Deemed as “the World’s Toughest Mountain Race”, the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon is the ultimate challenge to take for those game enough to test their endurance by running up and down Mount Kinabalu for a total distance of 21 kilometers.
The first climbathon was inaugurated in 1987 when Sabah Parks decided to scout for people to be in the rapid rescue squad, who are a team of rangers who are able to bring down injured climbers in minimal time—especially during times of bad weather or when helicopters are not available.
The participation for the climbathon was restricted to Malaysians only, until a year later when it was then opened for international participation. Starting 1995, the Sabah Tourism Board took over to organize this annual event.
The Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon is now very popular among the European mountain runners. They form the majority members in the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), whose patron is the International Amateur Athletic Federations (IAAF).
Sabah Tourism Board and its wholly-owned subsidiary - Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd as the organizer for the Mt.Kinabalu International Climbathon; through the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU), initiated to have Malaysia as the member country in the World Mountain Running Association. Malaysia is the first Asian member country to be in the WMRA. Climbathon received a major boost when Malaysia won its bid to host the World Mountain Running Trophy in 1999 at Kinabalu Park—which is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site.
The 15th World Mountain Running Trophy 1999 was held on the 19th September 1999 and involved running along a 12 kilometer route around Kinabalu Park (The Climbathon is running up and down Mt.Kinabalu itself). It had 367 participants and officials from approximately 33 countries taking part in it. The 13th Mt.Kinabalu International Climbathon was held one week later where a total of 116 international participants and 97 local athletes took part.
The 19th Climbathon (2005); which was endorsed as one of the 7 official races of the Federation of Sport at Altitude for the Skyrunning World Championship Circuit (racing on high altitude), brought in a total of 247 participations (men category: 126, women category: 51, and veteran men: 70) for the ultimate endurance test.
Mt Kinabalu climbathon sees record number of foreign participants
KOTA KINABALU: This year's 23rd Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon will record the highest number of foreign participation in the event's history, with 35 countries taking part compared to 21 last year.
Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Ellron Angin said that so far they have registered 493 participants for the event this weekend at Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, but they expect the number to increase.
Of the number, 172 people are foreign participants, he said at the press conference here today.
"We are still open for last-minute additions," he said, adding that Malaysia, as usual, recorded the highest number of participants at 321, with Sabah contributing 240 of the total.
The race is set to be an interesting an exciting event as the world's top mountain runners compete in the climbathon, which is also the final and determining race for the 2009 Sky Runners World Series.
The race in Sabah is the only official race of the series this year held outside Europe, with the six other races held in Costa Rica, Spain, Andorra, Italy, Nagano and the United Kingdom.
For this climbathon, runners will participate in three categories -- Men's Open, Women's Open and Men's Veteran.
The race, covering a distance of 21 kilometres, will start at 7am on Saturday for both the Women's Open and Men's Veteran categories, while the Men's Open category will commence at the same time on Sunday at Timpohon Gate, Kinabalu Park, with the winners expected to arrive at the finishing line within three hours.
The record in the Men's category remains unbroken since 2003. It was set by Marco De Gasperi of Italy, at two hours, 36 minutes and 59 seconds, while the Women's category record is held by Anna Pichrtova of the Czech Republic at three hours, six minutes and 54 seconds, set in the 2004 event.
As for the Men's Veterans category, the record is currently held by Malaysian Rodimin Sodundu at three hours seven minutes and 22 seconds, set back in 2004.
The climbathon offers winners cash prizes totalling RM112,975 along with a gold pendant for the participants who first reach the summit in the Men's and Women's categories, and a finisher's medal and a certificate of participation for all participants. - BERNAMA
Published on: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Kota Kinabalu: The stage is set for the 23rd Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon where some 493 runners from 35 countries will vie for honours.
The event, which is dubbed as the 'World's Toughest Mountain Race', will be held at the Kinabalu Park in Kundasang, this weekend (Oct 24 and 25).
It will be an interesting and exciting affair, as it is the final and determining race of the FSA 2009 Sky Runners¨ World Series Circuit.
The Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon is one of only seven races in the series circuit and is the only official race in 2009 calendar being held outside Europe.
The other six races were held in Costa Rica (Irazu Sky Race in Rancho Redondo - April 18), Spain (Maraton Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri in Basque Country - May 24), Andorra (Valnord Skyrace in La Massana - June 28), Italy (Girr Di Mont SkyMarathon in Premana, Lecco - July 26), USA (Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado - August 16) and UK (Ben Nevis Race in Fort William, Scotland - September 5).
When announcing the number of participants in this year's race, Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister, Datuk Ellron Angin said that this year would see more countries taking part compared to the previous year.
"We are pleased to announce that there are 172 foreign participants from 34 countries competing in this year's race, which is more than the number of international participating countries of 21 last year," he said. Ellron told reporters this at a press conference here, Tuesday.
The number one contender in this race will be none other than last year's champion, Spaniard, Agusti Roc. He will lead the main event in the Men's Open where he is expected to meet stiff competition from fellow compatriot Kilian Jornet Burganda.
Other athletes who will be giving Roc a run for his money is last year's second place winner and winner of this year's Mt Fuji Race, Toru Miyahara from Japan.
Also from Japan and among the top contenders for the race is Yokoyama Tadao, while Italians Fulvio Dapit, Paolo Larger and Jokin Lizeaga and local favourites Safery Sumping and Mius Balinting are also expected to be hot on Roc's heels for the title.
Winner of the Women's Open in the 62nd Mount Fuji Race and second in the Climbathon last year was Kambara Yuri.
She will be participating in the race for the third time this year and being more familiar with the conditions and routes, she will certainly be harbouring high hopes to win the title.
However, trying to throw her off will be Emanuela Brizio from Italy and Stephanie Jimenez from France, who are both currently in first and second placing respectively in the World Series.
Newcomers, Mirela Miro of Spain and Tania Pacheo of Venezuela (currently in third and 9th placing) are also expected to provide stiff competition during the race.
Representing Malaysia with the aim to give international contestants some intense rivalry is Sabah's top female runner, Danny Kuilin, who finished second in last year's race.
The race will start at 7am on Oct 24 (Saturday) for both the Women's Open and Veteran Men's Category, whilst the Men's Open Category will commence at the same time the following day at the Timpohon Gate.
Winners are expected to arrive at the finish line within three hours.
Covering a distance of 21km, the record for the Men's category, 2:36.59s, remains unbroken since Marco De Gasperi set it in 2003.
The Italian unfortunately will not be competing in this year's race, said the Climbathon's Organising Secretary, Zachary Mobijon.
The Women's category record is held by Anna Pichrtova from Czech who clocked an impressive 3:06.54s, which remains unbeaten sine 2004.
The record for the Men's Veteran category, on the other hand, is currently being held by Malaysia's Rodimin bin Sodundu who finished the race in 3:07.22s in 2004.
The Climbathon offers winners a total cash prize of US$33,400. There is also a special gold pendant prize for the first person that reaches the summit in the Men's and Women's categories, while all participants will receive a finisher's medal and certificate.
From the 493 participants taking part in this year's Climbathon, 321 are Malaysians, while 240 are from Sabah alone.
The Philippines, Great Britain, Singapore and USA top other countries with the most participants with 44, 29, 25 and 12 runners respectively.
Japan have 9 runners competing, followed by Spain, 7, Australia (6), Italy (5), Kenya (4) and France and Sweden (3).
Other countries who each have two runners competing are Brunei, Canada, Germany, Indonesia and New Zealand, while Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Columbia, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Korea, Myanmar, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and Venezuela each have one runner taking part.
A total of 218 athletes will compete in the Men's open, 92 in the Women's open and 183 in the Men's Veteran category.
Meanwhile, Sri Pelancongan Sabah (the organisers), in collaboration with the Ranau District Office, will be hosting the Pesta Kubis and Pesta Durian to make the whole event merrier.
Participants of the Climbathon and visitors can participate in the myriad of activities that will be held throughout their stay in Ranau.
Among the highlights of the Pesta Kubis is a cooking demonstration by Malaysian celebrity chef, Chef Wan, which will be held on Oct 24 in Kundasang Town.
There will also be a Bamboo Orchestra concert, cultural dance performances, the Best farmer of the Year Award presentation and cabbage exhibitions.
The Pesta Durian on the other hand, would give visitors the chance to indulge in a durian fest and purchase different grades of the notorious King of Fruits. There will also be exhibitions including the biggest durian display all on Oct 24, while a durian-eating contest will be held on Oct 25.
For the public's convenience, the organisers are providing complimentary shuttle services to both the Pesta Kubis and Pesta Durian from Kinabalu Park to Kundasang and Ranau Town to Kundasang.
For more information, contact Zachary Mobijon at 088-232121 or 013-8504007 or email to email@example.com.