Earlier this year we signed up for Merapoh Trail Run 2022 that was supposed to be held on March. Like many other things, Covid said – “how about you delay it to a later date?”, and that’s how we did the trail run in late June, 2022.
In hindsight, the delay was a blessing since I was nursing a knee injury earlier in the year. The additional few months of rehab & strengthening work helped me finished the race without any knee issue.
The race is split into several categories – 25, 50, 100, & 160 km. This being our first trail run event, we naturally chose the 25k, trying to not bite more than what we can chew, which turned out a good idea.
Each event started at a different time slot, ours being around 7 am in the morning on Sunday as it was the last and the shortest, and had a 7 hour cut off time. If you don’t finish by 2pm, no finisher medal and t-shirt for you!
We started by running at a slow and mostly even pace of around 7min/km, with a bit of walking when it gets steeper. The atmosphere was great, with plenty of other runners it sort of gives you an extra kick of adrenaline.
At around 14th km or so the trail became a river, yes, we literally had to walk in the river of around 1 feet deep, with some parts at almost waist depth. That 2.5 km or so river crossing took quite a lot of time and effort, but was also refreshing and cooling. A pretty unique experience for sure, we also took the opportunity to chow down Snicker bar to refuel.
It was more running after the river segment, with some steeper portion and through Orang Asli village as well. The “stamina” level on my Garmin watch basically came to a flat line by the last 2km. This was also when I asked Jean to soldier ahead since she was still feeling strong.
We both ended up finishing below 4 hours, I was placed 84 overall (68th for male open), while Jean did 82 overall (16th for female open.) in the 25km category.
Overall it was a great experience, one lesson learned was that I should have tested the water bag earlier. The size turned out to be just a little bit too big which ended up having it sloshing around my back, resulting in sore shoulders for the next 3 days.
Well, we’ve also signed up for UTOP (Ultimate Trail of Penang) happening this October, a 20km event but one with over 1500m of cumulative elevation gain as opposed to Merapoh’s 300m+. Should be fun!