Kota Kinabalu: Ricardo Mejia pulled off a great come-from-behind victory to retain the men’s crown in the rain-hit Climbathon in Kundasang yesterday.
And the Mexican had more reasons to celebrate as he also walked home with the Buff-Skyrunner World Series FSA title.
The way he won the Climbathon should go down as one of the best ever finishes in the history of the event, officially known as TM 20th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon this year.
Local hopeful Mius Balinting was two minutes ahead of Mejia after passing the Timpohon Gate (4km to the finishing line) but latter was undaunted and stepped up the gear toward the final stretch of the race.
“I know the final stretch is on flat road which is very good for me… my confidence never faded despite trailing him.”
“I managed to overtake him in the final 500m and I never looked back,” said Mejia, who clocked 2:50.52s to beat Mius (2:51.44s) and another local Safrey Sumping (2:53.22).
Mejia, who also won a gold pendant for reaching the summit first, said he lost his lead as a result of his safety first aproach on the decend.
“I dislike running down…it was very slippery and made worse by the rain,” he said.
“I fell four times on the way down but thankfully I could still keep my momentum.”
It is Mejia’s third Climbathon title after winning in 2001 and 2005, and the day also saw him taking the Buff Skyrunner World Series crown by collecting 400 points to edge Spaniard Agusti Roc Amador, who managed 342 points and Italian Dapit Fulvio with 322 points.
The Climbathon is the eighth and the final leg of the Skyrunner Series where the ranking is based on the four best points achieved by the runners in any legs.
“I have two titles today and I’m extremely happy,” said Mejia, who declined to confirm whether he will comeback and defend his crown next year.
Mejia received USD4,500 for his effort in the Climbathon and 3,000 euros for his first place in the Skyrunner Series.
The Climbathon offered a total cash prize of USD33,400 to the top 15 finishers in the men’s and women’s open.
In addition, a gold pendant eas offered to each of the first runners in the men’s and women’s open to reach the summit – the Low’s Peak.
Taken from local newspaper, The Borneo Post, by Lester J. Bingkasan.