Genting Trailblazer 2008 – Race Report

One of the reasons that my girlfriend and I participated in the Genting Trailblazer 2008 is that the Genting Trailblazer 2007 was a pretty well-organized event. During the 2007 race, the pre-race dinner was great, the camaraderie was there and the race itself, even though we participated as first timers in the “mild” 8 km event was enough to make us come back for more.

The Race Report

Sadly, this year’s Trailblazer stops short of being just as good as the 2007 event, but let’s talk about the good stuff about Genting Trailblazer 2008, which is probably the race itself. For starters, the 8 kilometer event has been replaced with a 14 kilometer event in this year’s edition. It’s pretty hard to describe the race; it was a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar at the same time.

The race started of with a rather sedate run/walk around the Awana golf course. It rained the night before and on the race morning itself, making the jungle route muddy at heck. Greeting us at the start of the jungle route was a downhill mud slide all the way.

It didn’t get hard until we hit the streams and the the following hills where all the muddy, steep hill sides and “traffic jams” occur. Last year’s race had most participants suffering the indignity of bumping into “traffic jams” very early in the race, but this time the sheer number of participants (and a big number of them first timers) in the race made it worse. I bet them first timers didn’t know what hit them.

There were jams because people were freaking out on how to tackle a muddy slope. Some were on all fours on parts where it is okay to stand upright and walk. Some were stopping right in the middle of the track, obscuring other participants. It wasn’t a surprise to find participants hitting the wall during the race. One chose to throw a hissy fit at his partner (his mom!) right in the middle of the race, prompting one of the Fire and Rescue personnel to quip to his colleague about quitting in the middle of the jungle.

One of the more humorous quotes I heard during the race was from another participant. In Malay he shouted for everyone to hear, “Don’t go dying here, it’s going to be hard for people to retrieve your body (from the middle of the jungle)!”.

By the time we got out of the stretch and back onto tarmac, we were muddy and had “souvenirs” in the form of cuts and bruises. Good thing our shoes held up in the sticky mud. Some participants had their soles come apart, no thanks to the suction mud has.

All About WATER and Preparation

This year’s race theme was “Go Green”. So much so is the organizer’s determination in going green is that they forgo the water station they had in the jungle last year, for a single one at the 9 kilometre mark. Here lies the biggest disappointment of Trailblazer 2008. By the time we arrived at the water station, THERE WAS NO WATER. The race organizers should have known that people would be very thirsty coming out of the jungle, and in large numbers too.

The attitudes of some participants towards preparing for the race is nothing short of appalling. Before the start of each race, each competitor was given a water bottle in the goodie bag. It was the same thing last year with the exception that last year, the water bottle came with a wearable pouch. This year, ill-equipped runners have to run, holding the bottle which I can imagine that it is bloody tiring to do so.

Organizers, you can do better when it comes to managing the expectations of your participants in order for them to come better prepared.

On a side note, at least one participant was having a smoke in the jungle, while waiting for his partner. G049, I’m looking at ya.

The Final Stretch

It was a good thing that we managed our water supply pretty well, and knew the route right after the water station. It was the barren hill that the two of us called “The Surprise” after last year’s race. It gets real close to the finish line before taking you away from it and back again via the obstacle course. Yup, it’s a sadistic hilly route filled with rocks and being barren, scorched by the afternoon sun.

This year’s obstacle course was a repeat of last year’s, bar some changes to make it more “challenging”. If you call adding horse jumps and ramps to jump into the mud pools (yawnnn) more challenging, give me last year’s course anytime. Leave the mud pools alone and get rid of the horse jumps, I prefer crawling under wire on sand, thank you very much.

Even though there is a ruling this year that no single participant is allowed to complete the ending obstable course alone, and must wait for his or her teammate, we still saw some participants racing ahead, leaving their partners behind. True enough, there were people waiting for their respective teammates at the obstacle course. Stupid.

There were also some people who suffered last minute footwear malfunction and had to complete the entire 14 kilometres barefooted.

How Do You Bath With No Water?

After finishing three plates of mihun at the finish area, I went to the “newly improved bathrooms” to clean-up. Last year, the organizer set up showers but this caused a hold up, and apparently people complained about the queue. This year, the organizers built two huge concrete tubs of water each for the men’s and ladies bathrooms, and provided scoops.

The problem was, there was very little water left in the tubs, and I took to hogging one of the two pipes supplying water to the tubs.

No Medal For You, You, and You on that hill side

My girlfriend and I spent more than an hour at the finish line after the race, and there were still participants hiking through “The Surprise” and going through the obstacle course. There wasn’t anybody waiting for them at the finish line and I guess that these participants won’t be getting the finisher’s medal.

We Got Medals 🙂

We managed to finish at 73rd place out of a total of 126 mixed-teams in the Adventure category. I guess its not bad considering we finish 24th last year, out of a total of 40 + teams.

Dinner Suxor

Now, onto the other stuff. The pre-race dinner sucked. Last year’s was a rather lavish event, and my friends and I enjoyed the interaction between all the participants. We had an especially good time talking to a bunch of veterans on the same table with us.

Did i tell you that this year’s pre-race dinner sucked? Not only we were seated in the Rajawali restaurant (last year’s was pool-side), the buffet spread sucked, and not only that, we had to share the restaurants with other patrons. It was good fortune we were seated in the same area as some of the participants, and last year’s winners for the Wild 14km Mixed Team event were on the same table. Otherwise, it would have made the whole thing a lot more suckier.

Just a Suggestion

And can someone actually bring back the 8 km event, or let there be some clear distinction to the adventure and competition events other than the prize money and entry fees? I wouldn’t mine a 10 km race, or a 14 km event, just let the pros have their own route.

Anyways, I did get some of my complaints through with some of the organizers when walking back from the field where the start/finish line was. And we planted a tree! Go green people! And see you next year, in hopefully a much improved event.

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  1. AndyC November 3, 2008

    finally i can overtake you this year 😛

    see ya next year.

  2. […] fun Awana has to offer. The jungle trails which played host to Trailblazer 08 (read my race report here) are of particular interest, but […]

  3. Mike Tee November 26, 2008

    Agree with you on the pre-race dinner buffet… sucked big time!!!

  4. Jon Smitt February 23, 2009

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