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BDB Climb & Run Langkawi 2016: Route Review

THANX to the folks behind BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016, I had the opportunity to test the route over the weekend. A very different race of its own with 4,287 steps to climb and ending with a 15km run down the highest peak on Langkawi Island.

While I recorded 20.4km, let me explain that this was 3.3km which I started my Fenix 3 from the gate of Hutan Lipur Lubuk Semilang and recorded 17.1km for the run as I ran up from the top of the steps to the Viewing Tower at Gunung Raya before running down. 20.4km...and I wonder if the race organiser will change the route a little from the original 3km steps and 15km run? It will be extra fun to have a half marathon of a different kind.

The Climb:
We flagged off at 8am. The steps were still nice and cool. However, walking up the steps and running where certain stretches permit is hot work. I was perspiring quite a bit even at the first 1,000 steps. The route is amazing, passing through amazing greeneries, fauna and flora. And if you are lucky, you might just see the great hornbills fly pass. I heard one fly by with loud wing flaps but didn't manage to spot it. Had some monkeys playing in the bushes somewhere after Check Point B of 2,000 steps. The steps are generally easy to handle with some areas with railings and some even in the absence of railing is pretty much a  walk in the park. The air is fresh, crisp and it gets brighter as we go higher.

The fun also gets better when we reach 3,500 steps. One will be grateful for the railings as the steps get steeper and sometimes a tad higher. Still if you free your hands (wear a hydration belt or stuff your bottle into your shirts or tights or carry a backpack), then you can use both hand to hold on to the railings for support. The climb is a climb, you sweat quite a bit and I recommend that you carry at least 500ml of water with you. The view at the top is magnificent, so keep climbing...take your time. Most folks can do it under 2 hours 15 minutes with stops for pics etc.
3.1km, 2 hours 15 minutes, 4,287 steps. Let the fun begin!
1,000 steps and I was quite sweaty now. Had 2 sips of water thus far.
Watch your steps. Lil soldiers crossing.
No big obstacles except for this one tree trunk.  Photo credit: Marlina
Steps where you can try to run a little to refresh the legs. No railing here but safe enough to run.
Steps down? Yes! A few of steps down...nice refreshing breather from the up, up, up but it is only for a couple of short stretches. 
These downhill stretches are great to play catch up and run a little! Try running because your legs will thank you for it.
As you climb higher, you can see more skies. Take a breather, have a drink and look up. Then continue. Do not stay too long not moving or else the lactic acid builds up and you will hate the feeling!
Pretty mushrooms that I could not resist snapping a few pictures. I didn't want to waste too much time as I aimed to complete the steps within 90 minutes.
The real fun starts around here. The steps gets steeper. Do not stop. You are getting closer to the peak. Just keep climbing. Keep your hands free. Use the railings to support you. 
20 more steps to go...say hello to the camera man. I stuffed my bottle into the back of my racer tee so that my hands were free to use the railings or for balance.
4,287 steps, 3.32km and 1:19:03 later, this is my view. Breathe in deep Evelyn! 

The Run:
The run part for BDB Climb & Run Langkawi 2016 is 15km. However, a few of us decided to run a little more for a better view of Langkawi. What's the fun of visiting the highest peak of Langkawi when you don't make your way all the way to the top? So it was a short run up which I loved because it did wake the legs up after all the steps. The view of course was fabulous. Since there was a hotel there, I thought I borrow the toilet instead of using a portaloo or visit the bushes! Pics taken and I was ready to run back to the gate of Hutan Lipur Lubuk Semilang. 

I clocked 17.1km. A lovely 14km of downhill which was mostly shady and cool except for a few stretches of sunny bits but the air was nice and cool. The view was of course just as good, some friendly cows and barely any traffic. Passing vehicles and a few tourists on their scooters urged me on. Took a half can of 100plus to top up my hand held 500ml water bottle. By now, it was not possible to stuff my bottle into my racer tee because it would fall out and roll down the road. After 3 sessions of running after my bottle that felt I was running too slowly, I decided to hold it in my hand, changing hands every 1km.

It all was fine until I reached the main road. I realised that i have forgotten the elevation and map. It was a rather flat route now with some rolling molehills. Of course by now, it was turning hot. How could I forget that the weather does get pretty hot in Langkawi. Anyway, there's no point in complaining. That's the fun part of running...you take whatever that comes your way. One is better off running or walking than standing still complaining. You are one step closer to the finish line when you move! THANX Mohan Marathon for that tip that saw me through my first 16km run in 2014. It was hot so I ended up doing a run walk for the last 3km @ 9 minutes per km. I still wanted to finish the run never mind the boys were probably at the finish line having their drinks and wondering when this slowbie would reach them so they could return to the hotel. I also wanted to conserve my legs as I be running at least 55km in 5 days time to raise funds for Laprak (a post on this coming up soon).
Met these 2 cows twice. Once on my way up to the hotel / observation deck. Met them again somewhere in the later part of the run. Darn..these grazing cows are fast!
No wonder the boys insisted of that run up to the Observation Deck.
Another view of the island from Gunung Raya.
Downhill. I don't quite fancy running downhill but that is where the fun is, facing challenges. So no arguments. No buts. Just let the legs runnnnnnnnnnnn!
Awesome reminders of 10% gradient. At this point, I am glad it was a downhill run not uphill! 
Bottle in my hand, saying cheese for the camera and another step closer to the finish line. It gets seriously hot at 37°C. A little breeze from passing vehicles helps. Am glad for a bottle of very cold water from our support vehicle and loads of cheering from passing traffic. 
17.1km and 1:51:39 later, I cross the finish line. Yes you still smile for the camera no matter how hot the sun is shining on your back. THANX folks for waiting for me!
Photo credit: Marlina

There is no cut off time for BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016 but I am glad that I completed the 4,287 steps and 17.1km run in 3:10:42. And definitely if I kept to the route of 15km (from the top of the steps back to the start line, I would have have happily completed it under 3 hours. This has been one very different challenge for me. Totally refreshing and exciting. That being said, this is a route preview so I am now looking forward to returning on Saturday 4th June 2016 for the official BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016!
How could I have forgotten the rolling fun in the last 3km? Reminder to self to study materials given by race organisers in future!

The BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016 is part of a 3 part race BDB Triple Challenge 2016. Definitely one of the most affordable @ RM200 for 3 races! You can also register for the races individually.
BDB Triple Challenge 2016
• Langkawi Climb & Run (ANY waves)
• Extreme Jitra (ANY waves)
• Marathon Jitra (must select 42KM categories ONLY)
Register for all 3 events at only RM200.00
BDB Climb and Run Langkawi 2016
BDB Jitra Extreme Challenge

Excited? Well, do also check out my fellow running bloggers who completed the same route as I did. 
Jerome Martinent
Razif Yahya
Photo credit: Marlina
Razis Rahim
Photo credit: Marlina
Shen
SamMccoma
Photo credit: Marlina

There doesn't seem to be a need for any shoe change for this shoe. My shoe choice was Ultra BOOST ST that offers arch support for flat footers like me. A hydration belt or vest will keep your hands free during the staircase part. A straight forward no fancy gears required race.

For more information on this race that works your hamstrings, quads and ankles all in one race, head on to the following links for more information:

THANX for reading. Full set of pictures are in BDB Climb & Run Langkawi 2016. Do also head on to the following channels for more updates!

innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

innisfree’s first pop-up store made its way to Pavilion KL. And of course the feature product is the brand's top selling (my favourite product too) Green Tea Seed Serum. This pop-up store will run from the 18th to 24th April 2016 with lots of activities and freebies for everyone.


Run A Mile In My Shoes - Marie Claire, April 2016


Absolutely delighted to be featured in the April 2016 issue of Marie Claire Malaysia with fellow runners Adele, Johanna, Wen Li and Run Lorna. 'Run A Mile In My Shoes' stories a little of our runs and what gets us girls going and running more. THANX Marie Claire for the feature! It is also a nice birthday gift for me:D