Event: OtterBox Salomon Action Asia Malaysia Trail Run 2014
Venue: Frenz United Football Academy, Janda Baik
Date: 30 November 2014
Distance: 18KM (17.21KM by Suunto Ambit 3 Peak Sapphire)
Shoe: Saucony Peregrine 4
Due to the venue of the this trail run (OBSTR) at Janda Baik near Genting Sempah, I initially did not have any intention of participating in it. But when Roy told me that he had signed up for it, that gave me some second thoughts as it will also allow me to continue with my weekly runs too. Besides, I needed some trail runs to prepare for the upcoming Hong Kong 100 in about 6 to 7 weeks time.
As Janda Baik is about an hour's drive from Petaling Jaya, Raymond and Roy came to pick me up from Tropicana City Mall as early as 5AM before heading to pick Si Main up. A slow drive there, and we soon arrived at the Frenz United Football Academy at about 6.15AM. It was packed with cars but we still managed to find a parking spot easily which happen to be just next to the finish area.
With Carin, Hong Lan And Xuan Lim.
Geared up and met up with friends like Yip, Raymond, Michelle, Wind, Hong Lan and many others. Though I had my hydration vest with me, I had only 2 X 500ML bottles of water with some nuts to munch on while running. Yeap, it's all about eating! The start was slightly delayed about 5 minutes which out of a sudden, runners were just flagged off. Though started from almost the back of the pack, I had a clean breakaway as the moment out of the field was already the main road which was spacious.
1KM on the road and later, we were greeted to the muddy trail. The rain from yesterday made the course challenging with some sliding actions along the way. And there is no need to wait for actions as the course was immediately undulating with both uphill and downhill. And this is only the start. I had fun attacking the climbs and managed to descent well too as most of the downhill segments here were still rocky. My heart rate though a bit high at about 160 beats per minute on average, was still acceptable due to the terrain. The first checkpoint appeared at about 5KM and I had my tag scanned before continuing forward.
The air was fresh as we are located far away from the city. Running under some ropes, climbing over tree trunks, going through barb wires and stepping and sliding through mud, we soon arrived at the first river crossing at 8KM into the run , if I remember correctly. The cold stream was really nice though there was a slight current which caused some light weight runners like me off balance. Out from it, my shoe was filled with sand and had to take them off shortly later to clear it.
With a wet shoe, the outsole started collecting more mud and soon the heel became a mudcake. Glad the front was fine and that helped with traction a little. The climbs were getting much more "fun" from here but the downhills were absolutely tough for me. Besides being clumsy, my shoe came off twice due to being stuck on mud. Nevertheless, I managed to chased up to some runners who started way ahead of me and that gave me some good indications of where I am now.
Attacking one of the smaller climbs as seen by Deo.
Deo caught up with me as we arrived at near the 14KM mark where we need to run a big loop to reach the second check point. It was really hilly as we enter the loop but once at the top, we needed to descend down on a very muddy single track. One wrong step and we may fall into the valley just on our left. I slipped a few times but managed to exit the area. And just before exiting, the front runner slipped and I told him I've got his back, indicating that should he fall backwards to him, I will support him by pushing his bum!
Out from the area, I saw Roy and Si Main who are just going to enter the loop. Warned them about the slipperiness before I continued on with Deo. A few more climbs through slippery muddy tracks and soon we found ourselves in a very narrow and muddy descend through the woods. It was so slippery that I needed to grab hold on some trees. And since being on a single track, both myself and Deo was still moving faster than some other runners ahead of us. And so in a hasty decision, Deo took a left turn somewhere along the course hoping to get ahead and I followed. But it was a wrong turn as at the end, we needed to jump down to merge back with the run path. The clumsy me hug a tree upon jumping off the small but yet steep step. What an experience!
And from there, a mud poll awaited us. As the middle part was just so muddy and gross, I ran at the side. Happily running, I suddenly found my right leg suck into the mud knee deep. Trying hard to get my leg out which I did, my shoe was stuck in there! Not going to lose my favourite trail shoe the Peregrine 4, I stuck my arm inside to locate it and pull it out. And once I found it, I look like a mud cake myself covered in brownish mud. Maybe the mud is good for facial.
Luckily there was river crossing ahead and I took the opportunity to give myself a wash. The current here was stronger than the first and the river bed was rocky hence taking a little longer than expected to cross it. But I enjoyed every bit of it as the water was just so cooling.
Towards the finish.
And from there, it was all road, about 1KM or so all the way back to the football academy. And just before entering it, I spotted Soon Chung by the roadside snapping photographs and gave him a high 5 before continuing to the finish which I crossed in 2:13:29 hours.
Hung around with friends while waiting for my 3 friends to return which they all did not long after. The post run food was kind of horrible and very limited in numbers hence we did not care about it so much. We left Janda Baik after changing into fresh clothing and headed to Bukit Tinggi for wan tan noodles breakfast. Was a satisfying one as we shared our race experience together before heading home. And during the drive back, everyone fell asleep in the car leaving poor Raymond to the driving. Thanks Raymond!
My faithful Saucony Peregrine 4 went for a mud bath.
I really enjoyed this run. The race venue and the course was beautiful and the environment was fresh and cooling. Although it was technical and really dirty but it was fun and hope this will be an annual running event.
*All photos here credited to the respective photographers. Thank you.