Thursday 9 January 2014

- MR25 Ultra Marathon 2013 -


Event: MR25 Ultra Marathon 2013

Organizer: MacRitchie Runners 25

Date: 29th December, 2013 (Sunday)

Start place: MacRitchie Reservoir, outside the Amenity Centre

Start time: 7:00 am

Fees: $65/- for non MR25 members, $20/- for MR25 members

Categories: Men Open, Women Open


  • Complete a minimum of five laps to claim a finisher t-shirt and certificate.

  • The winner is the person that completes the most laps in 12hours (7am-7pm).

The last race of the year as many runners claimed. But to some, this race was just like a small preparation to kick-start their new running season.

There are quite a number of Freaks that joined in this event. And most of the usual suspects of Ultra running are there to as well.

After completing at least 5 loops or 52km, the runners were rewarded with an awesome Finishers' medal for their effort.

Congrats to all runners !! 

As this event is held yearly at the year end, we hope to see more Freaks joining this event. 

*Pics credit to Ridzwan Idris and Izhar Pony. 

Tuesday 7 January 2014

- WaterGate 16 Hours Endurance Ultra–Race Report: Words by RaYzeef -

Race Details
Date: 4 - 5 Jan 2014
Time: 8pm
Venue: Taman Seri Empangan Precint 5 Putrajaya
Distance: 5km / loop (run as many loops possible within 16 hours)
Registration fees: RM50
Medal: No
Prize: No

Photo Credit: Khairi Muin, Rustam, Rashid, Azfar, Yim - 

Recovering from flu is not an ideal condition to start a race, let alone an Ultra race. It was raining before start of the race, my body was a bit cold. Thankfully the rain stopped when we started at 8pm, it was a perfect weather for a race, nice and cooling weather in Putrajaya. If you train or race here, you would know that this isn’t Putrajaya typical weather.

I knew from the beginning I won't last 16 hours with my current condition, but I got to give it a shot.
A reader of this blog said hi to me just before we started, thanks for reading my nonsense and said hi. I hope somehow you find my blog entries useful to you and hopefully you had a great run. I wasn’t my usual self, i was still contemplating whether i should run or not with my flu.
I decided to suck it and let my body tell me when i had enough. I know what my body is capable of doing, i talked to my body always. It’s another set of skills that you need to learn in running endurance race. The will and strong spirit is one thing but the body that hold everything together is the key that will determine your fate.
I wore Salomon thermal top and pushed a bit faster in the first 10km. This was to warm up my body and push my core temperature up.

Plus i knew these usual suspects would start slow considering the non-competitive nature of this event. It’s more of LSD or training runs, just like Twilight Ultra in SG. Well someone had to set the pace – it’s going to be me tonight. We started in waves, i was in 3rd waves. As soon we’re flagged off, i started overtaking runners one by one in front two waves.

It’s kinda of mind games – truly no disrespect to other runners. I knew someone gonna take the bait, i was the first to arrived at CP2 (2 and half km check point). Arman marked my first box on the bib, quickly i double back. Nearing the stairs going towards the start line, i could hear foot steps.

Who might it be?

I was right to guess – it was Aunty Shine coming for me and then overtook me. Now, we finally we got a race here at WaterGate Ultra.

My 10km splits: 5:49, 5:34, 5:29, 5:34, 5:59, 6:15, 5:57, 6:01, 5:51, 6:03

After 10km I was in my own zone, running my own race, I was having a blast. I didn’t care about other runners, i was just in the moment, stride after stride in a control pace, a happy pace. I felt strong but I doubt this wonderful feeling would last.

True enough, after 30km my body body was shutting down. This was my longest run since TNF HK.
I decided to take very long break after 35km, eat and drink (about 1 hour) at the start line. The organiser was serving “Nasi Goreng Cina” with black coffee. Surprisingly, many runners joined me at the round table.
I walked the final 15km with Fazli, since he was injured. A sprained ankle due to the slippery surface on the pedestrian walkway.

I stop at 50km with 7:47 hours (inclusive 1 hour break).
Glad to claimed my first LSD for 2014, injury free (which is very important to me). There are other races that i could try kill myself later, but not this one. It’s my training run for that big 5 star race in April. It was definitely the toughest 50km in a long time for me, i could happily run trail double the time and won’t get bored. Running Ultra road race is really not easy, people who said running road ultra is easy should try Sundown Ultra or Comrades. Road Ultra comes with it’s own unique challenges. Given option, i would choose trail Ultra anytime!

I hit my limit that fateful Sunday morning, my body told me it’s enough. I went blank a.s.a.p. i reached home. A very tough 50km for me – always respect the distance, i kept reminding myself.

That’s it i’m done, 50km in 7 odd hours. I’m going back to rest and sleep (Photo credit: Azfar) - 

I’m still recovering and coughing while writing this. Grrr i couldn’t wait to get full swing on my new running season of training. I need to be patience for few more days.

Congrats to all participants, especially to the first timer breaking beyond marathon distance. The virgin Ultra runners, welcome to the club. This is what i envision with the guys in Team Pacat when we started Le Sabuns Ultra, to promotes Ultra running and encourage more runners to run Ultra Marathon races.

Highest congrats to Race Director Zul, Team Pacat, crews and volunteers for making WaterGate16 a reality and don't give up - the Ultra event that almost didn't happened due to bureaucrat red tape bullshit.

When you run an event for runners from runners, you will get the best support available. See you guys next year at WaterGate Endurance Ultra.

Gears used:
  • Salomon Exo Motion Thermal Top
  • Salomon Endurance 3/4 tight
  • Salomon Sense Mantra Shoes
  • Salomon S-Lab Skin 5 Hydration bag

Words by RaYzeef.

Monday 6 January 2014

Friday 26 April 2013

- Gunung Datuk Expedition: Words by Wahizah Wahid -

On Friday 19th April, we met at Woodlands Square and boarded the bus at 9.30pm. Hirda could not join us but she sent us off and bought some food for our breakfast. Thanks Hirda!

We then changed to a Malaysian registered bus at Tuas Checkpoint and proceeded to Negeri Sembilan. Traffic was smooth throughout the journey as we were woken up before we could even sleep soundly, let alone dream.

We reached Gunung Datuk Base Camp at 3am, registered our attendance and settled ourselves at a BIG hall. Tried to get some sleep to rest our body from the bus-battered sleeping position.  We woke up before dawn, had a cold and refreshing bath, perform our Subuh (morning) prayers and had a light breakfast before meeting the guide, a lanky and friendly guy by the name of Zul.

Gunung Datuk is 884m above sea level. The distance to the summit is approximately 4.6km one way.  What lies ahead was nothing near the MacRitchie trails that we frequented or the Bukit Timah Hill that we braved during the wet weather. It was a steep and treacherous climb, filled with intertwined roots and scattered rocks, through muddy patches and overhanging branches, some of which were thorny and spiky.

Perhaps, it helped that we have been around superfast Freaks (read: you guys!).  
We made it to the halfway mark in a good time.

We had a short rest at a small clearing where there was a wrecked gazebo with only the rooftop remaining.  There, Zul informed us that the summit can only take in twenty people at a time; hence there was a need to stagger the second half of the climb.  We let other fellow climbers (a big group of university students) proceed with the climb first while we indulged in our common hobby – camwhoring ! 

The terrain by then was less rocky and consisted of gentler slopes and wider paths. We did not stop for breaks until we reached the camping site just before the summit.  Many climbers were waiting for their turn to ascent the summit. There were three sets of steel ladders secured by ropes that looked kind of unsafe.  The first set was fairly easy but the second had a 90 degree incline and felt relatively shaky.  There were climbers who chose not to venture beyond this point. The last set was the scariest of all!  We dread the thought of falling over the side had we missed a step!  It undoubtedly required us to focus and exercise due care.

We were fortunate to have an experienced and patient guide who was able to assist us in conquering our fears by showing us the best ways to move about the steel ladders to and from the massive boulders that dominate the summit.

What awaited us at the summit was worth the pain and hardship we had endured throughout the climb.  We were rewarded with a superb view of the clear blue sky, the extensive greenery of the surrounding plantations and the nearby mountains.  Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah). Indeed, HE is the greatest Creator.

Unfortunately, we could not stay long at the summit as there were others waiting for their turn to taste the fruits of their (hard) labour.

Going downhill was easier on the heart but hard work for the knees and leg muscles.  The steep incline made it difficult to come down fast without risking a slide and possibly hitting the rocky paths or tripping over the twisted roots.  Nevertheless, we did not stop for a rest but kept going.  Our focus then was to reach the base camp as quickly as it was safely possible so we could eat!

We were sweating profusely, almost as much as the climb upwards earlier on, our energy almost totally depleted and relying mostly on our mental strengths.  We could feel the muscles on every part of our bodies working overtime.  At one point, one of us lost focus, slipped down and hit a sharp stone, and suffered a cut.  It was fortunate that one of the climbers had a plaster with him. From then onwards, we moved at a slower pace and let some others overtake.
At last, we reached the water catchment area and knew that the end point was near.  What a relief! Some of us started to sing while others cried, “We DID IT!”

We rushed to bathe so we could eat as soon as possible.  The bus would be fetching us home soon! We have conquered our fears and scaled Gunung Datuk.  This is our maiden climb. And for me personally, never had it crossed my mind that I would be doing this at a grand old age of forty-four!  As famously and often declared by our comrades across the causeway – Malaysia Boleh!  So Can WE!!

*Written by Wahizah 
*Edited by Mazlin Ithnin 
*Pictures Credit to Siti Hirda, Nur Iryanie Haq, Ada Mey

Monday 22 April 2013

- Happenings over the weekend ...... -

These are some of the activities the Freaks did over the weekend ......

  • Our in-house Ultraman, Razif Yahya has completed his 9th Ultra-marathon at TNF100 Philipines. A big congrats to him and more to come from him ...... 
- Ultra Ray at the finish line - 
- His hardest-earned medal - 
  • Our own King, Sam did the 2013 Triathlon MetaSprint Series Sprint Distance Relay event and completed with a podium finish. Good job King !! 
- Doing his running leg -
  • While most of us did our usual runs, some of the ladies from Freedom Freaks decided to scale a mountain in Malaysia. Gunung Datuk to be exact. More review of the climb from either Wahizah and Nur Iryani someday perhaps ...... A job well done ladies !!! 
- Super ladies !! - 
  • Last but not the least, some of us did our usual weekly LSD run at Punggol Waterway. What a way to start the Sunday with a routine 22km to prepare for Sundown Marathon. A great turn-out because it has been a while since we have more than 5 runners doing a LSD run together .... Kudos guys !! 

More runs to come in the future. Do check our Facebook page for more updates and future runs. 
Thanks and regards.

Thursday 11 April 2013

- 2013 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon : A race review from Joe Woo -

Mumbai Marathon 2013 aka Tour de Mumbai 2013.
This will be my solo assignment and also the first time I'm representing the Freedom Freaks to run the marathon.
I would like to thank coach Izat, fellow brothers and sisters in FF for the supports and encouragements before my departure.
The decision to sign up for the race was made back in July 2012.
No special reason, I just thought of conquering this "Odd Race" for years and I finally seized the chance for this year.
Training was started way back in November 2012.
Did my own runs and LSD around the neighbourhood.
Much prep and sufficient of mileage was done and taper the last week before flying off...
Reached Mumbai few days before the race. The weather in Mumbai was like, hot in day but cold at night.

Saturday, 19th January 2013
Woke up in the morning for a short run. Purpose of the run is to test out the weather and ground condition.
Weather was pretty cold then.
But the run was forced to do it slow due to the traffic congestion. You never want to know how badly traffic was like in Mumbai!
Nonetheless, manage a 6KM and soon settled my breakfast before going for my racepack collection.

Late morning, I reached World Trade Centre to collect my marathon racepack. 
The place was catered to all overseas participants only.
Local participants had collected their racepacks a week earlier.
And because of this, there weren't much queues. System was fast and I collected my stuffs within half an hour.

- Racepack collection - 
After the racepack collection, the whole of afternoon was my own time own target activity. Nothing much, had lunch and merely shop around the town. I then decided to take my early dinner too and head back to hotel for an early rest.

- Freedom Freaks, represented !! - 

Sunday, 20th January 2013
Tour de Mumbai, let's go !!

Woke up in the morning with a positive mood! 
And I can't wait to run my 9th marathon in Mumbai for the first time!

- The start-line - 
Soon, the race flagged off at 5:40AM. I started my run steadily and clock my first 21km in 1:51:33 hours.
I was okay then. 
Along 24KM, my legs were feeling tired. But I bear in mind of AA's advice.
"Never slow down. Be confident and whack your very best for the first 30K. You can do it, bro."
Hence, I did not slowed down and kept my pace maintained at sub-6min/km.
Reached 30KM mark and time checked, 2:38:45 hours.
Cool! I sticked to AA's tip and made it a good Sub-3.
And now I have more than enough time to play with the last 12k where "dramas" usually happen.

I must say the first 28KM attempt was smooth and steady. 
The route was relatively flat and the weather was bearable.
The ambience was good too, especially those little children in the village, they're so lovely and very supportive.
- The lively supporters - 
And when I thought things were going well ...
I lost my consistency at 34KM. 
I hit the wall as expected and suffered a stomach upset the same time.
My body was feeling fatigue at that point of time.
I really thought of giving up and and just walk all the way to the finishing line like how I did in SCHKM & SCKLM last year.
It wasn't a big deal anymore as I was pretty confident to end the race within Sub-5 even if I walk.
The loss - Losing a PB.

At 35KM, no excuse, I WALKED! I walked about a distance of 1.1 kilometer.
And weather soon getting hotter too.
As I've already given up myself and carry on walking, a local runner ran to me.
He persistently persuaded me to keep going and shouldn't give up so easily.
I explained to him of my condition. He paused his run and checked if I'm okay.
He still encouraged me to slow down the pace instead of stopping and walk.
He said: "Dragging your feets and walk in a marathon, it's as good as to surrender yourself and lose the battle."
He tapped on my shoulder with a smile and showed me a thumbup before leaving me behind to carry on his run.

I felt ashamed after learning his words. 
And soon I picked myself up again.
Instead of walking, I stopped and rested for awhile, did some leg stretching.
I bitterly carry on with a slow jog at 7-8min/km pace.
It was really a challenge.
Time and time again, I felt the pain, but I overcame the difficulties.

At 39KM mark, the sun was mercilessly burning.
But surprisingly, I felt alright and I thought I was able to run again.
I waste no time by whacking my best in this crucial moment.
Nearly 600m towards the finishing line, the local supporters were shouting at my bib and cheering at me.
It was really awesome!

Finally, after so much of struggles throughout the second half, my effort paid off.
I raced and completed the Mumbai marathon with a net time of 4:00:59 hours.
Thank god! I was really glad and proud of my achievement.
- Made new friends after the run - 
- Another hard-earned finisher's medal - 
- My official result - 

Landed my "Personal Best" in India.
I told myself that I've made the right choice for coming all the way here and finish the race strong.
That moment, the satisfaction was priceless.