KOTA KINABALU: Czech Republic runner, Anna Pichrtova, led from start to finish to win the 20th edition of Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon.
She won US$4,500 (about RM16,600) and a gold pendant for being first up and down the 4,095-metre mountain, covering 21km in the process to win the event for women.
Having finished second in 2002 and winning it in 2001,2002, 2004 and 2005, she beat her compatriot and debutant Iva Milesova, 29, who got second prize of US$4,000.
Briton Dr Angela Mudge, who won the race in 1999 and 2000, was third.
In the menâ€™s veteran race, Sarun Sadi, 41, won RM1,000 by crossing the finish line ahead of Francis Cosgrave of the Philippines and last yearâ€™s champion Taising Bukolong.
The race continues today with the menâ€™s race.
Mexican Ricardo Mejia defends his title against runners from 21 countries.
Local runners, who are farmers, porters and guides from Kadamaian, Kota Belud and other areas, are expected to give them a tough fight. Many of them have joined the Kadamaian Mountain Running Association to prepare for the event.
Protem president of the association, Johnny Gilong, said many local runners had been taking part in the race since it began in 1987 but only a few had won.
“When a local wins, we celebrate the victory for a few days or weeks but after that thereâ€™s nothing. I have yet to see any concrete follow-up to develop the sport.”
“We hope to groom more mountain runners who are capable of challenging the worldâ€™s best,” he said adding the association had also organised mini mountain races in Kota Belud.
The last local runner who won the menâ€™s event was Guianus Salagan in 1994, 1995 and 1996 while Danny Kuilin Gongot won the womenâ€™s race in 1997,1998 and 2003.
Taken from local newspaper, 01 Oct 2006:
by Roy Goh