Are you tough enough?
That's the question I always ask myself. Someone asked me whether I would sign up for this year's Viper Challenge. Yes I did give serious thought to it. However I have to be realistic. My upper body strength is pathetic. The chin-up bar would laugh at me if it could. There's just too much body weight to be lifted up. The Viper Challenge will have 21 obstacle courses, with many of which requiring upper body strength. Sadly I will have to give it a miss. Then there's the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon. Friends of mine will be attempting it again this year. Some for the first time. Yours truly has not even climbed Mount Kinabalu yet, though it is on my list of things to do before I finally kaput. It's on the same list that has names like London, Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York. Of course the word 'Marathon' ends each city. At the rate am going, fat chance I will be in Massachusetts till I am eighty. Hopefully by then I can complete an FM in under 4:55.
There will be two races for this year's Climbathon. The Summit Race on 18th October 2014 and the Adventure Race on 19th October 2014. Imagine climbing up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu (4095.2m) in under 2 hours 45 minutes for the Summit Race. I want to cry when I first saw the cut-off time. Then race from the summit to the finish line in under 3 hours 30 minutes. That's 6 hours 15 minutes for 33km, which includes climbing the highest mountain in Borneo. Well, I can strike that one off my list. So am left with the Adventure Race. For this one the runner need only reach Layang-Layang Hut (2760.3m) and then finish at Kundasang town. That's 23km, of which 15km is run on tarmac road. A men veteran runner like me gets 6 hours to complete it. On paper it looks like something I can do. Then I see the gradient chart and my heart drops to my size elevens. The going up part will do me in. The part that tells me gravity really works. The part that will sap every ounce of energy from me. If I could roll down after that maybe it's possible...
This Climbathon is not for me yet. Though that doesn't mean it is not for you. I am sure those who aren't laden by body fat can breeze to the top and barrel down the mountain. Honestly, if given the chance I would rather climb Mount Kinabalu than the KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge. Steps just doesn't offer the same type of thrill. Besides the Climbathon means that you not only have to climb but you have to run to beat the cut-off. This is the sort of runs that bring the runner face to face with the might of nature. Man-made buildings can never measure up to the splendour of what Mount Kinabalu has to offer. Look at me, I enjoy going to Sabah, and running the Borneo International Marathon. Who knows one day I might even climb that mountain too. For now it remains a dream. It's something to look forward to as I keep on running. For those of you who already know you can tackle the might of Mount Kinabalu, then just click here to sign up. I will be supporting you from the comfort of the beach on one of Sabah's many island paradises.