road runs on preceding days would suffer. Before, I usually needed just a day of rest before I could run properly again. These days the recovery seems slower and further into the week.
I did not grow up running and when I started running, it was all on the road. I still remember my early days of joining road races – first 10km, progressing to 12km, half and later full marathons.
On the last day of 2020 I was scrambling to review what I have accomplished for the year that has not been like any other. Just a year ago nobody would have guessed that a pandemic would hit and changed the way we study, work, and live.
Training for an ultra-distance requires running a relatively high weekly mileage. Accumulating these weekly mileage has somewhat been a challenge for me. The Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on everyone. All race events have been either cancelled or postponed to next year. Parks are sealed off and forest trails closed. Social distancing is enforced and we are not allowed to congregate or run in groups. It is not easy to go on training with all these restrictions, especially when there are no race excitements or pressures in the horizon.
The other day a friend was recommending to me a range of health supplements that she felt can support my brain and cardiovascular functions. I am not against or for any supplements in general but being a little cheeky that day I jokingly told her that I am currently big on a particular supplement that helps me with the following…
Running is currently my main outlet for working out. I can appreciate that not many people likes running. Running aimlessly without a destination or purpose can be a boring thing to do.