30 April 2016, Arrived KK from labuan after 4pm, had about an hour sleep in the ferry. Arriving at the port, greeted by my wife at jesselton, we walked together to Suria Sabah to pick up my race pack.
Met a few Bruneians at Suria Sabah, had dinner, bought snacks and my isotonic drink for the marathon the next day. Drove back to the hotel by 7pm. Prepped a bit for the run. Had my KFC takeaway, took a bath and tried to go to sleep. I think I slept after 8pm but woke up before 12am. Prepared myself, drank my 1L water, ate my small breakfast. And spent some time in the toilet. 😜
Drove from hotel after 1 am, Arrived at Likas stadium before 2am, looked for the toilet first. Then met a few runners from Brunei. I even asked some of them their expected pace, I targeted to pace a few who those targeting 5 or 6 hours.
I was surprised to meet an old acquaintance from KL who picked up running a few years ago. Thanks for the banana. 🍌
And it was cool to see other personalities in the run.
3am almost came, I felt like going to the toilet again, but cancelled when I saw the line.
Originally planning to start together with a few Bruneians, but lost them in the crowd. 3 am came and we started off.
Stumbled upon Mike who was plannimg to go a 7min/km pace. I tagged a long, along with Shahrun. We ran together for the first 15km, we wemt through a few small hills, but at one water station, Mike needed to get some muscle spray, so I took the chance to drop by the portable potty. Previously I noticed a few runners dropped to the side to their business. Finishing my business I decided that I would like to go on my own pace. So I broke off.
I started to overtake a few people. The day stayed to show. The sun started to rise. As I was going through University Malaysia Sabah’s hilly terrain, I passed the half way point, I was able to see the runners I passed. As well a Mike and Shahrun . Exiting the area, the fast 21km runners were overtaking me, and started to see the rest of the 21km runners. At one point saw and greeted another barefoot runner on the other side among them.
Seeing 1borneo I was hopeful that the end was near. It turned out the u-turn was still far off. My water reserves was low, and I stopped by the waterpoint to reload my bag with isotonic and some ice. On the way met another barefoot runner. He was already limping, my guess he either pushed too fast too hard too soon, or he never trained this distance barefoot, or simply got seriously injured along the way. Reaching the u-turn, I saw that it was 12km left at that point. I was elated to realize that it was only 1/4 left. Hopeful that I could finish the rest of the run under 2 hours. Met the other barefooted runner again and gave him a bit of encouragement. On the way back saw other people started to take off their shoes to continue, my guess the shoes started to hurt. Gave them a few tips to last the distance. E.g. Running on the white line. Even motivated a 21km runner to run with her shoes in hand, we ran together for a kilometer or so, till I left her behind.
I was glad to go through checkpoints that had the firebrigade bathing us in cool water. I took a few significant seconds to wet and cool myself. I actually felt refreshed enough to run fast for a few kilometers. There was apparently a spongebath but they were out of water, I took some sponges any way and was able to wet it during those watersprays and kept those sponges on my shoulder to keep cool. Those last few kilometres left, I was slightly demotivated as I saw 21km runners walking, tempted to join the walk, I pushed along, reminding myself I have been doing a relaxed run, following the feel, and I havent pushed myself much. But my hamstrings started to cramp, and my reserves was out. But as soon as we entered the stadium, and I felt the soft running track under my feet, I actually felt like running faster, and I did, for those last few metres. 😝
I stopped my GPS to find my finishing time to be 5:39, (later I found official time was 5:37). I was astonished my self. Here I was expecting more than 6 hours, but I did it under that time. Some of my friends was amazed as well, not just because I did a sub 6 hour marathon, nor was it barefoot, but I did it after finishing a 5km openwater swim the day before. I was amazed myself, and I was proud. 😃
Next up? Another faster marathon? Or more cycling to be able to do an ironman. I think a faster marathon is sooner, the next ironman I am targeting is the Langkawi ironman in November. But my challenge is not just the physical training, but also the financial challenges. Let’s see what I can do till then.