Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mt. Kinabalu, Here We Come...

In a few hours time, I will be leaving for my maiden voyage to Sabah for a preliminary trek in preparation for the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon in Sep/Oct. Well known as the Land Below The Wind and also Land Of The Sacred Mountain, Sabah is a land of varied landscapes and natural wonders. Many ethnic groups live together harmoniously while at the same time preserving their own culture, traditions, festivals and customs to make Sabah a multiculturally exotic experience unlike any other that we would have experienced.

MK newbytes: 25 May 2006

KOTA KINABALU: This year, the organizers of the 20th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon welcome TM (Telekom Malaysia) as they become the event's title sponsor this year.

TM is sponsoring a sum of RM300,000 in cash and RM100,000 in kind for this year's Climbathon, which takes place on the 30th of September and 1st of October. The event is officially called the TM 20th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon 2006

The Climbathon is also the final race of the Buff® Sky Runners® World Series circuit for the fifth consecutive year and is one of the two races in the circuit held outside Europe. Buff® Sky Runner® World Series is regulated and coordinated by the European-based Federation for Sport at Altitude (FSA) who are extremely selective in the choice of races for the World Series. The objective of the association founded on 11th December 1995 is to monitor and administer the formation, promotion and regulation of athletes and races above 2,000 meters and special events at or above 4,000 meters. Final decisions are based on course features, which must comply with FSA rules as well as the quality of organization and history of each race event.

This year, the race begins with the Women's and Men's Veteran Athlete categories on the morning of 30th September. Last year, returning champion and Olympian Anna Pichtrova from Czechoslovakia, was again crowned women's champion with a time of 03:13.2s. She was also the Women's Champion in 2001 and 2002, and managed second place in 2000. Favre Corrine of France (03:29.1s) and Venezuela's Cruz Aleida Salazar (03:42.2s) came in second and third respectively.

In the Men's Open last year, it was an exciting race among the top runners with Mexico's Ricardo Mejia coming in first at 02:41.5s, closely followed by Italians Dapit Faulvio (02.48.2s) and Jean Pellisier (02:49.6s). The Veteran Men category saw Malaysians raking in the medals with Taising Bin Bukulong clocking 03:12.3s at first place, Jios Bin Kundapit at 03:25.3s and Raimin B. Iki at 03:29.3s. Other top ranking Malaysian include Madamin bin Gihun (03:05.3s) in the Men's open and Florina Aku who came in 5th in the Women's Open with a time of 03:46.5s.

The current record holders are Italy's Marco De Gasperi who finished with a time of 02:36.59s in 2003 during the Men's Open and Anna Pichtrova who clocked 03:06.54s in 2004 for the Women's Open.

The Climbathon offers its winners cash prizes along with gold pendants for runners who reach the summit first in the Men's and Women's category. All athletes who complete the race will also receive a finisher's medal and certificate of participation.

Due to the narrow course and harsh conditions of the race environment, only 150 participants will be accepted for the race. For participants who wish to train at Kinabalu Park prior to the race, they must first register in the Climbathon before they are allowed by Kinabalu Park to enter the climbing trail. Training can be done only up to Laban Rata.

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