I got pulled into a preview route climb and run in Langkawi by a blogger friend of mine and I unwittingly said yes, because, well… I was excited to see how a run in the forest felt like…
The forest can be after all a very mystical and magical place… sometimes… blame it on the diet of Enid Blyton Enchanted Forest books I grew up on and also those stories of magical folks, Jungle Book and bunians you hear about… OK, I am not about to wax lyrical over my fantasies….
It was only a few days when I got the email when I realised what I let myself in for… hahaha… I was horrified… and stunned myself a little when I found out that the route was a 4000 over steps , 4287 steps to be exact and 3.1km in length and followed by a 15 km run downhill…..
Nevertheless, since it was a preview route run, and with the encouragement of my friend, I thought I should just challenge myself and see how far I can go. Crazy right?? When all this while I have only done fun runs for 3-5 km… and that also brisk walking… hahahah….
Anyway, I signed up for it and was on my way to Langkawi with the rest of what looked , seem and was professional marathoners… my heart sank as I realise I was the most weakest one there…even my fellow bloggers Misz Ella and Elana were active gym bunnies and had plenty of stamina, and I was just a beginner in this running business…..however, it did not stop me having a fun time with the rest of them and making new friends/ acquaintances along the way..
Let me tell you a little bit about the preview route climb and run venue…. It is called Tangga Helang Seribu Kenangan (literally the Thousand-Memory of Eagle Steps – a very mystical name, right?) … It is located at the Lubuk Semilang Forest Reserve in Langkawi, Kedah (of course, where else…hahah). You can find resting huts, camping site, dipping pools and forest trail at the bottom of the Tangga Helang Seribu Kenangan where locals come to relax, unwind and chill from the humidity and heat.
As most rainforest, Lubuk Semilang Forest Reserve has it fair share of flora & fauna including many amazing animal and bird life. Did you know Gunung Raya was formed around 230 million years back deep under the earth and then gradually had risen above the surface due to plate tectonic movement of the earth. The peak of Gunung Raya essentially constitutes of granite formations.
The Tangga Helang Seribu Kenangan will take climbers to the peak of Gunung Raya, the tallest peak in Langkawi. From Gunung Raya mountain top, the path will continue down for another 10 kilometres to Durian Perangin Forest Reserve.
The BDB Triple Challenge 2016 is a series 3 very challenging and separate events in beautiful Langkawi and Jitra for the running and climbing enthusiasts. There is the:-
- Langkawi Climb and Run ( 4th June ,2016)
- Extreme Jitra - obstacle run (10th September, 2016)
- Jitra Marathon (26th November, 2016)
Our climb and run preview route began after a hearty breakfast at a mamak shop at Pekan Rabu where we had put up for the night at about 8.00am.
We had a little briefing by the Race Director, Ariff before starting the climb… my experience on climbing? I have only ever done Batu Caves 272 steps once a week or in two weeks…. Hahaha… so to take on 4287 steps is like going up Batu Caves almost 16 times!!!
Bearing in mind that I have low stamina in comparison to all the others, I was practically panting like a dog after about 500 steps… and since I was practically the last one I was beginning to feel ashamed of myself for holding a few others who were on the lookout / sweeper back….
I finally reached the 1000 steps mark after taking many pictures along the way and continued climbing…
It was around 1500 or 1600 steps (approximately) where I was really struggling and feeling bad I was holding the others back when I decided to call it quits and make my way back down, taking a more leisure pace since by then my knees were trembling pretty badly from over exertion…
All alone on my solo descent, I think I spotted some monkeys who passed me by quickly….
And when I was back at the starting point, we saw a couple binturongs who jumped and glided from tree to tree and even started tossing small half chewed durians down the trees as well…
I think there are dusky leaf monkeys, macaques, binturongs, Eurasian wild pigs or birds like the Great Hornbills which can be up to 1.3 meters long from beak to tail end, mountain hawk & white belly sea eagles, wreathed hornbills, orange breasted trogons which are said to occupy this mountain…and if you are lucky, you will spot one or two of them.
Well… (*comforting myself here) 1600 steps is about 1/3 up Gunung Raya which I think is not too shabby…. Considering I am such a weakling….heheh
The view is just sooooo magical.. and I could imagine the steps leading me into a magical place somewhere….The shady forest is so green and gorgeous, a reminder how little we sometimes appreciate nature and her natural beauty… Two or three of the runners were fortunate enough to have spotted the Hornbill and a few others could hear the “whoop, whoop” sound of the wings
Anyway, after 3,060 steps, I heard that the ascent gets more steeper and challenging. Everyone else who came with me finished the climb and they said the steepest steps were the last few hundred….
Here are some pictures I got from some of the other runners namely Lina, Deo, Sam McComa, Jerome Martinent and Ariff, the race director……
Bear in mind you will need to climb and run in BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016 so after conquering the 4,287 stairs, runners have to run downhill for 15.5km back to the start line. It is however not a steep downhill run.
The descent is said to be gradual with a number of small inclines and flat stretches… however minus the forest shade…
It is a great challenge to all those with great stamina, and well, you can choose to register for each event individually or register for all three for just RM200 for the whole three series which is pretty reasonably priced.
Registration can be done over at: https://home.hooha.asia/BDBTripleChallenge2016.aspx
All participants registered for the run will receive a running kit consisting of a runner’s Brooks T - shirt, Number Bib , Running Chip ,and Runner’s Guide Book. All participants must collect their running kit according to the date, time and venue confirmed by Organizer.
Some advice for participants doing the Climb and Run especially to non-runners like me who might be thinking of joining, train for the climb… Batu Caves is a good place to start, or at your condo/ apartment/office…. And also train for the run as I doubt 15K downhill run is easy after having to climb 4,287 steps.
You will definitely enjoy the challenge posed here if you have plenty of stamina and seriously the view up the climb is just nothing short of magical or amazing…
Kudos to all my fellow climbers/runners who completed the challenge… they came back soaked with sweat, blood and tears (ok, no blood involved here)…..
Thanks so much to the organisers, PR team and sponsors who made this climb and run preview route trip a great and fun one.
As for me, I am gonna go whip myself into shape… yesterday I had some great news that I had free gym membership for 3 whole months, so time to try to shape up further and build my strength and stamina and more Batu Caves climbing… will try doing 2x and 3x and so on….hehehe… wish me luck….