Sunday, December 18, 2011

MR25 Ultra-Marathon 2011

Facebook Photos from CK Chin, BTing, David Tan, Tey, RonnieKim Lai, Richard, Cindy, Puay KiangMohan, KPI

Since 2005, it has been a yearly ritual for me to participate in the MR25 Ultra-Marathon, save for 2007 when I was away for the Chiangmai Marathon. With growing numbers, this year's event put a cap on 300 participants, with many of the FatBirds and Sunbirds going for their maiden Ultra-Marathon.

As a member of MR25, I get to this race for free, so I registered rather early for the slot. I normally go for 5 laps of the 10.2km to-fro circuit along the rocky MR trails. The number of support and cheer teams have also grown over the years, making this Ultra-Marathon a year-end get together of sorts for the running community.

When I arrived to MR Amenities Centre by bus at 6.45pm, the pre-race briefing was about to start. Put on my bib, checked in my bag and proceeded to the start line. All runners were given from 7am thru 7pm to complete as many 10.2km laps as possible, with a minimum of 5 laps to qualify for the finisher cert and tee.

As I did a Circle Line run on Saturday, I decided to take this run real easy. I started off from the mid-pack at about a 7min pace. The weather was cool and nice after last evening's showers. As I ran along the trails, it was good to catch up with many friends and even had a number of enquires about FatBird training hehe.

The most difficult part of the course to me was after the Ranger station towards the U-turn, where the trails were rocky and we had to keep a diligent eye lest we take a tumble. A staple was applied to the bib at the U-turn before we proceeded back towards Northern Route. It was great to see the JMs and some FatBird supporters as I posed for photo and received a nice Sng Bao.

The 2nd lap was much the same, but I decided to put on my Santa hat for that extra festive feeling. That caught lots of attention and friendly smiles from fellow runners and other park users. With all the 'merry-making' and well-wishing, time passed rather easily, and soon I was back to the Amenities Centre, where I broke into song of:
"Two Turtle Doves, and a FatBird in the MR trails"

I was stilll feeling good on the 3rd lap, just that the legs started to get more sore from the loose and rather sharp rocks on the trails, esp. the U-turn area. The drinks point just before Terantang trail of Pocari Sweat was something I looked forward to as we would pass that twice for each lap. It was good fun passing fellow runners along the way and giving words of encouragement or festive greetings. Soon I reached the start point this time with the words of:
"Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Sng Bao waiting for me..."

As lunch was not ready, I took a banana and gel to relief the hunger pangs, before proceeding for the 4th lap. After many numerous slopes, my legs were getting tight and sore, but I was still able to chug up all the slopes at a sustainable pace with no danger of any cramps erupting. I was still feeling quite strong as I U-turn, then on the way to the start-point, I was informed that lunch had arrived. That perked me up slightly as I knew there would be just 1 lap remaining for me. As I returned, I sang quietly:
"Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, with a hot kopi waiting for me..."

I took a slightly longer break before starting the 5th lap. There were no signs of chaffing or blisters forming, which was good. Grabbed a milo Sng Bao from one of the kind support teams and I was soon on the way to complete the 5th, albeit adopting a slower and more cautious pace. Had time to chat with more runners at the water-hole who were feeling the effects of the rocky trail. The good news was that the weather held on well, and provided some relief to the tiring bodies.

After chugging up slope after slope, I was glad to finally reach DQ's support point - here I was asked to do a 'jump' for a finisher photo :) I took it cautiously as I did not want any eruptions so close to the finish line. Although there were offers of sugar-cane juice and other goodies, my mind was just on finishing off the run and taking a rest. I proceeded on without taking anything (thanks for the offers, guys!) and with 1km to go, I picked up pace to finish off strongly to the chorus of:
"Five MR Loops, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a happy ending to the running year"

I completed in a time of 6hr37min, which was not fast, but still a satisfying time for me as I did not have any walk breaks thrown in this time. I also did not feel much pain other than the slight sores on the underfeet caused by the rocky trails. Overall, I enjoyed the whole race experience, thanks to the wonderful organization of the MR25 committee and the host of photographers and supporters who were so generous with their offers of Sng Bao, drinks, buns, sandwiches, etc.

Many of the friends whom I have recommended this race to also enjoyed the experience and many did very well at their maiden MR25 Ultra-Marathon. With the reasonable race fees, trail ultra-marathon experience, conducive support atmosphere, this is one race that should grow in popularity with the running community in the years to come.

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At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be an accomplishment to complete the MR25 Ultra for me! Respect for doing this every year! :) Have a good year ahead. See you around.


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