Monday, May 03, 2010

42KM Hash Challenge - Laboring All The Way

Last Saturday was my second Hash experience. it was not any ordinary Hash, but a hash that only comes once every 18 months.
Aptly called the 7th International Hash Challenge, the race attracted racers from all over the world (well, almost) and there were equal mix of locals and foreign participants. The race goes to show just how sports unites and goes beyond racial, religion and creed factor. Beautiful.
There were 30 teams of 4 members inside. Each have to include at least one lady. I joined the team setup by Azman, which include Elfrie and Nizz. We have not met each other as a team until the night before. Talk about chemistry.
Myself, Elfrie, Nizz and Azman
Up till the morning at 5am when i was prepping to get to the pick up point, i was still pretty sure that the 42km was do-able. I've ran marathons before and never once i said i can't do it. While my very little hashing experience told me that i could, at most, move at 5km/h IF i run (or couldn't care less what overhangs above my head or what lies below on my feet).
Hotel De Palma was the absolute last place i know where i was at 6.15am. By 6.45am, we were somewhere behind UIA Gombak...or would i say, the Sg Pusu's trail.
I've done this trail a couple of time via mountainbike, and to do this by foot, will be the absolute first.
The biggest surprise (a big pleasant one) was when i saw familiar faces in the like of Julie, AJ, Azmar and Denis running this race too!

I thought i was the only one with nothing to do...
The team took their time with pacing slowly, bearing in mind that this will be Nizz's first hash too. Mas, being the veteran showed why even the seasoned hasher from Russia (and a mother of one kid) walks and not run at the start. Even old uncle (they are deceivingly strong) walks. So, why should not we, the younger perceived to be
The first stage covers about 16km around Klang Gate Dam (which hovers about 800m on our right throughout this section). It will be the longest and no support league of the race. Everyone has to stay on paper trail and be self sufficient. Simple enough.
The first 16km promised (by the organiser) to be a flat route. Followed by a 7km of extreme climb (that Denis said "grabbing of branches and roots"), then a 7km of hot open route over Bukit Antarabangsa, then a 8km "a bit of climb" route over to Bukit Belacan and finally, a 7km "get your ass up those incline" route to Hulu Langat over 3 peaks.
Cut off was 12hours. 
The first 16km proved to be challenging for my team as we tried to keep moving forward. I know i was the hindrance to a certain extend with my not so fit condition and with Nizz's first outing (and getting dirty). 
After 10km, the team got separated. Nizz and Elf went right and myself and Mas went left, thinking they went left. Then after 800m, we noticed there wasn't any paper trails. bad news. We double back but we can't find both Nizz and Elf, but instead, we found the sweeping party.
That very much spelt the end of the race for us.
The last 6km was bad. Having to duck under thick undergrowth, climb over rotting trees, being attacked by swarm of ants and having leeches hanging onto our legs. I had one that attempted to sink it's fangs into my left hand and one that was hovering above my right moobs (man-boobs that is).
We missed the first cut off by 15minutes - and found out that both Nizz and Elf did took the right way and was ahead of us.
16km and it took us 4:45. Nothing great but it was a good workout and attempt.
We were later taken to water station 4(WS4) at Bukit Belacan, which is also the last WS for the race before a 3-peak climb to the finish.
Nizz and Elf was apparently sent to WS3, which has caused the team not being able to reunite until much later.
At WS4, the preparation for the front hashers was ready by 2.30pm as they expect the earliest team to check in at 3.00pm.
No one came in until 4.30pm - which goes to show just how tough the route from WS2-WS4 WS4, the mileage counter was 40km...which effectively meant that the whole route wasn't 42km, but 47km!
Cut off time was actually extended to 5.30pm to ensure more participants were allowed to "finish" the race.
We were allowed to continue with the last 7km - but we are not considered as finisher. It was completely alright as all we wanted to do was to walk/run.
Nizz decided to call it a day and left early while myself, Mas and Elf carried on.
The last 7km was not particularly hard, but having to top 3 peaks with equal elevation of 350m each took a toll on me. My heartrate shot up to 200 at one point (i lost count of how many beats per 6 second interval, and calculated maybe about 35/10seconds interval).
I had to stop at every climb. Elf was strong. Azman was being a very nice to stay put with me to ensure i am alright.
Along the way, teams after teams were overtaking me and team mates. 
When i emerged from the last climb, i saw the basecamp. You have no idea how happy i was - now, go imagine those that did the whole distance - it could had been orgasmic!
I crossed the finish line being a none-finisher, but with a sense of achievement as i have never attempted anything like this before.
It was also at the finish line that i found out Team 6 (Azmar, AJ, Juls and Denis) did not meet the cut off at WS4.
It was bath at the river after that, and waiting for the bus to return to the Hotel.
Myself, Azmar and Denis spoke at length about how tough and fun this race was and perhaps, will come back for more in 18months time.

Click here for Denis' report : GingerbreadMan
UpdatedClick here for Julie's report : MissJewel


  1. Nice report. It's really good reading a race report from the same race you did. You get a huge sense of familiarity and also a lot of the small moments that made up the day are captured; though you might have forgotten them.

    Great write up and cheers for the lift home - I look very chilled in that photo - can still taste that COLD beer

  2. Denis- hahaha!!!! Cold icebeer Chheeerrr!!!