What can I say, the name of the race says it all. Putrajaya 100Miles (160km). It was a journey that I never thought I would embark. Same as my 100km. To me 42.195km was already hell. Now to go ~4X the marathon distance without rest? That’s insane! I even have friends who cycles, and they told me that they don’t even cycle that far. Hahaha. But, as times goes by, I soon realised (as a runner), i wanted to push my limits and stand out among runners back in Sarawak. For that to happen, I need to be different. Running marathons and 1/2 marathon in costumes just doesn’t make you stand out. You need to be extreme. Thus, this race came into play. I had originally signed up for 100km putrajaya (Bib:#A04) and not 100miles. But, soon after completing TMBT. I ask God for wisdom and discussed with my family. If I do not try 100 miles now, when will I ever?
Unfortunately, after TMBT the registration and upgrade for Putrajaya 100miles was closed. Lucky for me, I contacted Jerry Young (a fellow runner who inspired me to do 100km when i met him last year in Putrajaya 100miles- 78km category). He told me that he was running the 100miles and he had a friend; LaiKin who was letting go of his bib (Bib: #A13). To my delight, Laikin was willing to sell of his bib and I managed to get it transferred to my name. In parallel, I transferred by 100km bib to Davy Woon, who was my dorm mate in Putrajaya.
The weeks and days leading to the event waws really torture for me. I had done my training, but was not sure if it was sufficient. The elevation was not the major concern, but rather the familiarity of the route and heat. Last year (2015), there were zero finishers. Hence, this is a race distance not to be take too lightly. All that could be done was to download the maps (gpx file) into my garmin and phone.
The course was 80km to and fro. CP1 was still similar from last years route. But CP2 was amended. Instead of 5km return, we where required to perform an island loop. (I guess this was due to several runners who short-cut last year.)
CP3, Taman Cabaran was still the same. CP4 had some light changes due to the field used last year was already fenced up. To me, CP5 (Taman wetlands) – CP8 (Promenad Precint 7) was all new. Hence, the fear of getting lost. This ultra event, specifically requires you to be tentative while on route, since the markers are placed very far apart (~> 4km) from each other. It would be advice-able if you had a buddy to run with. Some runners were lucky to join the route familiarization runs, prior to the event, which was organised by teampacat. While other like me, we had to rely on what we had and prayed that all goes well.
We flag off at 7am. Unfortunately, due to some technical errors, we didn’t have an individual timing chip. But rather old school manual timing records. Well, guess that is why I have my Garmin Fenix 3. The run from start to CP1, Nusa Perdana was comfortable. I was trying to gain as much distance as possible before the mid-day heat. Sadly, there was no marker for the CP1 mid-way U-turn, (last year was available). It was replaced by 2 marshals. We soon reached CP 1, refuel and headed for the core Island loop (CP2). Since this route was amended, it was considered a scenic route for me. Manage to enjoy the trees and morning air.
As I completed the CP2 route and headed out for CP3 Taman Cabaran, I could start to feel the heat. And that was only 9:10am. The initial weather forecast for Saturday 11am to 6pm was supposed to be raining. But, as usual, the rain never came. Instead, the sun was shining down on us. While we were on the highway heading for CP4, Taman Rimba Alam, the heat registered on my Garmin was ranging from 34-37degC. That is with me all covered up. So, I’m guessing the actual temperature was probably ~ 40degC. As i was walking/ running along the highway, i was telling myself “lang ho ho chomik I ki cho 160km?” (translation from Hokkien would be; life so good why go run 160km ). Well, then again that has always happen while I’m running and scolding myself for the self torture. I was even thinking, why isn’t there any peddlers selling drinks by the highway for us? I’m sure even if they charge RM3/can of cold drinks, people would buy. Hmmmm. Maybe next time I should do that. Hahaha! A cold ice beer would be great under the hot sun.
I was so delighted as i reached CP4. The watermelon and toilet break was a delight. You can see the smile on my face when i reached the CP4 in the photo below. The volunteers at CP4 asked me if I wanted any drinks or food. I told them that someone should start selling at the highway. Unfortunately, no one was business minded enough to take the hint. After stocking up, I left CP4.
Thank goodness that CP4 to CP5 Taman Wetlands was partially among the trees with some roads. I manage to take some shelter, while heading to the wetlands at CP5 for lunch break @ 2pm. I sure am glad that i decided to wear my Ahon gaiters. Going through the highway and Taman Wetlands, there were areas where it was very dusty and had many loose pebbles. I am happy to say, the Ahon gaiters did its job well. Hence, I was not an idiot for wearing them. I have had similar issue while running Titi100 this year with the stupid pebbles. The last thing you need while tackling your run under the hot sun, are blisters or cuts on your toes.
CP5 (50km) Taman Wetlands was a rest well needed. I recharged my ipod, my garmin and replenished my hydration at that point. I started to stock pile my TZactive gels and UB bars for the next 110km. It was also here, that I reapply my 2Toms sports shield. Although the instructions says reapply after 24 hours, I did not want to add an additional suffering for this run. You can imagine the chaffing and heat torture? That will be just too much to endure. After spending about 30-45 at CP5, I decided to depart. Next was CP6 Taman Warisan. Although it was just an additional 8km away, I could not run any further for now. Hence, I decided to increase my walking stride.The funny things was that, each time I was going downhill, I would try o run. But, each time I run, I would over shoot the route and ended being off course. There where portions where i was even off course for> 2km. So, silly of me. There was a point that i decided to take it slower and safer. Lucky for me Chandru caught-up. That was when I decided it would be more efficient of me, if i would buddy with him rather than being to smart and run by myself. We made our way to CP6 and soon after that to CP7 Taman Saujana Hijau.
As we reach CP7, it started to turn dark. It was essential that we completed the 2.5km loop round the Taman Saujana Hijau before it became too dark. We manage to catch a glimpse of several wedding couples having their photo taken. Even at the Taman, we manage to get lost. Hahaha. Maybe too engross at the wedding couples.
We quickly depart from CP7 and made our way to CP8 Promenad Precint 7, also known as half way point (80km). Yahoo!!!! While making our way there, Chandru and I were talking about hot cup noddles and coffee to keep us awake for the 2nd leg of the race. We even passed 7 eleven and marked it as a go too place in case of emergency. But CP8 was not as close as I had hoped. the 13km distance was never ending. The words “are we there yet?” kept circling in my head every several kilometers. You can tell when fatigue have kicked in. Previous 100km ultra runs didn’t make me feel this way. The pedestrian walkway towards cyberjaya was bad. You can clearly see the effectiveness of our development and planning. We build but we do not maintain. The walkways where uneven, due to underground roots from the trees which have been planted but not maintained. The “road ultra” soon turned to be trail ultra as i was tripping over roots. I was like a child in a glass store. Need to bee very careful not to fall and break anything. Hahaha.
We met the top 3 runners (Jeff, Yimister, and Odef), making their return route. There where going strong. “It must be CP8 halfway point cup noodles and cold beverages”, I thought to myself. We soon reached the last stretch to CP8. It was dark, the lamp post where there. But as i mentioned about our efficiency, we build but we do not maintain. We spotted several people where dating there. I do hope our super bright headlamps did not spoil their romantic date night. Hahaha. I’m pretty sure they where cursing at us as we passed by. Both of us were in sheer delight as we arrive. Finally, the hot coffee and cup noddles for dinner. Much to our disappointment, there was no hot water. Neither was there any ice. OMG! I was like $#*@ in my head. But, I guess that is Ultra, (need to be self sufficient). Lucky for me i had my UB energy bars. Gave one to Chandru and had one myself. It was my fuel till we reached CP5 again.
As we were leaving, we met several runners coming in. It was a good sign, that there will be more finishers this year. I’m sure they were also disappointed to know that there was no ice and cup noddles. The journey back from CP8 to CP7 and CP6 was pretty fast as we where hungry. We managed to stop by at 7-11 on the way to CP7 to get a can of cold coconut juice and cold mineral water for a quick cold shower. The shower was great and refreshing. We started to pick up our pace and ran for several km before we overshot and missed a turning. We ended headed the wrong way for about 1km until i notice my watch was saying that we where off course. Hahaha, guess i need a talking GPS rather than the watch. We back tracked and was back in the game. Soon we reached CP6, where we had some cold drinks and watermelons.after replenishing our hydration, it was off we go to CP5 Taman wetlands for the maggi and hot coffee. It was almost 9pm when we reach CP5 Wetlands. Nevertheless, the key was that we arrived. The maggi was the best maggi I have had in weeks. Manage to have my 3in1 tongkat ali coffee to keep me awake for the last 50km stretch. We spend about 30mins at CP5 before we departed.
It seems that our previous cut-off time buffer was depleting. As we left CP5 we had 1hr 30mins buffer till the cut-off. By the time we have reached CP4 Taman Rimba Alam, the remaining time before the cut off was only 50mins. That meant that based on our current pace, we would reach CP3 Taman Cabaran with less then 30mins on the cut-off clock. I didn’t want to risk that, especially that we have gone so far with the soreness and blisters. Along the highway from CP4 to CP3, we tried to gain momentum, but exhaustion have finally kicked in. Both Chandru and I were actually zig-zaging along the motorcycle path at the highway. I could barely keep my eyes open.Only thing kept me awake was the occasional praying of the Rosary.(Yes, i do pray and i do bring my Rosary during my ultras).
I regained my awareness once i was done. I soon asked Chandru if he could run, because we had to chase after the cut-off time. He told me to go ahead, I then bid my farewell and prayed that we will meet each other at the finishing line. I took a sachet of the TZ active gel and a gulp of water. Then, within minutes, I started to pick up my pace and ran. By the time I reached CP3, I had 30-40mins on the clock before they close that checkpoint. I prayed that all fellow 100 milers manage to meet the cut-off. I quickly refuel and proceeded to CP2. Upon reaching CP2, I had regain the buffer to cut-off by 1 hour. That was a good sign for me, as the fear of getting lost may occur. The next task ahead was the CP2 core island run and CP1 home stretch. The CP2 core island run was where i bumped in to several 50km and 78km runners. Everyone was going strong. I only had one goal in mind. That goal was to complete the 160km. I was so happy to return back to CP1 and only have last 10km to go.
By then the sun had already come out and the heat was staring to come back.I knew this would be the longest 10km for me. The stretch to the U-turn (after dataran putrajaya) was not far, but from there to Taman Seri Empangan was another story. The Persiaran Putrajaya was never ending. I was just going at one step at a time. By this time I could not run and more, but should have more then ample time to complete. Finally, I reach the left turn to the bridge as we approach Taman Seri Empangan. This was where, I felt tears of joy. I bumped into Low KahWai, who asked me to pose for pictures as i reached the final 500 meters. Thanks to his motivation, I some how manage to gather the final burst of energy in me, and dash to the finish line. Unfortunately, the organizers did not hold the finisher banner for me at the finish line. Hence, my finish was not epic enough. Hahaha.
I would like to thank Team Pacat for organizing this event. There were several areas for improvement, such as CP8 food, ice and beverages. The wonderful volunteers and medic, thank you for being so helpful. Your support is greatly appreciated. Not forgetting Renee and Chuan, although we just met, kind souls like both of you, is what pushes us to finish the race.And of course a huge hug and THANKS to all runners, friends and family that supported me.
If you are interested to purchase the attire I was wearing, please contact the following links:
- HOKA ONE ONE shoes
- Ahon gaiters
- 2Toms sport shield
- TZ active energy gel
- UB energy bars
- Shannon Francis Lee (Pls PM me)
Always Run Happy, Run safe and Run Injury free.