Some Hash story My history with the Hashers rewinds 5 years back. It was a road race. My 1st half marathon, to be exact. 🙂 The race was organized by the Kuantan Hash House Harrier. I did not then the significance of setting/not setting/training for a targeted time. I just wanted to run ! I came in 4th (as there were not many lady runners) with the time of 2hrs and 17mins. The most vivid memory I had was climbing the hills near Bay Route and Indera Mahkota on a wet Sunday morning. Loved the rain !!
Hash Challenge 2010 | Concept
- The Hash Challenge is a team event of 4 hashers running together. Each team must include at least 1 member of the opposite sex. (say 3 M/1F or 3F/1M or 2M/2F)
- Teams must follow a hash paper trail with checks (= no paper marks for 100 m) which every team has to break on its own.
- There are 6 to 8 control points (CP). Distance between control points is approximately 5 to 8 km. At the control points, the organizers will provide water, salts, some fruits and first aid. Every team must sign in/out complete at the CP.
- AS THIS IS A TEAM EVENT EACH TEAM MEMBER CAN ARRIVE AT EACH CHECK POINT INDIVIDUALLY BUT TEAMS MUST SIGN OUT AS A COMPLETE TEAM AND CAN ONLY LEAVE EACH CHECK POINT TOGETHER AS A TEAM.
- There will be a time frame for closing each CP and thus, for everyone’s safety, runners may be not be allowed to start the next section if they are too late or incapacitated.
- The goal is that the team should remain together, hit all the control points within the given time frame and return to the OnOn site as a team.
- The event is limited to 40 teams maximum: First come, first paid, first served! The event is open to hashers and non hashers.
Gotta know about the event from Denis 5 months ago (thanks Denis!). Dave was suppose to be in the team but pulled out. It took me around a week or so to decide whether to take part as my fitness level at that point of time was sub zero. But figuring out that I’ve sufficient time to shape up and prepare for the race I gave a green light to myself. And the fact that it will be an off-road thingy (as in 42km ++ off road), it sounds more interesting than a normal road race. Final line up for the team : Denis, myself, Azmar and AJ. Team name : “Die Stärksten”. Die (pronounced de) Starksten means The Strongest. Its the same name I used2 years ago at the Perhentian Island Challenge when I teamed with Badrol (Navy) for my 1st adventure race. Training There was no structured training plan for this event. Plus in my head this won’t be that conventional marathon event that people normally do take part. I obviously can’t train for this event like how I would prep for a road marathon. Kicked off with mostly short bike spin at Putrajaya. Short 20ks with Upiq, Dug, Fadil and Kabi. Thanks guys ! I stuck to this routine for the the few rides: 15 mins spin to warm up the legs, followed by a short stretch session by the road side, and continue with the main set consisting of 30-35mins spin, low gear,high cadence. The idea was There were a lot of trail runs, mostly on weekends, and some on weekdays, some road running, gym and strength workout for my failing core, legs, biceps and triceps. Had to start from scratch basically. And I don’t believe in pushing myself too hard to early. In fact, if there are more benefits for me in the long run by not pushing, I won’t push. ”Gradual’ is the key word here basically. At most (that I’ve recorded) my weekly mileage was 40km, nothing more. (and hey guess what, Ivé never recorded my weekly mileage before this ! hihih..). But for such a race, I can’t play the fool as I will be part of a team. For Ironman, I did keep a training log though. Anyways, some pics from training :
Drifit cap, cycling jersey (with normal tshirt the camel bak strap/shoulder harness can rub on my neck. Vaseline won’t help much. Learned this during training), running tights, 2 pair of socks. 1 goes in the Camelbak), trail shoe, watch, Camelbak
Powergel, Powerbar, Endurance drink, endurance powder for refill, salt tablet, snack bars, dates
Band aids, anti-blister gel plaster, insect repellent, phone (yup also an aid lah), Ziplok bag,
The team have planned and agreed that each member will take turn to lead. The shift will occur every 20 minutes. During the training session at Batu Dam, we tried 30 minutes shift but for the sake of the team’s general sustainability for the hash run, we slashed it by 10 minutes. The slowest will set the pace, and the team’s pace would not be too fast (or even near fast) as we do not know what’s the course profile is like. It’s not like Powerman or the regular tris which I take part in, where the course has been set and made known to the participants before the race. Another strategy is to stick together and run as a team throughout the course. In my mind, during the discussion with the team, I have to switch to a team (mode).The last time i raced as a team was in 2008 at the Perhentian Island Challenge. This is and would not be an individual race and each member is responsible in supporting each other physically and mentally (and emotionally too).
We also agreed as a team that there would not be any high expectation for this course(in running or finishing it) as it would be our first time in taking part in such event. The plan was to take it easy, slow and steady and if there is any need to pick up the pace, it will only happen during the last five to six kilometers. Frankly speaking, I did not know THEN that the training trail runs which I did with my team mates were nothing (LITERALLY NOTHING) compared to what the team will face on D-Day =).
We started at Kg. Sg. Pusu around 120 of us (4 pax per team). Met up with Stupe and his teammates. McNeez was one of them. It was a different experience for me and also my teammates I guess as most of the faces we saw that morning were unfamiliar, and I agree with Stupe, as mentioned in his blog, that is nice and a relieve to at least see a few familiar faces. My team is kind of unique because all of us did Ironman 2009, skipped Ironman 2010 and here we were doing the Hash Marathon.
WS stands for water station. The first water station was located at the 16km mark as described by the organizer, the course will be beautiful and long. This was the section 1 of the course. Overall, there were five stations.
The terrain was a mixed of some flat open trail (especially at the very beginning of the course), a few river crossing, gentle climbs and descents, at the back of my head I kind of knew that the first 16km was only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed it was.
We stuck together as a team, manage a decent pace, and overtaking quite a few teams. I was extra cautious not to push to hard especially on the climbs and on the descent as my ITB and knee are not strong (yet). I alerted the team roughly every twenty minutes for the planned lead rotation while Denis alerted us from time to time to drink. I don’t remember exactly how long it took for us to reach the WS 1 but it was a cry of relief when we finally arrived.
WS2 and WS3
We were lucky enough to get a flat trail at this part. Freshly cut and cleared path, passing through bamboo groves FULL of ants, black ants. Every other second I’ll be smacking my shirt, my hand, my neck.. my Camelbak. endless armies of em !!! Thorns !! They’re everywhere.. I was lucky enough to get only a few scratches. The team had to alert each other in case we came across any thorns.. on the ground, on the trees, on our head !! I don’t recall how many ours it took us to cover these two sections. Distance total to WS2 is 8km and WS3 was 7km. Terrain : steep uphills and downhills. Obstacles; endless.
The team had a choice of maintaining the slow and steady pace. So we did just that. We came to the race with an agreement that we won’t be chasing anything ; cutoff, rank, etc., though we did sort of put a target of 8-9hrs, based on the training session we did as a group.But as reality sets in, the targeted 8-9hrs seemed impossible . This is not your regular FRIM, Batu Dam, Kiara, Nuang or even Bukit Gasing trail course. In fact, the trails were merely path to connect the participants to the main obstacles path, which is the freshly cut trails, through the primary jungles of KL, frm Kg Sg Pusu Gombak, all the way to Hulu Langat !! And frankly speaking, it didn’t feel like KL at all. Or at least the jungles of KL.
AJ did slow down due to sports nutrition indigestion, and had to slow down. We stopped around 5mins to let him (and the rest !) to recover. It did help him a bit. I noticed Denis too was slowing down and kept at the back of the file. But we kept on with our leader rotation. En route to WS3 Denis suddenly sped up. I was like, what are you doing..? Apparently he thought we had only a few minutes left to meet the cut off for that check point.. Only to find him bonking and overheated when we reached WS3. A team is only considered passed a checkpoint as a team/all team members have passed the checkpoint. I did not dare to push the pace, what more to sprint coz I do not know what awaits us after WS3 ! and even if i did, i guess its best to reserve some energy needed for that final push. that was what we agreed at the 1st place anyways. strategy baby !! We reached WS3 15 mins before cut off which was cool. I nearly thought we wouldn’t make it. but its ok. the day was getting hotter !!!
Anyways, At WS3 the organizer told us that we don’t have much time left to reach WS4. We had to start moving. WS4 is 6km away. Not road 6km away, but 6 hills km away..yeap !! That was what were told, and what we were to expect !!!
It was our slowest and toughest (both mentally and physically). Steeper climbs, like non stop climb for hundreds of meter. And then continuous descend. The ultra steep terrain, rolling hills did not deter my confidence or the team’s. We kept going slowly until we finally reached WS4 located at the water treatment area in Bukit Belacan. Now, this place sounds familiar.. I used to come here when I was a kid !!!! lol.. We had to report in. Crossed the river, and straight to meet the organizer. Team Die Starksten has finally arrived. We were not allowed to proceed as we’ve passed the cut off time which has been extended by half an hour ! And even if they did allow us to the checkpoint, i dont think the team would have proceeded. We had more than enough fun already !!
I was just hungry that i didn’t take a dip in the river. Helped myself and also offered the team members some food to eat. Watermelon, banana !! Just relieved that we made it this far. 40km in. For first timers, my team did great ! Azmar, AJ and I still had energy and we walked with the rest of the runners to the bus parked 2km down the road from WS4. Denis hitched a hike in a passing organizer’s 4WD.
The rest of us stopped by a stall on our way to the bus. Keropok lekor, chilled can Milo !!!! The bus took us back to the finish line where all the participants gathered. Only 5 out of 30 teams made it to the finish line as a complete team.
Took it easy, washed, changed, lepak and chit chat with the team, caught up with Stupe and his team mates. Stupe’s team manage to cover 23km . Spoke to some of the regular hashers, and they do admit that this is one of the toughest course they’ve been through ! Personally congratulated the finishers !!! It wasn’t an easy course at all ! We were lucky just to get flat n clear trails coz that’s the only part we could run. Other than that were only walk, through the endless obstacles.
Surprisingly, I was still able to walk and run after the race ! yeay ! in fact, I was surprised when I actually ran towards the bus waiting to take us to the finish line. Other than that, some scratches. 1 leech bite (no big deal compared to 7 leech bites from previous week). Tight/sore muscles/ankle joint ; normal lah for post race. A lot learned on off road endurance racing, racing as a team, executing a strategy and using psychology to up one’s motivation ! 😛
Notes to be taken when racing as a team
Stick to a strategy. If there are any need to change it, discuss first. Decisions made as a team. Flexible.. if there’s a need to slow down, do it. if there’are no reasons not to pace up, just go ahead and pace up, as a team. put ‘self’ at home, and race as a team. hey, practise makes perfect and I was lucky to have such a wonderful team who cooperated well and supported each other ! Looking forward for the next installment.
KUDOS to the Organizers !
Definitely a must repeat. A big congratulations to all participants and THANK YOU to the organizing team !!!! You guys rock . My team was utterly and supremely amazed by the amount of effort and commitment put in to ensure the success . Congratulations !
-people may believe what you say but they believe what you do-
My friend Denis Oakley will be doing the Everest Marathon. He leaves on Saturday.
All the best Denis ! Race safe !!
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