I was told that it has been 3 years since this run was last held. Instead of starting from the small roundabout at Teluk Bahang, the starting point changed to the entrance of the national park this time. The turn out was average, considering there was no entry fee. Only about 200+ participants made the long journey to the very end of Penang Island.
The run started exactly on time at 8am. The first 300m stretch was a flat road leading to the jungle trail. It was another ~2.5km of negotiating tree roots and difficult terrain before we reach the mid-way check point at Pantai Kerachut. I hiked but never ran this Kerachut trail before and I was wrong to underestimate its severity. I had to resign to a walking pace at certain areas as I had pushed myself to the limit. Upon reaching the mid-way check point, we had to complete a quiz by identifying the correct animal in a multiple choice answer. A 30 second penalty will be imposed and added to your finishing time for every wrong answer. Ha! This is something unique and adds more challenge to this run. As you can see from the results, the first person to finish was demoted to third as he was awarded a 90sec penalty. Refreshments were provided in the form of a water bottle and it is compulsory for us to carry it all the way to the finish line as this was a conservation run.
Men's Open Results 1 | Men's Open Results 2 (View Large Images)
The run took longer than I expected and at the end of the trail, it was all down-hill and quite taxing for the knees. It was a relief to see the small path leading to the finishing point as I exited the jungle trail. Sapped of energy, I can only manage to run at a jogging's pace even though the end was near. At the end, I managed to finish in 1:00:49 and placed 30th overall, a stark comparison to the winner who completed in 43mins. This being my first run here, so I was quite happy with my timing.
Many familiar faces graced the podium and again Stephanie excelled for the women's open.
A big thank you to the organizers who managed the event really well. I was expecting that there would be some traffic on the way back but the trails were so expertly traced that there were no such occurrence. The prizes to the winners were really generous with hampers and goodie bags. The trophy was quite impressing as well. I'm looking forward to this event again and hopefully it will be an annual affair.