First Timer’s Guide to Genting Trailblazer 2009

The Genting Trailblazer race has alway been a fun, but pretty strenuous event. If you are a first time participant to this year’s Genting Trailblazer 2009, or never ran in the 14 km event previously, it may get a little unpleasant out there in the wild, but the following guide should help.

trailblazer

Primer

Genting Trailblazer will have you running through the world’s oldest rainforest but not all of it is jungle. Last year’s race started with a run through the golf course before entering the jungle, and ended with a mostly uphill run on an exposed hill with plenty of gravel before the obstacle course/finish line.

Water

If you are a first timer, a small water bottle may not be enough for you.  The weather during the start of the race is generally cool, but it gets hot and humid when you enter the jungle with the rising sun and you’ll be in there for an awfully long time.

Furthermore if this year’s race follows the Go Green trend like last year’s, you can expect NO water stations in the jungle (unlike the race 2 years ago), and there’s only one water station right after you exit the jungle before the exposed hill. If you are lucky, there might be water left for you, but that’s not usually the case.

Solution? Get a Camelbak or any other decent water reservoir system and make sure you actually have a few runs with it to acclimatize. Nothing worse than running in a jungle with brand new equipment that you are unfamiliar with.

Apparel

There are NO leaches in the jungle, therefore that’s one less thing to worry about. The trail is practically a muddy one, with plenty of roots and rocks for company. You will definately need to go up and down inclines, some of them pretty steep, so dress comfortably. Normal sportswear (t-shirt, shorts) is okay for this event.

The only problem is the final part of the race. It gets really hot running (or walking) on the exposed hill, so grab some suntan lotion and a preferably..a cap.

Shoes

Trailblazer is one event where you can do yourself a favour and leave your crappy, holey, breaking-apart shoes at home.  I’ve seen participants forced to run barefoot after their old shoes broke apart in the mud (mud can have very strong suction, FYI). A decent pair of trail running shoes would do fine, and some people have taken to using Adidas Kampung and soccer boots for that extra grip in mud (shin deep in some places).

But since the start and ending parts of the race involve running on the road and gravel, I don’t recommend using those. If you are on a shoe-string budget, Power (by Bata) has some cheap but decent trail running shoes…plenty of grip in those.

Obstacle Course

The obstacle course just before the finish line is..well..an obstacle course. You have to climb up and down mounds of earth, jump in and wade across pools filled with muddy water, climb up walls, belly crawl on sand (2 years back), shimmy across bamboo poles…you get the picture.

Compared to the jungle that you just went through, there’s nothing to it.

Choosing a Partner/Training

I know it’s probably too late but get someone who is reasonably fit and mentally sound. And please, train for the damn event. If you have hiked the Mesilau or Timpohon trails before summiting Mount Kinabalu, good, but Trailblazer is tougher than that. Try Gunung Irau instead. If you want to practice trail running, Bukit Gasing is a good idea, preferably after the rain.

And like I’ve mentioned earlier, any new or unfamiliar equipment that you plan to use for the race (reservoirs, shoes, clothing) must be broken in first before the race.

Keep your cool

I’ve seen participants break down and freak out (and even being obstinate to their team mate) in the jungle, either from the fact that they underestimated the course (14 km in the jungle is not a stroll in the park),  got the cramps (not used to exercising or dehydrated), or after one hill too many (lack of training). It goes without saying that Trailblazer tends to bring out the true colours in people, so don’t be surprised, stay focus, and continue to motivate each other. It’s a team race anyways and you’ll need to finish together.

That’s about it. I’m not participating this year, got a Krabi trip coming up and I didn’t want to be too beaten up to enjoy the beach. So if you are participating in the race, all the best, have fun and stay safe (the above tips come with no warranty/guarantee whatsoever). Hope you get to plant  a tree after the race :).

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  1. pligg.com October 16, 2009

    Nine Over Ten 9/10 » First Timer’s Guide to Genting Trailblazer 2009…

    The Genting Trailblazer race has alway been a fun, but pretty strenuous event. If you are a first time participant to this year’s Genting Trailblazer 2009, or never ran in the 14 km event previously, it may get a little unpleasant out there in the wi…

  2. Kennee October 16, 2009

    Wow… i think this is more extreme than normal marathon…. ^^

  3. […] you can get more info from the organisers and register here. I also found this site which imparts awesome advice for the first-timer so take a look-see as well. This isn’t your typical run so you would do well […]