A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)gmail.com
I heard that the cost of Mount Kinabalu climbing package for the year of 2015 is going to be increase. I heard it from a very reliable source, as Malaysian government is going to implement 6% Goods & Service Tax starting from 1st April 2015, it’s expected that the price will only go up. With that move, most of travel and tour operators all around Malaysia, who handle packages and climbers to Mount Kinabalu are expected to increase the prices between 5-10% from the previous year.
So, for those of you who has been saving for the past months for your next year’s climbing plan, please increase your daily/monthly savings, so that you can cover the excess cost for 2015’s climbing package.
If you still do not have done any booking yet, don’t worry. I have made some adjustment on our Mount Kinabalu climbing package booking page for easy communication. Please feel free to contact me through our booking page. I will try my best o help you on your next Mount Kinabalu climbing expedition.
By the way, I also help SCUBA divers and Maliau Basin’s trekkers. Shoot me an email if you are also interested on any of the mentioned package.
I did it again. This is my second climbathon that I joined. I joined last year’s edition of climbathon, in which I did in 6 hours 26 minutes. Not even within the cut off time. My time was even worse this time. I did in 6 hours 46 minutes. 20 minutes over my last year’s timing. The Summit Trail and The Mesilau Trail experience was exactly the same as last year.
Early morning at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, Kiram’s Village, Mesilou, Kundasang. We slept in the white cabin just behind us, the night before.
The number of runner this year was the highest, as it was rumored that this climbathon edition will be the last. There will be no more climbathon next year. Almost 800 participant from all over the world came to torture themselves. However, a day before the event, the organizer made a press statement saying that the climbathon event this year will be the last one that is organized by Sabah Tourism Board. From next year onward, there will be a new organizer for this international event.
At the parking lot, just in front of Kinabalu Park HQ, Kundasang. The guy with the green shirt is a friend of mine. He finished 10th in his category.
Maybe Sabah Tourim Board (a government body) might not have enough financial support and had difficulties to find sponsors for this event. I personally thinks that when International Skyrunning Federation dropped climbathon from their circuit, the event was not that appealing anymore for international skyrunners to come here.
At the entrance of Kinabalu Park HQ.
However, this year’s edition of climbathon was slightly different in terms of the environment and the camaraderie. I will not share with you the flow of the event, as you can read it from my previous year report here. I will share with you the things that I missed when I did my maiden climbathon last year.
Mount Kinabalu, early morning, just before the start.
I finished this year’s climbathon WITHOUT any injury
This is the most important difference that I have to highlight, as compared to last year’s edition. I injured my left knee while reaching Layang-Layang and have to scramble down Mesilau Trail and end up walking very slowly to the finish line. I sustained Ilio-tibial band syndrome – a common injury for runners – in which I had to rest for almost 3 months after last year’s event!
Met some new friends while running.
This time however, I did not have any injury, only ‘normal’ thigh cramps on the way down Mesilau Trail and managed to still run to the finish line. What I did differently was only by close monitoring my heart rate below 160 bpm. Last year, I didn’t know how to use my heart rate monitor properly. So what I did was only run with all my heart out and most of the time, it reaches more than 90% of my maximum heart rate. This time around, I maintained my heart rate below 90% and with that approach, the result showed. I still have cramps of my both thigh, but the intensity and frequency was way less than last year.
Few seconds before the race begins.
And the bad time. I have to admit that I didn’t train much as compared to last year. The last run that I did before this climbathon was only 10km Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, just a week earlier. I only did “mental training”. Haha. The result showed that I need more training, especially hill training for this kind of event.
Mount Kinabalu at the background.
I ran this climbathon with my cousin and a lot of just found friends
Last year when I did my climbathon, I was alone, in the sense of relationship with other runners. Maybe because I was just started running that time, and my circle of running friends was quite small then. As time goes by, I got to know a lot of them in the running community here in Sabah from the Facebook. It seems now that whenever I run, I surely will bump with them, and that makes the event more fun. It’s really fun to run with some of the friends that you know from the Facebook in which you never met with them personally before. We will usually give encouragement with each other, as not all of us are as fit as others.
Yes! I did it again!
I also ran with my cousin from Kuala Lumpur this time. He is the one who ran with a GoPro stick and camera, and happily shooting all the way through the event as he ran. We had a good time together, staying overnight at Kiram’s Village, meeting our new friends from all over the nation and shopping some local delicacies in Kundasang. It makes the climbathon more eventful.
At the medical tent. Nursing my both thighs with ice. It was burning!
I ran this climbathon fully prepared with hydration pack and electrolytes
Last year I was really not prepared for my hydration and electrolytes. I underestimated the event, bringing no hydration pack and rely on the event organizer’s water station. I did not bring any PowerGel or even electrolytes. That move had caused my muscle to cramps all the way from Layang-Layang to Kundasang – almost 15km of pure agony. In addition with the cramps, I sustained Ilio-tibial band syndrome. That really slowed down my pace.
Met some more new friends!!!
This time around, I brought along my AK race vest by Ultimate Direction. I have used the gear during my Hasuu Tasuu Trail Run (23km) last August and it performs really well. 2 bottles of 500ml, a lot of electrolytes powder, PowerGel, some chocolate and peanuts. It really makes a difference in the “quality” of the race as compared to last year. I don’t rely too much on the water station, and this time around, I intentionally missed the illegal water station, in which they served cakes! With my hydration that was monitored closely, my mind can focus on the target of improving my last year’s timing.
Are you tough enough? YES!
I ran this climbathon with my Suunto Ambit2 R watch
As compared to last year’s event in which I used Garmin Forerunner 210, the GPS tracking for both watches was excellent. No mobile phone apps can match their capabilities of tracking your run deep inside the jungle canopy of Kinabalu Park. With the watch, I knew I did really good last year from Kinabalu Park to Layang-Layang (1 hour 15 minutes) but really bad this year (2 hours and 30 minutes). Because of the injury last year, my second part was worst than this year. So, actually I DID better this year in terms of overall stats, but because I did not have enough training, I failed to improve my time this year.
It was a relief when I crossed the red line!
Anyway, the pain was better than last year’s edition, and I have to admit that I am addicted to this kind of event. I will surely signed up for next year’s event – if they continue to have it. I have actually signed up for next year’s TMBT 50km Ultra Trail Run.
Me and my cousin, Azril. He did a better time at 5:25.
Borneo International Marathon, an annual event here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah was held on 4th of May 2014. This year, I decided to run their half marathon, the first ever half marathon of my life. Last year I ran 10km event, in which I did in 61 minutes. I decided to run the half marathon just to push myself a little bit more and would like to know how far my body could go.
500m before the finishing line
This time around, I did register my 10 years old son for 10 km event. I knew he could do it, but I just did not know whether he could do it within the cut off time. We did some training runs together around our home, sometimes to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 1, and sometimes around Tanjung Dumpil beach, Putatan. Our home is very nearby those places.
Most of the time, my training runs consist of long slow distance (LSD) running with heart rate around 140bpm. I used Garmin Forerunner 210 with heart rate monitor and following Phil Maffetone’s advice on building my aerobic base at the stated heart rate. Most of the time, the pace was around 9min/km, in which my son was able to follow me.
My longest distance of training was only about 16km. I don’t think I’d ever run more than 20km since my Climbathon last year. Anyway, I am still confident that I could run the half marathon within the cut off time.
Race day came,and a lot of things were out of my control. The race started at 5am in the morning with my heart rate as already at 140bpm! My usual early morning hear rate should be around 70bpm, but maybe because all of those adrenalin and anxiety of a half marathon virgin (HMV) made my heart rate double even before the race started!
There were a lot of people. A LOT! Nearly 7000 participant took part in this year’s race. The ambiance was not like last year’s event, when it was rescheduled to August in which maybe half of the numbers as compared to this year.
So, I started to run with all the runners for half marathon from the starting line, with my heart rate rushing at 160bpm! My strategy was to maintain my heart rate, not to exceed 164bpm during the race. With that, my pace was only around 7:30min/km in which was quite slow. But my target was NOT to get muscle cramps at the end of the race and running without any blisters.
I bought High5 energy gel – only 3 packets – to be consume during the run. Hopefully it could fuel me up through the race. I took it at kilometer 6, kilometer 12 and kilometer 18, and drank water and 100Plus at every water station. I knew that hydration is very important and energy gel was even so, to prevent electrolyte imbalance in which can predisposed me to muscle cramps.
My first ever Half Marathon & 10km for Dany Hijazi
The last 3 km I ran all out. I am glad that although the pace reached 5:30min/km, I did not have cramps during the race. I arrived at the finishing line at 2H 40M, 10 minutes off my target time at 2H 30M. Anyway, I am glad that I did not have cramps and blisters – in which was my target for this race.
My son? He actually ran alone with all other runners in School Chlidren category. He was flagged off at 6.15 am in the morning, and reached the finishing line at 8.05 am. Total of 1H 50M. Not bad for a boy his age and a starter. Apart from complaining that his socks were too tight that makes his feet hurts, he is quite fit for the run. He was even happier when he could finish it within the cut off time and received a medal!
Dany crossing the finishing line
So, next year’s BIM, I am going to participate in Full Marathon, 42.195km. Target time: sub-5 hours!!! See you next year!
My Garmin profile for the run.
These are the resources that I used for this event. Phil Maffetone method:
Chi running, for an injury free long distance running:
King Kilian Jornet did in in 2 hours 11 minutes last year 2012. And he said it was too easy for him. I did it in 6 hours and 25 minutes. So, nothing to brag about my performance. Yes, it was really slow for Men’s Open category. The cut off time was 5 hours. But it was really, really tough for me indeed.
Although I have climbed Mount Kinabalu 5 times, this was my first climbathon race. My preparation was very minimal. Apart from mentally ready, I only did around 5km per week of street running. I NEVER EVER had a session on trail, even more on a mountain trail. With all those excuses, no wonder I did poorly in this maiden race. This is my story.
I picked up my race kit on Friday afternoon, 18th October. I also bought a SPIBELT – a type of belt that runners always use to put their small items, (like smartphone and some energy bars) from one of their sponsoring booth. It happened to be one of my best running accessory. It function almost flawlessly during the race.
I went back to Kinabalu Park HQ on Saturday 19th October, around 6 pm for the race briefing. Its was really short and sweet. After sharing with the runners about the Adventure Race route and the timing chip, the organizing chairman wrapped it up in less than 15 minutes.
Adventure Race route is only 23 kilometers. 13 kilometers on tarmac section and 10 kilometers on mountain trail. Runners will start from Kinabalu Park HQ, goes up to Layang-Layang and then down to Mesilau route. The race will end in Kundasang town. So, it will be like this:
4km on tarmac up, from Kinabalu Park HQ to Timpohon Gate
4km on mountain trail up, from Timpohon Gate to Layang-Layang
6km on mountain trail, mostly down, from Layang-Layang to Mesilau Nature Resort
9km on tarmac down, from Mesilau to Kundasang
My family and I stayed in one of the lesser know chalet in Kundasang town. Luckily the chalet was in a perfect location – we could see runners climbed down the tarmac section, just around 3 kilometers before the finishing line. I should have “carbo-load” myself by Saturday, but I didn’t. I just had some steambot for dinner and slept at around 10 pm.
I woke up early on the race day, Sunday 17th October at 5 am. It was not a good sleep at all. With the anxiety of first time racer and my little girl who cannot sleep well that night, I managed to get things ready before 5.30am. I arrived at Kinabalu Park around 6 am. It was cold but clear morning. The mountain was there, staring at us and ready to torture those who were not ready for the race (Yup. In my face!). For my Open Men category, there were around 400 participant. I slowly munched my Toblerone chocolate (which stated that I could get around 2000 calories from it) for my breakfast.
At sharp 7 am, the race start. The first 4 kilometers was on tarmac section from Kinabalu Park to Timpohon. This section was quite okay for me, as I was quite comfortable with tarmac, although there was an elevation gain. But when I entered Timpohon Gate, the race changed a lot for me. I never had any training on trail, and climbing those unending stairs to hell (well, literally) really had a toll on both of my legs and knees.
The trail took 4 kilometers up from Timpohon Gate to Layang-Layang, and I really, really felt the pain. Just before I reached Layang-Layang, my left knee started to get injured. I think it was my knee’s lateral ligament screaming. I cannot bend my knee without feeling any pain. That was not good at all.
The next 6 kilometers from Layang-layang to Mesilau killed my left knee completely. My right knee that had an existing ACL injury felt fine. I was lucky on that. I can’t even go down the stairs facing forward. I had to go down the stairs with my butt first. This had slowed me down so much, that even a 55 years old female veteran runners run passed me. We also had a chat and she said that she has a son who is my age!
I had bouts of cramping on both of my calf and thigh muscle. I had to stop almost all the time when the cramp starts. I was hungry, even after I finished a bar of PICNIC chocolate at Layang-Lyang. Luckily there were a lot of paramedics on the trail who are happily spraying my legs with “painkillers”. I think it works temporarily.
After about 4 and half hours of running, stopping, walking, scrambling, sliding and falling down, I arrived at Mesilau Nature Resort in one piece. Long before I arrived at this checkpoint, I knew that I could not make it in 5 hours of the official cut off race time. My left knee gets more and more painful as I ran down those 6 kilometers of wet, slippery and muddy Mesilau Trail.
From Mesilau Nature Resort, there was another 9 kilometers to go. I could stop the race and had a DNF (do not finish) at this point by following my family vehicle (as they had waited for me there for sometime) back to the chalet, but I think – what the heck. Endure the pain and just finished what you have started! That remaining 9 kilometers of tarmac section was the ultimate test. It’s getting hot. Less checkpoint. No more painkiller spray, as they all have ran out of it.
The best part during this time was only at Maple Brook villa. There were few third party volunteer (I think?) whom offered me some bread and 100plus. I think that was the most delicious (and the only) food that I had during the race. It was relieving and uplifting as I was really hungry at that time. I did not know you guys, but I want to thank you guys very much for your effort. Please reply this blog post if you read this!
My energy went up a bit, my spirit soars as I saw my wife and kids cheering for me when I passed by the chalet. I could not run anymore because of the tremendous pain of my knee, but I tried my best to walk really fast. It was like my left knee was pierced by a huge nail, every time I started to run.
At last, I arrived at 2 kilometers before the finish line. This was the ultimate test – the last stretch was uphill. I think I saw stars after walking few hundred meters or so – dragging both my feet up this stretch. I stopped few times, panting. Both of my legs and knees had refuses to move. Luckily I did not passed out. I dragged my legs up the remaining stretch, and just before the finishing line, the female veteran whom passed me on the trail cheered for me and even asked me to run with her to the finishing line. I think she did really, really well.
I clocked 6 hours and 26 minutes on my Garmin Forerunner 210, way beyond the cut off time for about an hour and a half. Anyway, they gave me finishers medal, the second medal after my 10k Borneo International Marathon few months back. My Garmin – the Forerunner 210 and Premium Soft HRM – were functioning flawlessly during the whole race. The watch battery remains another one bar when I stopped the timer. I was impressed. Even with some thick jungle canopy, it still can track my positioning quite accurately.
Today 21st October, I am back in my clinic typing this report away. I could not bend my left knee properly, so like, I was crawling up the stairs this morning. My movement was also deformed. But it really worth the pain.
Will I do it next year? You bet I will!
So, what have I learned from this climbathon event?
More running on the mountain trail training
Need to bring more energy and electrolyte source during the 6 hours race. I underestimated this section and end up hungry and cramping all the way down the trail.
During the run, all my race kit functions almost flawlessly. From head to toe, these were my equipment that I wear:
Cap – a great cover for my head and sweat absorbent. It really covers my head during the 9 kilometers tarmac section in Kundasang.
New Balance tshirt from the organizer. Luckily not sleeveless.
Garson shorts – a cheap one will do.
SPIBELT – a great addition to my running as it keeps my smartphones, PICNIC chocolate and Energy Go Stick in place.
Garmin Forerunner 210 watch with premium Heart Rate Monitor – the best way to track and log my race.
Galaxy Nexus Smartphone, with MapMyRun apps running – I think the app failed to track my run properly. I didn’t know why. Maybe because I ran trail in dense jungle. The GPS might not be able to track me accurately. It logged 30 kilometers of the track as compared to only 23 kilometers official distance.
Cotton underwear – very comforting.
Knee guard – for my existing injured right knee (ACL tear).
2XU PWX compression thigh – a great way to “tutup aurat” for muslim in a professional looking way, apart from protecting my legs from nature hazard, especially the slippery rock and mud on the trail.
Anti-blister Nike socks – it works really great. I did not have any blister. I was really surprised!
Skechers Go Run 2 shoes – the good thing about this shoes was, its comfortable and did not gave me blisters. The bad news was, this shoes was not meant for trail running. The sole was too soft for the soft and muddy ground, and slippery on rocks. It does not protect your feet properly, as there were no rock-stopper and the very soft upsole fabric for nature hazard. It hurts sometimes when my feet knocked some rocks and protruding tree roots. I think I will get a pair of Salomon for next year’s event.
*You can get almost all the items above from Amazon. Just click on the link and get something for yourself.
You can also check out my data logged with my Garmin Forerunner 210.
Last but not least, thank you for the organizer who has been very professional on organizing this international event for the 27th time! I hope to return to this event next year with better preparation. I will beat my time and my position, 2 hours and 24 minutes, 191th. And I am tough enough!
I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much!
I ran the charity run on 21st of September with my two kids. It’s not even 7 kilometers. From my Garmin Forerunner 210 watch, it logged only around 6.2 kilometers. And we managed to finished it on time.
There were a lot of people running, the press said it was around 20,000 participant. We came early just to beat the traffic, and we also left early, as I don’t think it was necessary for us to wait until night for the lucky draw.
Check out my GPS which I logged with Garmin Forerunner 210!
I just received a message from one of my friend, who is also a good friend with the deceased. What I heard from his story was, the deceased was on expedition on Mount Kinabalu for more than one week. They planned to climb Eastern Plateau (Kotal Route) and Western Plateau (Gurkha Hut) during their expedition. However, the deceased succumbed to acute mountain sickness.
*The risk of death from acute mountain sickness is very minimal if you are climbing the ordinary tourist track of Summit Trail and Mesilau Trail. Anyway, please be careful. The mountain can be very dangerous.
After Coalition Duchenne successfully climb Mount Kinabalu last August, it’s cancer survivor’s turn to scale the highest peak of Borneo.
On 22 & 23 September 2013, 2 cancer survivors & a team of 25 volunteers will scale to the peak of Mount Kinabalu, Sabah.
23 year old Nazri Hamzah survived bone cancer and sadly lost his right leg to cancer when he was about 15. Nazri is active in sports, he represents the Malaysian Wheelchair Basketball Federation. He will brave together with Rozieana Jorun, 26 from Kudat, Sabah who survived leukemia (T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).
This fundraising climb is self-funded by climbers (volunteers). All funds raised will directly benefit poor cancer patients and their families in our country. The campaign aims to raise RM60,000.
MAKNA is the Malaysian National Cancer Council. You can get more information from their official website here: http://www.makna.org.my/
You can donate through one of the volunteer’s campaign page here:
(Please click at the photo)
Or you can also buy a t-shirt to show your support to the drive:
(Please click at the photo)
And thank you for Corezone, the official hiking apparel for Klimb for Kancer survivor.
I have done my part. Now it’s your turn to give hope to those who needed the most!
I have helped thousands of climbers of Mount Kinabalu to book their climbing spot since 2006. If you want me to help you, just fill in the form below and send it to me. Thank you very much!
My first ever official running event after leaving high school in 1994. Borneo International Marathon was successfully held yesterday in Kota Kinabalu, after it was postponed from the actual date on 5th May because of Malaysia’s 13th General Election. It was a very lively event, the organizers were fabulous. They did a very excellent task of handling the event professionally.
As it was my first ever event, there were few issues that I think I would like to mentioned, in which maybe a good information for those who planned to run in next year’s event.
First and foremost, as I am a Muslim, prayer room (surau) is one of the priority. Stadium Likas where the event was held has a prayer room. So it will not be an issue for 10km and half marathon runners, as both events starts after the early morning (subuh) prayer. Only for full marathoners, they may have to have a slight detour from the main road to Kota Kinabalu mosque to pray. As the event starts at 3.00 am in the morning, by the time they reached near the mosque, they can have their prayer.
I came very early, at 4.30 am last Sunday, although my event started at 6.15 am, just to familiarized things around. It’s a good way of not panicking around if you arrive late at the starting line.
Sponsors were also good. Drinks on the water stations, ice cream at the stadium, free flow of MILO were abundant.
The only glitch that I think that could be improved next year was the shuttle bus that feeds the runners back to their hotel. Although the bus picking them up from the hotel was punctual, buses picking the back to the hotels were not that punctual.
The volunteers were also very cheerful, traffic police and cyclist really helps the runners to run in a safer condition.
So, what next for me? I am targeting for full marathon next year. 4th May 2014 Borneo International Marathon. I would like to run the course less than 5 hours.
If you want to know how did I do yesterday, check out my run profile from Garmin Connect. I run with Garmin Forerunner 210, as my Runkeeper app failed on me.
I have been using Linux Mint 14 for my main operating software for my Dell Inspiron 15 since I bought it in February. I am very happy with the performance and ease of use of Linux Mint, as I can do almost all my daily office and clinic work in it. However, when I started to use Garmin Forerunner 210, I had a difficult time connecting both devices together. The need to connect both device is important, as I have to upload all my GPS tracking data for my run in Forerunner 210 to Garmin Connect website.
After working on the issues for few days, I found the best way to connect both devices together without any hassle.
So, if you have similar problem like me, you may want to check out the steps that I took to get things working perfectly.
Things that you may need:
Garmin Forerunner 210 with the data cable connector
Linux Mint 14 (or if you are using Debian/Ubuntu based OS, you may find this steps quite similar)
Firefox web browser
Your own Garmin Connect account. You should have your own account to upload all your activities. If you still do not have the account, please get one here: http://connect.garmin.com/
Garmin plugin from Synaptic package manager
Garmin forerunner tools from Synaptic package manager
The above steps should install garminplugin in your Linux Mint 14. If you are not sure whether it was installed correctly, just open up your Synaptic package manager and search garmin.
At the same time, you also need to install garmin-forerunner-tools from synaptic. Just tick garmin-forerunner-tools and click apply to install it.
Now, you should have both garminplugin and garmin-forerunner-tools in your Linux Mint 14.
Now, open your Firefox web browser. Click Tools>Add-ons, and search Garmin Communicator. It will automatically install Garmin Communicator Extension, a free Internet browser add-on that transfers data between your Garmin GPS device and your computer.
Now close all windows, and plug in your Garmin Forerunner 210 connector cable to your USB port and your device. If you want to know whether your device is read by Linux Mint 14, fire up your Terminal and type:
It will show all your devices that are connected to your Linux Mint 14. You should see that your device is connected properly. A triangular Garmin icon will appear on your desktop if all the steps above are done correctly.
Now fire up your Firefox, and login to your Garmin Connect website. Click Upload, and you will see that your device is detected properly.