MARDI MAEPS TRAIL RUNNING 2014: Bringing Trail Running Close to You
Trail running is a very foreign sport to most Malaysians who live in the concrete jungle we know as Kuala Lumpur. We never imagined having beautiful trails right in our backyard. Instead, when we think of trail running, we think of mountains and hills far, far away.
The MARDI MAEPS TRAIL RUNNING race changes this stereotype, bringing trail running close KL-ites and Malaysians alike.
With its inaugural race last year, the rising popularity of trail running in Kuala Lumpur has made the MARDI MAEPS one of the more popular trail running events to happen in Malaysia. A unique event, it's a definite trailblazer in the sport of trail running. This year, it welcomed no less than 400 participants who ran in the wild forests of Serdang on 22 June.
Exploring the Hidden Beauty in Malaysia
It wasn't just my first time running in a trail running event, it was also the first time I ever tried trail running! I usually participate in road runs, and I run on roads regularly so this was a very interesting experience to begin with.
The race started relatively on time. Considering how far out Serdang is from Kuala Lumpur (over 10km away), I didn't mind the 15 minutes' delay.
This year's route was different from the 2013 edition, and I enjoyed the beautiful trail that the race was set out on. Whilst running my first 18km trail run, I came face to face with beautiful sights of Malaysia; sights that I've never seen despite living in Malaysia for so long.
Trail running really opens your eyes, and the MARDI MAEPS TRAIL RUNNING race really exposed the hidden beauty in our backyard. I just had to snap pictures of the wonderful natural greenery with my mobile phone. Waking up at 5am was definitely worth this view and a great getaway from all the haze we've been experiencing.
Challenging Terrain and Slopes
Besides the aesthetics, the trail was also an extremely challenging one with steep slopes and a long stair climb too. Some parts of the trail also had a lot of small pebbles and rocks I was constantly careful and alert when trail running at MAEPS.
Nonetheless, the routes were very safe in general, and the added challenge made the run more adventurous, making this race worth signing up for.
The other positive aspects of the race were the friendly and efficient marshals, sufficient and suitably spaced water stations and 100Plus stations towards the end of the trail at every at every 3-4km and the enthusiastic participants who didn't give up easily. Unlike other races, this race was not crowded hence there were no bottlenecks, and the fresh air in the woods further illuminates this.
However, the first aid team was less impressive. Having fallen over a rock after the second water station, I only received aid by the time the blood on my knee had dried up. I felt that another down side was the massive wastage of plastic cups.
Other than that, the race was truly a phenomenal one and one I will definitely sign up for next year again.
What Do Others Think?
Vadivello A/L Arumugam ran the 18km Men's Veteran in an impressive time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 12 seconds, while Lili Suhairi Bin Md Yang Ghazali took first place in the 18km Men's Open category, with a time of 1 hour 11 minutes and 5 seconds. Loh Chooi Fern came in first for the 12km Women's Open category.
Mohamad Affindi Bin Nudin ran an impressive 51 minutes 7 seconds for the 12km Men's Open category, and Noor Amelia Binti Musa took the top spot for the 12km Women's Open.
Needless to say, many people enjoyed the race. Everyone from winners to the ones who just ran for fun had something great to say about the event.
I spoke to Hui Mathews, founder of ash be nimble, a Malaysian home-grown sports brand freshly launched in March 2014. A trail running enthusiast herself, she claims there's nothing like a happy runner realising there's less than 1km to go.
Hui successfully placed 7th in the 18km Women's Open category with a time of 1 hour 45 minutes and 59 seconds.
Here's what she had to say,
"Firstly, I was glad there was the new category 18km for us to push our comfort zone way past the 90 minute/10km mark! However, two things that could make the event better are distance markers and to make the run 100% trail! The finish line took me by surprise as we turned the corner and I know it's not easy to organise that distance on trail but am looking forward to the day when trail races have zero tarmac!"
Among other participants, there were also fitness coaches Karen Siah who placed 5th and 4th in the 18km Women's Open with a time of 1 hour 43 minutes and 41 seconds, and Sue Teoh who placed 4th in the 12km Women's Open at 1 hour 15 minutes 57 seconds.
- Enjoyable trail race route located away from the city bustle.
- Steep slopes, stair climb and other obstacles added a sense of adventure.
- While I received medical attention slowly, race route was very safe in general.