30th Mount Kinabalu Climbathon Malaysia’s toughest mountain race to pit 129 challengers

KOTA KINABALU: Dubbed Malaysia’s toughest mountain race, the 30th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, will see 129 runners vying for honours in Kundasang on Oct 15.

The up and down the 4,095m mountain race will pit top international runners from 18 countries and local favourites for the total purse of RM36,000 in the elite men and women categories.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said defending champions, local mountain guide Safrey Sumping and Sandi Menchi Catlona from the Philippines will be in the starting line up for the 26km race.

Runners from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, France and Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, South Africa and United States have also signed up for the race.

Pang said a contingency plan has been mapped out, taking note of the bad weather last year which did not permit runners to reach the summit for safety reasons.

“Apart from having several water stations and aid stations along the route, there will be two turning points for the runners which are Panarlaban and Aki View Point as a contingency plan in case of unpredictable weather,” he explained.

Climbathon returned last year after taking a hiatus in 2015 due to the Ranau earthquake earlier that year, where modifications were made to the route and a smaller number were allowed to run compared to the past races which reached up to 400 participants.

Flagging off at Kinabalu Park, runners will make their way to the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095 metre) before turning back to the park to cross the finish line, covering a total distance of 26 kilometres.

The climbathon first started in 1987 where its origins can be traced to the Sabah Parks intention of creating a rapid rescue squad made up of a team of rangers who can bring down injured climbers fast from the peak or along the summit trail.

Source: New Straits Times