Off- road run­ning

Some peo­ple pre­fer the added adrenaline of run­ning through rough trails and muddy rivers.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ADVENTURE - Gus Ghani is the Chief En­ter­tain­ment Of­fi­cer of Run­ning-Toons and he is pas­sion­ate about en­durance sports. You can like Happy Run­ner on Face­book. By GUS GHANI

I was in­vited to the in­au­gu­ral Se­menyih Eco Trail Run at the hot springs of Sun­gai Lalang ( near Se­menyih, Se­lan­gor) which is only an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. The idea of trail run­ning through nat­u­ral green­ery and get­ting away from the ev­ery­day con­crete jun­gle of the city sounded very ap­peal­ing to me.

With­out the help of GPS, I headed to Cheras and Ka­jang ( south of KL), be­fore reach­ing Se­menyih town where I turned- off unto the quiet back road of Jalan Sun­gai Lalang. About 5km from the main in­ter­sec­tion, I reached the race venue which was es­sen­tially a hot spring recre­ational area which had been con­verted to our event venue in that cool morn­ing.

There were about 300 run­ners for the 16km cat­e­gory, and around 500 run­ners for the 7km route. There was a pre- race warm- up and stretch­ing ses­sion for the run­ners – which was a good way to shake off any mus­cle stiff­ness and rev up the body’s en­gine.

100% Off- road

At 7.30am sharp, the first group of 300 ea­ger run­ners were flagged off amidst fresh, cool morn­ing dew. Al­though, I had no clue ex­actly what stood be­tween me and the fin­ish line, I was nev­er­the­less thrilled at the prospect of run­ning in such nat­u­ral sur­round­ings and fill­ing up my lungs with fresh air.

The ter­rain un­der­foot was a vari­a­tion of grass, dirt and gravel. We ran through shaded oil palm and rubber es­tates, as well as along fruit or­chards and small rivers.

Th­ese well kept trails were nor­mally used by the es­tate and farm work­ers. At times, we ran along the wider dirt tracks which were used by trucks to ferry work­ers, equip­ment and har­vested fruits.

The hilly route tested the fit­ness lev­els of the run­ners when climb­ing. The down­hill por­tion favoured run­ners who could with­stand the ad­di­tional strains on the knee joints as they bombed down the hills.

The last hur­dle was a river cross­ing si­t­u­ated 100 me­tres from the fin­ish line. Al­though the wa­ter was only an­kle deep, the slip­pery and muddy em­bank­ment added a fi­nal chal­lenge for the weary run­ners.

Good fin­ish

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial Seiko tim­ing sys­tem, the av­er­age fin­ish­ing time for the 16km was around two hours.

Upon cross­ing the fin­ish arch, ev­ery run­ner was given a medal, and we waited in line for our de­li­cious egg sand­wiches, donuts, ba­nanas, wa­ter­mel­ons and cold drinks.

Some run­ners were wad­ing in the hot springs as they rested and waited for the lucky draw cer­e­mony. Af­ter­wards, tro­phies and prizes were given away to the top five run­ners in the var­i­ous cat­e­gories ( Men, Women and Vet­eran) for both the 16km and 7km dis­tances.

In sum­mary, the race or­gan­iser Inno-tex Sports Man­age­ment did a great job look­ing af­ter the wel­fare of all the run­ners from start to fin­ish with ad­e­quate course mar­shalling, suf­fi­cient wa­ter and iso­tonic drinks sta­tions.

The cho­sen trails were well mapped out and gave the run­ners an ex­cit­ing all- ter­rain chal­lenge. The bonus was the beau­ti­ful coun­try­side back­drop not far from the city.

— Pho­tos: Se­menyih Eco trail run

there’s added thrill when run­ning through rivers and then try­ing to clam­ber back up slip­pery, muddy slopes.

1 One of the run­ning groups which came early to tackle the trails.

the flag off for the 16km run was held amidst the cool, misty hills of Se­menyih, Se­lan­gor.

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