King of Kampung Kemensah 2017

I don’t like trail runs.

Okay, to be fair, there is nothing wrong with the trails. They’re challenging, they’re interesting, and they really make you appreciate nature. They make you work your legs, and there is no way you can keep up a fast pace unless you’ve trained for it.

No, there’s nothing wrong with trails. But I don’t like them because I am not good at them. The few times I’ve gone on a hike with my friends, I would be trailing behind (pun intended) because I can’t keep up.

Initially when Luan asked me to sign up for King of Kampung Kemensah Trail Run with her, I was reluctant. I remember the struggle I went through last year when I did the 10km. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another round. She suggested doing the 30km; I said she could go ahead, but I would stick to the 10km. We both compromised by signing up for the 18km instead.

I had optimistically thought that perhaps I could do some trail hikes as some form of training, but needless to say I didn’t do anything of the sort. The last attempt at a hike I did before this trail run was with Luan up Bukit Kiara, and even then I had to stop halfway because I was feeling lightheaded and nauseous.

So when 7 May came around, I was in dread, because I was not in shape for trail runs. I kept worrying about DNF-ing (“Did Not Finish”), and wouldn’t stop talking about it, much to Luan’s annoyance, although she never told me off and just kept giving me words of encouragement, bless her soul.

RACE KIT COLLECTION

We wanted to request for our race kits to be delivered, as they said that delivery was possible. But all our emails went unreplied, to our surprise. And then when it was one week before the race, they announced a new location for the race kit collection (from Kampung Kemensah to Midvalley), they said that those who had requested for delivery should have received the race kits.

Luan and I obviously did not receive the delivered kits, because they never replied our emails to request for delivery, and hence could not make the additional payment for the postage.

Even when Luan wrote on Facebook to ask them about our race kits, and to make sure that our race kits were available for collection at Midvalley, there was no response.

So we had to take a chance and go to Midvalley to collect our race kits, which were fortunately there. The race kit collection took place the day before the actual race day, and for some strange reason, they insisted on a mandatory item check during the race kit collection.

Mandatory items check during race pack collection! First time we encountered this.

Now, we have nothing against mandatory items nor the checking. Some race organisers have a mandatory item list for the participants’ own safety – things like headlamp, hydration packs, handphones. But many of us thought it was strange that the mandatory item check was taking place the day before instead of on the day itself. Most race organisers would check the participants as they were approaching the Start line. What was the point of insisting on a mandatory item check the day before? We can show all the items as per the list, but we may not necessarily bring them on race day itself.

Of course, not bringing the mandatory items would be foolish and dangerous for ourselves. Most responsible runners would bring the mandatory items because we understand the reasons to have them. But some runners don’t. #justsaying

RACE DAY (5 MAY 2017)

There were many categories for this trail run: 50km, 30km, 18km, 10km and 5km; all flagged off within 15 minutes of each other. Our 18km run was flagged off at 7am.

Parking was rather difficult as the venue was a village with residents, and no proper allocated carparks. I was fortunate that my car was small enough to squeeze into a spot that wasn’t blocking anybody.

To be honest, I don’t really know why we needed our headlamp on us, because by the time we flagged off, the sun had already risen. Maybe because they weren’t sure what time the light would be visible, because it’s not like the sun rises like clockwork. Okay, it does, just that sometimes the actual visible light can differ from day to day. Or maybe the organisers were concerned about possibility of rain, which would definitely decrease visibility.

But as Luan said, the only time we seemed to need the headlamp was when we used the public washroom at the back of the community hall, which had no lights at all and was pitch black. So when we used the washroom before starting the run, we needed to switch on the headlamp in order to see what we were doing! Hahaha.

Me and Luan waiting for flag-off
What were the chances! Luan and I were in different age groups, but somehow we ended up having the same entry number (009).

THE RUN

The very few trail runs I’ve run so far, I’ve noticed, were not entirely trail. Perhaps it’s because the organisers needed a comfortable place that could hold a large number of people, as well as have a proper place for the prize-giving presentation and the stalls to hand out the food and beverages. Anyway, in this case, the first (and last, because our route went back and forth along the same route) 2.5km of the run was on the road – we had to run that far before we finally got to the entrance of the forest, for all distance categories.

And here is where the road ends and the trail begins!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to move a lot faster this year than last year. The trail wasn’t as bad as the hiking trails I had gone on previously – this trail was relatively clear, so I found that I was able to run most of the way. Of course, I use the word “run” quite loosely here, because I still wasn’t able to run that fast.

Some of the pretty sights along the trail

There were four checkpoints where we could stop to fill our water bottle, one of which I stopped for an orange-slice break.

One of the checkpoints which we had to go through. The volunteer who is sitting on the ground on the right side of the picture was cutting up oranges into slices for the runners.

The most interesting part of the trail was actually the river crossing. Luan had told me that the organisers had warned her (during the race kit collection) that we had to cross a stream and our shoes would definitely get wet.

When I saw the first stream, I thought, pfft, that’s not so bad.

[Nope, there isn’t even a photo of the stream, I didn’t deem it worthy to get a photo of.]

Then I got to the next stream, and I was like… oh okay. Yup, my shoes will get wet.

If I walk on those rocks, maybe my shoes won’t get wet.

 

It was only when I got to the river, I realised… ohhhh, THIS is the one they were referring to!

Yes, we have to go across this river. Yup, my shoes will definitely get wet.
View from across the river

The river was actually really nice and cold and refreshing. I actually enjoyed crossing the river.

The U-turn point was a very simple one where we were greeted by a couple of the marshalls who handed us a green ribbon.

I had actually expected to be one of the last few to cross the finish line, if I managed to finish at all. I was fully expecting to utilise the entire 4h30m cut-off time.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I managed to finish at a comfortable 3h15m! Okay, so it’s not that fast, but it’s faster than what I expected.

It was so nice to be able to sit and enjoy a deliciously refreshing cendol after the run. Actually I had two bowls, it was that nice.

Luan and I enjoying the deliciously cold cendol – a nice finish to the morning’s trail run!

Thank you to the organisers of King of Kampung Kemensah. I enjoyed the event; if there is one thing they need to improve, it is to PLEASE REPLY OUR EMAILS.

Proudly showing off our finisher medals!
Zyen Hoo

Zyen is a Physics, Chemistry and Math teacher with many interests, including running and dancing. She also enjoys indulging in vanity projects such as her personal blog, and is a self-proclaimed reviewer. She is also notoriously slow in updating her blog due to her constant search for the next adrenaline rush (on top of her heavy workload at school and her freelancing projects), so she asks for your forgiveness and understanding of her very delayed updates.

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