Friday, 21 September 2007, Genting Highlands.
Once upon a time, Chief Nutter, Steve, decided it was a good idea to run up to the top of Genting Highlands from Genting Sempah.
That's right, run.
So during the fasting month of 2006, they gathered at the McDonald's at Genting Sempah and began running. And ran they did all the way to the top. Since then, they've decided to make it an annual Ramadhan affair. I missed last year's run, but having heard all the stories from last year, I vowed to experience it this year.
It was quite an experience. A painful one.
The weather was nice and cool as we gathered at McDonald's around 10pm. By the time we got ourselves sorted out, we began actually running around 10:40pm. Almost immediately, we were faced with the daunting McDonald's hill. We ran in total darkness with no streetlights at all. The only source of light was the blinking red lights us runners had attached to our clothes.
Before long, the rest of the group had gone, so fast was their pace. I hadn't run since Desaru and my legs kept reminding me of that. So i took it easy and accompanied Senn.
About 5km from Gohtong Jaya, the road went downwards. As it went down, we were greeted by a beautiful sight, Genting Highlands in all its splendor, brightly lit against a dark sky. I tried taking a picture but it didn't coume out so nice. I only had a camera phone.
At this point, we caught up with Shazly who was accompanying his friend on hid first run. His freind was about to give up and get into the support car. After some gentle persuasion from Senn, he decided to continue. It was, after all, downhill all the way to Gohtong from here.
And because it was downhill, I picked up the pace a little bit. It was a bit of a lonely run, which gave me the incentive topick up the speed even more. By this time, the legs felt better having already run about 8km. Finished the 11km to Gohtong in 1h41m.
This is where the fun starts. Approximately 9km and twice as steep as the roads before. After a brief regroup, we headed out again. I got as far as Awana, about 2km from Gohtong when my legs gave up. So I started walking. Forunately, I had Kam for company, his legs entering the early stages of cramping. When the road wasn't so steep, we ran. When it got a bit steeper, we walked. Then at one point (I think it was at the really steep switchback. It was so steep if you were to put your hands on the road, you'd still be upright), we just stopped running altogether.
After that, it was just a matter of coming around the bend and seeing the top. Problem is there are so many bends and they all look the same. You round one bend hoping to see the end but all you see is another bend ahead. We just kept walking and walking round the corners, occasionally seeing the Tokyo Drift wannabes speeding up the road.
Finally, I saw the 700m to go sign. Bouyed by this, I decided to start running again. So off I went, but it didn't last long. I soon felt the onset of cramps. But i was determined to not finish walking, so i pushed some more, adjusting my stride a bit to avoid cramps. Slowly but surely, the numbers on the road markers dwindled: 0.7km, 0.6km, 0.5km, 0.4km, 0.3km, 0.2km, 0.1km, 0.0km.
I made it!
But i wasn't at the end yet. Our regrouping point was the Starbucks at the lobby of the First World Hotel, another 500m away. Luckily it was all downhill from here so it wasn't so bad. I arrived at Starbucks a little after 3am, almost two and a half hours after leaving Gohtong.
It was quite an expereince. Painful, yes but at the same time, fun. I guess what eases the pain is the people. Doing crazy things with like-minded people, knowing you're not the only one out there suffering helps make it a lot less painful. And these nutters are genuinely good company: Steve, Azmar, Karoline, Puzi, Doc, Kam, Ngae, Lee Nya, Ishsal, Senn, Alex, Shazly and his two friends, Rahim and a few others. If you ever feel the need to do something crazy like this, you gotta make sure these guys are around.
And the nutters will be at it again this Friday, if you're interested.