Sunday, 24 April 2016

BDB Climb And Run Langkawi 2016 Route Preview

About two weeks ago, a rep (and a friend) of the BDB Triple Challenge 2016 asked me whether I'd be free on Apr 23rd-24th to do a preview route run of a race in Langkawi.

I didn't even hesitate to say YES!

BDB Triple Challenge 2016 is a series 3 separate events in scenic Langkawi and Jitra for the running and climbing enthusiasts.
  • Langkawi Climb and Run ( 4.06.2016)
  • Extreme Jitra - obstacle run (10.09.2016)
  • Jitra Marathon (26.11.2016)
Info on the 3 series can be found at their FB page or Hooha registration page.

Hubby, myself and a few other bloggers flew in to Langkawi by Firefly on Saturday evening and did the preview run on Sunday morning, after breakfast at a mamak place near GeoPark Inn where we were staying during the trip. More on that experience later...

First, let's talk about the climb and run experience.
We got to Hutan Lipur Lubuk Semilang, Langkawi at 8.00am for the start of the climb and run route preview.

The forest reserve is located on the western side of Gunung Raya and the start/finish line of BDB Climb and Run Langkawi is near the Sungai Korok where one can have a picnic and a dip. Sure nice to have a dip there after finishing our run, right?

A short briefing by the Race Director, Ariff before we all proceeded to the 4,287 steps of Tangga Helang Seribu Kenangan.
A mixture of running bloggers; most of whom are seasoned ultra runners (with one fun runner in the mix - you know who la...) and fitness & lifestyle bloggers. The technical and the PR team also consisted of runners.

Having no intention of racing up, Zaini and I started slow and kept to the back of the pack. 
At the 1000 steps mark.

While at first both Zaini and I told the organiser that we could help by being the sweeper, Zaini later asked me to move ahead while he waited for slower runners and accompanied one who later decided to stop and climb back down.

I just made a slow climb, stopping and taking photos at whatever caught my eye.

OK. So it is stairs. And we climbed all 4,287 of it.

But it was bearable because:
  • cool, shaded forest route
  • interesting stuff to see - mushrooms, plants, trees, etc
  • some runners heard and saw the great hornbill too! 
2,000 steps mark.

2,287 to go!

At each flight of stairs, there were the number of steps written. Some visible. Some aren't.
A fallen tree along the route.
Fallen log that served as a resting place too.
3,060 steps.

From this point forward, the ascent got much, much steeper and more challenging.

Some areas had handrails on both sides of the stairs but some, don't. But please, don't stray away from the stairs, ya?
Amusing myself with picking up things and taking photos.
A bit of respite from all that climbing; a descent. Just a bit though.

Which is good because my knees don't like going down any stairs.

Then it's all climb and the steepest ones were the last few hundred before the end of the stairs.

And the organiser had a photographer stationed there! Darn! LOL
At the top of the stairs. 

On good weather days, we can see Pulau Tepur but it was misty when we were there. 

The faster runners did the stairs in around 40minutes while those with semput, selfie pace probably can do it within 2 hours. I did the stairs in about 2-hours.

Not sure whether the organiser will put a cut-off time at the top of the stairs...

Now, as the name implies - runners need to climb and run in BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016 so after tackling the 4,287 stairs, runners now have to run downhill for 15.5km back to the start line. 

For those who hate downhill, fret not. It's not totally steep downhill like Bukit Larut. The descent is gradual with a number of small inclines and flat stretches too. 

Plus, the last 5K is a mental stretch along a main road. Plenty of inclines (bumps) and not much of a shade. Fun stuff, I tell you. Bwahaha
Running downhill was nice.

Plenty of stuff to see and enjoy. Got cows, monkeys to keep runners company.

Nice "mat salleh" tourists on motorcycle giving encouragement too.
Lonely stretch as I was alone by this time.

At almost 11am, the route was still quite cooling, helped by the shaded area and nice breeze. 
500 feet above sea level.

At this point, I was about 5-6km away from the finish line.

I didn't do the whole route though. As I was approaching the junction towards the main road and for the final 5K, the organiser van came and asked whether I wanted to continue or hop on the van.

I chose the latter. I already did 9K+ of road running (not inclusive of the stairs) and it's OK already lah for me, especially considering I had no plans to run the downhill part of the route in the first place! Plus I want to return to my hotel room before 1pm!

I had earlier told the organiser I only intended to do the stairs and use the support car to go down but when Ariff (the RD) asked whether I wanted to run, I sort of agreed. *slap forehead*
With the runners who completed the full route (plus some extra mileage) at the start line, all fully clothed by now.

When I arrived earlier, most were topless! Hahaha (No, no female runners in the mix at that moment)
As mentioned earlier, the BDB Triple Challenge consisted of three events.

One can register each event individually or register for all three for just RM200 for the series which I think is very, very affordable.

Registration can be done over at: https://home.hooha.asia/BDBTripleChallenge2016.aspx

A word of advice for participants doing the Climb and Run especially to non-runners who might be thinking of joining.
Do, do train for the 15K run. 15K downhill run is no joke after a 3K stair climbing.

That is all.

But from my experience, it was certainly a good challenge to do and I personally think climbing those stairs are more fun than doing the KL Tower stairs! Hehehe

Our heartfelt gratitude to the organiser, technical, PR team and sponsors who made our weekend an awesome one.

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