So, I am actually reflecting back on the races that I had done this year. I stopped going for local races for some time, unless it is like the One North Run which I had taken part earlier in the month of November. Reason being: Its too expensive to run in Singapore these days, it is too crowded for most races, I never seem to get my PB here! Well the last reason should not be that a valid one as there are people who got their PB here in Singapore where its hot humid and roads are winding and sloppy.
The subsequent blogs will be about some of the more memorable races I did this year overseas, rest of the races which to me is not that notable can still be found in my own blog.
The trail run is divided to 21km, 42km, 70km and the ultra of 100km distances. For the Full marathon, it took place on 21 May 2017. Set in Ijen Mountain ( which is a volcano crater) . The crater is the widest in Java with the size of 20km. Ijen area has been a hot tourist spot for hikers and nature lovers. The famous Blue Fire which is formed by the natural gas of the crater, can be viewed during the night, it is also one of the main draw for tourists.
The trail itself is not that difficult for a 42 km , but for the 70km-100km you will need to climb up to the crater itself and the course can be tough and really hot during the day. The smoke coming out from the crater can prove to be challenging too as it is sulphur based gas. But the smoke is thicker during the early hours of dawn, so if you can make it before or after that, it is not too bad.
Weather: The weather is rather chilly there as compared to the lower grounds in Bondowoso. Being a mountainous region, the air is cooler, so make sure you bring some warm clothing especially if you are intolerant of the cold like me. At night it is almost like temperate countries in autumn. The temperature ranged from 10-20 degrees celsius from morning to night. If it does not rain it can get really chilly.
Accommodation: The choices are limited, the locals usually book their local homestay rental where the whole house is rented out like a chalet and they provide the meals and hot water shower. Else it will be just two hotels , the Catimore Homestay and the Arabica Homestay. Do note that Arabica has not hot water supply so you must brave the chill. Catimore is further from the start line and it is older, but the new wings have some rooms which are clean and functional. Back of the Catimore is also a free hot spring which is alfresco for you to soak your feet. This is the perks for staying here, but you need to make your own arrangements to get to start line and back.
Transportation: This is the tricky one. The organiser provides such service but it is really not that remarkable because the timing is stretched and we had to wait for all to reach Surabaya before heading to Ijen. The ride is almost 8 hours with traffic jam, there are no other way to get there faster besides your own chartered transport. The locals just either get a full fledged driver to go along or just drive themselves. Driving yourself is not easy as the roads are quite hilly as you reach the mountain region.
To speak the truth, the trail is really scenic and is not congested with a lot of people, fairly nice to manage, it is also not technical like some other South East Asian Trails. To me I had ad good time challenging this race and also met many new Indon friends.
Race Supply Station and Race Entitlement
They had ample water stations with water, coconut water , fruits and some cereals provided. Overall the water stations are well equipped. For all finishers, there is a medal indicating the distance you completed, there are also hot food provided at the end of the race, just some green bean soup and rice. Finisher tee and race tee are also provided.
Overall, I will say this race is very worth to go for the scenery and tranquility of the place, if you like nature it is a must to be here!