From salsa to fun run
The writer flies into KK from KL, shaking up the dance floor and finishing a marathon in pink — all in a span of two days!
Shaking hands with the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Yeo Kim Hai.
WOULD you fly 2½ hours to Kota Kinabalu just to run 8km? I would if it’s for the Tutu Run. This is because there’s no such run in Peninsular Malaysia. Held on July 9, the unique Tutu Run 2017 was organised by The Gym for Life team of the Sabah Gymnastics Association to raise funds for gymnasts participating in the third Gym For Life Challenge World held in Norway recently.
The run was launched in January but I only found out about it online three months later.
A total of 1,238 participants had registered for the run. The tutu was chosen because it has not been used by any other runs. The Tutu Man in action during the Tutu Run.
Since the run was held a week after Hari Raya, travelling was relatively cheaper. Besides, I was also inspired by the Salsa Club that’s located below the backpackers hostel that I always stayed in in Kota Kinabalu. So that gives me another reason to visit Sabah.
Thus, I started salsa lessons mid-May, and after five lessons, I am proud to announce that I have the courage to hit the dance floor albeit with limited routines. Thank you, salsa teachers Sam Sopiee and Poon Yoke Lai for this.
We flew to Kota Kinabalu on a Friday evening. However, our flight was delayed for another two hours and we only arrived at the Borneo Backpackers around 10.30pm.
Anyway, the silver lining behind the dark clouds was Nanie from the lodging telling us that there’s extra food because the English school group who also stayed there ordered too much.
That saved us a lot of time for we noticed that the salsa activity has already started downstairs in Biru Biru, the hangout place for salsa, bachata and kizomba aficionados in Kota Kinabalu on a Friday.
I have met some Sabahans through running and now I got to know Sabahans through dancing.
Bryan Peter Soon is not only a salsa enthusiast but also an organiser of ultra races in Sabah like the TMBT. That night, we danced till past midnight.
THE MORNING AFTER
We woke up late on Saturday and made our way to Likas Sports Complex to collect our running bibs.
This technical side of the event was handled by Valient Events helmed by the three beautiful Angus sisters — Melinda, Melissa and Marjie — whom I got to know through the Borneo International Marathon (BIM) since 2010.
I also got to meet Marjie’s beautiful twins who were practising their gymnastic routine in the sports complex.
That evening, I met up with the Kinabalu Runners Club committee members for dinner.
Kinabalu Running Club is the organ-
The Gym For Life Team before their departure for Norway for the 3rd World Challenge. iser of the Borneo International Marathon (BIM). BIM has organised 10 events since 2008 which includes a full marathon. I am proud to say that I have participated in eight BIMs.
After dinner, we headed to Kota Kinabalu’s waterfront for another night of salsa. We go to know that on Saturdays, salsa dancers gather at Silk Bar.
There is a perfect mix of songs for salsa and kizomba, a new Angolan-inspired dance that’s hitting the shores of Malaysia.
TIME FOR TUTU
The Tutu Run started at 6am because the sun rises an hour earlier compare to KL. I was elated to see there were so many runners of both gender in tutu. We did our group warm-up .
The race was flagged off by Mayor Datuk Yeo Kim Hai, who was also in a tutu. How sporting! I even got to shake his hand at the starting line.
From the car park of Likas Sports Complex, th race headed right towards Jalan Tuaran.
From there, we turned left into Jalan Pasir after Kosan. I saw many nice condominiums along this road.
At the end of Jalan Pasir, I saw Masjid Bandaran on my right. This is the landmark that we always see towards the end of the Borneo International Marathon. So I know that the end is near. There’s also a water station at this corner.
From there, we ran along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen. Once we reached Bulatan Istiadat, we turned right, heading towards the stadium.
I finished the run in 32 minutes and my Garmin clocked 6.8km. All finishers were given a nice rotating finisher medal which showed a gymnast spinning the ribbon.
We spent quite some time at the venue for there were many food trucks. There are also booths selling T-shirts, tutus and race accessories.
You can even sign up for the Valiant Events’ Wild Run scheduled on Oct 15. Even better, you can run with your pet in this event.
The Tutu Run had four categories — Men Open , Women Open, School Boys and School Girls. I was on cloud nine when I was
Salsa fun at Silk Bar, Waterfront, Kota Kinabalu. chosen as one of the Best Dressed runners.
I wore a pink body suit with a pink tutu. This bright pink outfit was meant to shock since no one would expect a guy to be dressed in pink.
We flew home to KL in that evening with a great sense of accomplishment. We danced two nights of salsa and participated in the Tutu Run.
I made some friends through dancing, sang with Sabahans in the karaoke, touched base with the organisers of BIM and got to know the Tutu Run organising team. All within the span of 48 hours!