Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Borneo International Marathon 2013 - The Real Thing

Back in Kota Kinabalu

Marathon Time

The Real Thing

The long wait was finally over. What should have been a 5th May marathon, and later a 4th May marathon, turned out to finally be a 25th August marathon.  Though the medal would forever immortalise the 5th May 2013 date.  Did I care? Not a beep.  I badly wanted to run another full marathon.  What’s more it would fall just two days before me being fifty years young.  Kota Kinabalu seemed so familiar to me by now, having walked all around town, and even run the 10km Borneo International Marathon route while I was there the first time to pick up my race pack.  This time around it was about meeting up with old friends.  Jason Ku and his lovely wife Donna Shui were there to pick us up from the airport.  Thankfully they thoroughly enjoyed the kek lapis (layered cake) from Kuching.  Runners need their carbs! Hati Pari (Fairy Heart) and Cadbury layered cake makes it even more enjoyable.

At Suria Sabah with my running buddies
Kin K Yum - Sabah's latest pin-up sensation

Had to go to Suria Sabah to pick up my buddy Reuben Su’s race pack as he was flying in at midnight with my other friend Ryan Tay.  They would rush to Likas Stadium for the 3am start.  So there I was in the shopping mall trying to minimise my steps.  Luckily I didn’t have a pedometer with me.  Am sure I handily exceeded 10,000 steps in my flip flops.  Met up as planned with Mohandas Kandiah, a.k.a. Mohan Marathon, and his friends.  There was Kin K. Yum excitedly telling me I had lost weight.  Tell that to the fat around my belly I say.  Of course someone had to show us his pic in the Sabah tourist magazine.  Have to admit though that it was an awesome shot.  Later Uncle Oliver Ker would join us.  This would be the first time I would have Mohan and Oliver at the same table with me.  So you can imagine how ecstatic I was. 

Me flanked by Mohan and Uncle Oliver
Nasa Zaidul being part of the totem

Wolfed down a plate of nasi campur (mix rice) at the foodcourt there. Uncle Oliver came over. We chatted like long buddies. He swears he first met me at another race before PBIM 2012. Will that imposter please show himself? Yours truly made no secret that I wanted him interviewed. Of course Oliver never does interviews.  The blogger in me was asking all the right questions, and yes I have enough of the good stuff to write up on him, but not just yet.  Then along came Mohan looking for food.  Winnie Wong was there too. They ate rice porridge.  Oliver would later have veggies with rice.  This is one 71-year-old who is very careful in what he eats.  We should learn more from him.  I would definitely learn more from him in the future.  After chatting for quite a bit and taking photos we left to look for even more food.

I had planned to stop eating 12 hours before the run.  The clock was fast ticking down.  Had a butter bun. Went to a burrito place. It has been donkey’s years since I last ate one.  They make them big in KK.  It was available in 24 inches! Since I didn’t want to overdo it I just went for a twelve incher with lots of beef.  Then our running buddy Frances Ngu took us to this place famous for noodles.  Shared some Tuaran noodles with MBF while sneaking bites from my burrito.  Saw the people at the next table having yummilicious tom yam noodles.  Don’t be greedy Yahya, I said to myself.  Enough was enough. The clock told me I had better stop too.  So off we went to our hotel, which luckily was next to the last shuttle pick point.  I had planned to shop for goodies to bring home from Gaya Street on Sunday.  It was KK’s weekend market.

This time around it was hard for me to sleep.  Was just too excited after meeting my two running heroes.  Drank a litre of soya bean.  Managed to steal some shut eye.  Was awakened by the football on the idiot box.  Liverpool was up against Aston Villa.  This was a match the pundits thought would end the Red’s winning ways.  Left before the conclusion to catch the shuttle.  Was later to learn that my Anfield team had won by a solitary goal.  The shuttle pick up was 2am on the dot as promised.  That’s always a good sign.  Reuben and Ryan were near the entrance to Likas Stadium.  Both looked good to go.  Met up with some of the O-Run-Utan runners from Kuching: Alex Liew, Desmond Sahathevan, George Chapman, Eldon Chuo and Jonathan Soon.  All of them, together with Reuben, were still full marathon virgins.  Ryan and I would be going for our third, having run together at last year’s PBIM.  He was in fine form, having just done the Viper Challenge.  Met up with Miru Appadurai who was also doing her first FM.

Let the run begin

Mohan warming up with Amelia Monica Uhen
Uncle Oliver with Reuben
Me and Miru Appadurai

I may be wrong but it didn’t feel like 799 runners at the start.  Am sure that quite a few runners didn’t turn up.  This was the first time I started near the front.  Running was made easy with Ryan and Reuben leading the way.  Me being the smarty Nike pants decided to using a pace band.  Guess what I had it set for? 5:30! Yes my heart is as big as my belly. As we headed towards town I was lamenting to both guys that we were a minute slower.  The three of us would alternate leads.  Then later Ryan took to the front and I was saying we were a minute ahead, then five minutes ahead, and complaining that we were going too fast.  There was no way that I could sustain such a rapid pace.  Ryan said he would slow down before powering up an incline and you know who foolishly followed.  The 10km route was familiar to me, but for the full marathon it branched off further. 

When we headed back towards the Likas area I knew I had to slow down.  Used the excuse of rubbing Deep Heating Rub on my right hamstring to stop and let them motor past.  By the way I was using a Nathan hydration belt for the first time.  It consisted of two 300ml bottles and a zippered and Velcro pouch.  I could squeeze next to anything in it, and that’s what I did! My camera was in it, so too was my rub, five gels, two painkillers (since my right foot near the side had been hurting, and I had taken two when I snacked at the hotel), and twenty bucks.  My bottles were filled with Horleys Replace.  I really liked the orange mango flavour.  As for my gels, it was two Horleys (lemon lime – I consumed one before the run), two Power Gels (tangerine and strawberry banana flavour) and two 2nd Surge (cappuccino).  It was caffeine all the way for my last four gels.

Someone powered past us early into the race.  He was most definitely a Kenyan running from behind for a change.  I was later to learn that this was Kimosop Collins Kipkorir, the eventual winner.  He had overslept and started the race 15 minutes late.  He would go on to win by twenty minutes from Sabah’s marathon sensation, Fabian Osmond Daimon.  It was still very dark when I got to see sea water for the first time.  Was told the tough bit would be the run through the university.  Let’s just say tough was an understatement.   Some points were so bloody dark that it was hard to see where my foot was striking the ground.  Thankfully the road condition was great.  Always so nice to have isotonic drinks at the water stations.  Kept on gulping down 100 Plus along the way.  Let me tell you the caffeine in those gels taste beyond yuck. 

We had not one but two bananas at the designated points.  Heading out past 1 Borneo I got to see all my gang run past me.  It was not a disheartening sight.  I expected this.  They were all much faster runners than me.  It would have been foolish of me to go beyond my capabilities.  Besides I was fast faltering behind my 5:30 target.  Met a Marathon Maniac along the way who had done 57 marathons.  He told me to run a good 21km.  That’s what I did.  Then when km29 came along and I had to head back I knew that finishing under the 6:30 cut off time was not going to be a problem.  There was no need for the Power Bar.  I had two in my drop bag to go with my Horleys Protein 33 bar.  The inclines weren’t that tough.  Met Mohan, my blogging buddy Hafiz Aizat, who wasn’t running his best, and Uncle Oliver.  There was Tey Eng Tiong with his ever present camera, out-snapping even Mohan, a feat I never thought possible.  Made a point to clap and cheer the BIM crew and encourage the slower runners. 

We were all so spread out.  I ran and walked off and on with Cynthia Andrew, who I know is a Sabahan.  Then later I spent some time with a gentleman who had problems with his knees.  What I was happy to note was everyone had a very gung-ho attitude.  The water stations would run out of isotonic drinks for us slowpokes.  Even the water was no longer chilled.  Craving a cola I ran into an Orange, which is Sabah’s version of 7-Eleven.  They didn’t have a cola I liked so chose a can of ice cold coconut juice.  It was the best tasting one ever.  At that point in time any juice would have tasted divine.  The young lady being served at the counter had trouble with her change. Maybe the presence of a fat and sweaty old man that couldn’t stop moving freaked her out a bit.  Then it was back to my run.  Caught up with the usual suspects.  Would get my knee and hamstrings sprayed as much as I could.  Later only rubs were left and I had those so I just ran on.

With my dream of a 5:30 finish gone I didn’t take my last two gels.  There was just too much caffeine in them.  Didn’t need that boost.  Was so tempted to call MBF to tell her I would be late, but didn’t.  Yes I ran with my trusty BB strapped to my right bicep.  It never caused any problems.  The going was very hard on the final stretch.  My legs weren’t cramping but they felt so damn heavy.  It was like everything had gone down into them.  My new Asics shoes were great.  Had blisters but not at the usual spots.  They looked worse than they felt.  Am glad I used Newton socks.  They were at their slippery best.  Another thing I did right was use my Asics running top.  My favourite running shorts will always be my Nike double layer ones.  Used 2XU calf compression.  They worked fine for me at Island Ocean Marathon, and again in BIM. 

Finishing in style

It’s nice not to be running on empty when I approached Likas Stadium.  I knew I had to run the final bit with my friends waiting for me.  The minute I entered spotted Jason in running attire.  He had run the 10km without telling anyone he had signed up.  Called him a cheater! There was MBF snapping away, and Donna by her side.  When I hit the finishing line they immediately gave me the medal and I got my finisher quickly too.  In my excitement, as usual, I had forgotten to stop my watch.  However my best guess is that I finished in 6:08.  That for me was my new PB, shattering my PBIM time by 19 minutes.  There will be so many ifs for me, but I now know a sub-6 hour marathon is possible.  This was the same feeling I had at the Spring Live Active Run when finished the HM.  I knew I still had gas in my tank.  That is such an awesome feeling.

Running to finish line (Courtesy of Deo Runner)

Ryan, Reuben and me
Me, Mohan, Frances and Reuben
Nasa with Mohan
Miru being led to the finish line with Uncle Oliver
(courtesy of Tey Eng Tiong)

Kuching runners

L-R: Ryan, Jason, me, Dayangku Miranda, Nasa and Frances

Met up with all my gang.  We took the obligatory pictures with our medals.  Chose not to wear my fuchsia finisher t-shirt just yet.  Saw Mohan come in.  Would miss Uncle Oliver.  He came in with Miru.  That must have been a super experience for her, and a wonderful early birthday present for her.  Didn’t use a shuttle back.  We had friends with cars.  Went back to the hotel to shower.  Shopped for goodies as planned.  Then it was off for a great lunch and dessert with Jason and Donna.  Was so tempted to go for a 24 inch burrito, but decided to save them indulgence for another day.  Who knows what other runs I will run in Kota Kinabalu in the future? There are many more tempting ones on the calendar.  I know I  go further.  The only thing I have to work on is my weight.  That heavy feeling in my legs really took a toll on me during the final 10km.


Suffice to say all the O-Run-Utans did well.  Will write more about this when I have more information.  Ryan impressed me since he hardly trained for it.  Reuben showed great heart in his first marathon.  Our success as a group augurs well for Kuching’s very own marathon slated in all probability for August next year.  Hopefully many more runners in Kuching will go out to run in even more races to get experience which we can bring back to help make our very own KM2014 a success.  I will do my very best to decimate information the moment I know about it.  Am hoping that we in Kuching can emulate the success of the Borneo International Marathon.  I had no complaints at all.  Everyone was nice and helpful and supportive.  How I wish every run was like this.  Will I return to KK again to run BIM? Legs permitting, why not?

Resting my legs at Tanjung Aru

Fat old man napping
My swag...

Me with my 'tourist guides' - Donna and Jason
At the airport with our BIM tops

Went back to Kuching that same evening.  Now I need to rest those legs of mine. Come next Sunday I hope to complete my second run in The Marathon Series – River Jungle Marathon, at Batu 18 Hulu Langat in KL.  There was no need for me to even set foot in the gym, but I would.  I needed to do some stretching.  Am not about to suffer the pain of foot refloxogy.  So it would be yoga for me.  I know that will make my friends smile.  If it helps in my recovery, why not? I am hungry, I eat.  I am sore, I yoga.  It’s as simple as that.  Of course I have to control what I eat.  Otherwise I will definitely be that fat old man running.  I know am in serious trouble when airplane food tastes nice too.  A big thank you to the super efficient stewardess who helped with my OJ spillage.  What can I say? All my body parts were tired.  Catch all of you in another run in a week’s time!

Men’s Open
1. Kimosop Collins Kipkorir (Ken) 2.35.21s
2. Fabian Osmond Daimon (Mas) 2.55.05s
3. Samri Butak (Mas) 3:08:00s
Women’s Open
1. Jacquelyn John (Mas) 4:04:24s
2. Judy Liew (Mas) 4:15:20s
3. Jong Kiat Ngo (Mas) 4:20:11s
Men’s Veteran
1. Kevin Lee (Mas) 3:31:39s
2. Selamat Sahari (Bru) 3:40:31s
3. Alam Shah Ismail Ahmad (Mas) 3:43:58s
Women’s Veteran
1. Kona Liau (Mas) 3:38:27s
2. Annie Lee (Mas) 3:41:42s
3. Ewe Bee Hong (Mas) 3:47:51s
Men’s Open
1. Thomas Kipkosgei (Ken) 1:12:48s
2. Samson Kiplagat Tenai (Ken) 1:16:02s
3. David Mutai (Ken) 1:20:03s
Women’s Open
1. Grace Wayua Kitonga (Ken) 1:29:55s
2. Sarah Burns (UK) 1:46:52s
3. Rita Gani (Mas) 1:48:22s
Men’s Veteran
1. Guaianus Salagan (Mas) 1:27:03s
2. Damian Baynes (Aus) 1:39:17s
3. Goh Choon Aun (Mas) 1:39:20s
Women’s Veteran
1. Maggie Goh (Mas) 1:49:01s
2. Chau Wing Sze (HK) 2:11:00s
3. Misa    Murata (Jpn) 2:11:27s
Men’s Open
1. Abdul Aziz Mahamoud 00:39:52s
2. Albert Yusin 00:40:36s
3. Iginitiuse Ganni 00:41:09s
Women’s Open
1. Katarina Andersen 00:45:17s
2. Tamika Baynes 00:46:21s
3. Hyenie Roslin Danius 00:49:11s


  1. Ryan secretly trained himself in yoga, bodyjam and rpm !! hahahaha..

    So nice to see so many runners from Kuching.. too bad i'm not one of them this time. It's okay about the timing Yahya. Just enjoy the run like what Mohan and TeyET said and what the both of them with Uncle Oliver do all the time. ^.^

  2. Congrats for your PB Sir... U outran me this time... Kudos on your hard work and trainings regime... I bet you will be able to do Sub6, 5:30 target timing of yours in no time... PBIM perhaps... Till then keep on running... =D

  3. Hi uncle yahya! Thank you so much for giving me supports especially in UMS hilly routes! Looking forward to meet you and uncle Mohan again! -cynthia-