Beautiful Borneo

Posted on September 16, 2012


The last time I was on Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo was when I was 11.  I won’t tell you how long ago that was but long enough! Scaling South Asia’s highest peak at 13,435 ft / 4,095m was a grand adventure embarked on with my dad whilst my mum and little sister, Alex, chilled by the pool at a nearby resort.

This time … this weekend in fact … I returned to run instead of walk to compete in the Sabah Ultra, an event aptly named The Most Beautiful Thing (TMBT). The race was yesterday.

My expectations were low … after such a trying week, I had slept little and had thought about the race even less. On the eve of the race and continuing until the early hours, the heavens opened like only Asian rains know how and the winds were ferocious.  Combine these with the tin roof of our hotel hut and it sounded like our little abode would be trashed by sunrise.

But by morning, the rains had all but gone. I got up, readied myself, read my affirmations and gathered with the others to wander the kilometre or so to the race start. The route was stunning … think quaint villages and fields, rice paddies and cabbage crops, rivers and streams, bridges and ridges, red dirt tracks and lush green jungle. The weather remained windy but the sun was shining and the temperature, a very civilised 30c or so. The course markings were great … I only got lost once and the ribbons in the trees, unlike in Nepal, remained on the trees.  In Nepal, you can lose sight of the ribbons for ages, until of course, a pile of little girls pass you on their way to school, wearing them in their hair … annoying at the time but enormously sweet in hindsight!

I ran in silence, whilst sorting out the s*** going on in my life right now then blasted my way with some cheesy tunes.  When I had a tough hour, I had Trail Runner Nation at the ready with my all time best podcast interviews ready to be my friend! As is always the case with trail run events, within hours of arriving, new friendships were forged and bonds built over chat about past runs, current plans and future hopes.  I hope to run with some fellow runners in a couple of weeks around Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir.

I finished the race to a musical serenade from local girls in custom dress. Second female and sixth overall. The best part of course was my sis Alex being there with open arms. We spent the rest of the day lying in bed, laughing about nonsense and eating treats. Bliss.

Next stop Singapore for a whistle-stop catch up with my big sister before flying to sunny Sydney. The hard work is done and I can relax for a week or so before fun and adventure on the trails with all-time-top-chick and my dear friend Rachel in the Blue Mountains … time to talk strategy for the OTW100 in Hong Kong this November.

But back for a moment to yesterdays race … this should definitely be one for the bucket list.  Sabah is gorgeous and if you can combine the run with a trip to the summit of South East Asia, then surely that’s time well spent!

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