Monday, October 01, 2012

Salomon X-Trail Marshalling Report 2012

In all my years of racing, I've been involved by volunteering for a few race events. Among the more significant one was being directly involved in organising the first (and only) Xterra Malaysia back a couple of years ago and marshaling in a few adventure races such as Perhentian Island Challenge and even a made for TV production.
Flying Fox inside Gua Kandu for Eco-X circa 2007
Essential part of any races to be successful apart from fantastic participants and good organisers are the unknown volunteers that worked behind the scene. I am privileged, i must say, to be given another chance to help in a small part of the Salomon X-Trail race. My role was simple - take my mountain bike, remember the route and lead the leading lady runner. 
On Saturday, I went for the route familiarization with the Pacesetters - the organiser of the race. It has been months since I rode my mountain bike - last being almost 6 months ago (or possibly longer). The route recce was completed on Saturday and already there were no less than 30 things happening at the race site. Things like route markers, tents, tables, water stations, sponsors' obligation, paperwork, food, logistics, securities and many more has already happened 24hours before the race.
Tony leading the team for route marking
Myself, Raymond, Paul and Agnes was entrusted with the job to keep the runners "on track". Raymond to lead the men lead runner, Paul to manage the men group in numbers, myself to manage the women lead runner and Agnes to sweep from the back. Of course, the like of Doc Pui San was given the pleasure of being the absolute last walker to clear the trail and attend to any emergencies if needed. That is just part of a very strong 80 volunteers that was signed up to help with the race. Everyone play their own role and do what is needed to ensure a smooth race.
Where it could get possibly confusing
Come race morning, I was up by 4am to prepare and leave for UPM by 5am. Quick breakfast of the typical type (rolled oats, yes, roll your eyes people), loaded up the bike, making sure i have sufficient water (750ml more than enough) and off i went. Reached the race site fairly early and had sufficient time to set up the bike. I was then given the Pacesetter's traffic vest. And so, the task as a Marshall officially began.
:D Number 34.
Part of the final preparation for us on the mountain bike is to strategize on how to ensure the lead runner will get a clear path to run - as one section of the run will require a looping back and the lead runner will be running among the other people still doing their first loop.
The Calm Before The Storm
Sharp at 7am, we heard the horn and within the first 3 minutes, the first male runner has reached the top of the first hill.
blazing past us
Soon enough, more runners ran past in one long line of Salomon Yellow...the official race T.
I bet many did not turn around to see the beautiful sunrise
As the last group of Men ran past, the ladies were gun-off. That's my cue to get ready. It wasn't long before the eventual winner ran up the hill and i started leading her on the trails. With many people, i had to practice some discretion and asked for the runners to move to the left or right as to allow the leading runner to run past. 
The winner for Women Veteran (and overall women) hot on my back. She overtook the front pack of men runner. Second from left is my friend, Bacin.
I must apologise if i appear to be rude while cycling past. It was quite a task to repeat the same line "woman lead runner coming through, please keep left or right" most of the, again, Apologies if some of you reading this was in the race and found me to be rude! 
Bumping into KK Yum while i have a bit of breather pulling away from Cheah Mei Mei (Woman Vet winner)...
I lead the lead runner all the way back to the finishing and I then went back to the trail for another round of sweeping. This time, at a more leisurely pace. :) It wasn't long before i bumped into many more familiar faces.
Pa Sang Lang Alvin
My senior in RMC Asfani 
Friends i made in Kiara Chuang and Hume
Yom - an ex-colleague i never met (she joined as i left AECOM)...good or bad?
Hanim SuperMum
And finally, the last of the group. Pui San and the Marshall sweeping with Rupert doing slow run
With (R-L) Rupert, Pui San, Khoo and another Marshall 
I was also on a small mission that morning as i go around the trail the second time - a runner lost her car key and i told her i will try (keyword here is try) to locate it and if I am lucky, will find it for her. Sad to say, i had no such luck. Saw her at the finish line and apologise that i can't find it. Then, it was busybody time at the finish line with more friends.
Dzul which i chance twice in the trail
With Capt Bean. Old buddy.
With Azri and his wife. I love running couples!

Esfah and Cheryl

The volunteer work does not end just as the race ends. There were much cleaning and many other things that needs to be done like ensuring that the trails were free from rubbish (gel packets and bottles, even cans as the cows are let loose in the UPM area to graze, you wouldn't want your Wahyu steak to be rubbish-fed ain't it? ;)). I even saw two members of the PACM cleaning the rubbish bins that everyone uses to dump their waste! Yes Sir (and Maám), every single thing that you came, saw and use were done by the volunteers. :) It takes an experience like these to appreciate future races that i enter. Reason why i always make it a point to smile and thank the volunteers in every race i enter. As for myself (and the mountain bikers), we spent the next 30minutes washing the bike. The mud and grass literally ends up at every possible places you can think off.
Dirty Fler
Lucky for the reliable entry level Deore groupset, else, the RD would had snapped
FD was not spared too, would had been an awesome chain cleaner...hahah
I have uploaded about 180 photos into my Facebook Page here. Do LIKE it and follow me and my adventure there. Photos from this race can be obtained here. Spot yourself (the men) and apologies again for not taking the women's photo as i was busy trying to keep moving, clearing the way, trying not to fall and roll all over the trails... :D
Until the next race, keep moving forward!
Post note:
Some photos of the PACM members doing volunteer work
Dannie and Carrie on the back of the truck delivering bins to water stations. Thanks Ida for the photo
The water do not appear by magic. A lot of heavy lifting involved. Thanks Ida.


  1. Nice meeting you, bro

  2. Great run and great post too!

    A big THANK YOU to everyone involved for making this super fun run! I'm glad I went and didn't ditch this for another more hyped-up run! LOVE LOVE LOVE Salomon X-Trail Run 2012 and it all due to you peeps!

    1. :D I am sure the organiser PACM and all the sponsors appreciate that!

      Well done again on finishing!

    2. Hey, I was one of the participants, KUDOS to all the volunteers! =) It wouldnt be a success without you guys.. Thanks a lot! Great job well done! =)

    3. Hi Vivian! Thank you! Congrats on finishing!

  3. Great work Stupe, nice to see the behind-the-scene of how a race is organized and lovingly managed by so many passionate volunteers. I particularly liked this race a lot, so many awesome things about it.

    1. Consider to be one. That's the only way to learn to appreciate the people that wakes up at un-Godly hours to make things work!
      :D Congrats on finishing!

  4. Hey TriStupe. Nice post, really! Awesome photos. Had a camera with me but it failed to work then. It was my first trail run ever. Was a blast!

    1. How come failed to work Kam? This won't be your LAST trail. Good to know you had a good time!

    2. Not sure the cause of it. It was an iPod (with built-in camera). No biggie, I finished the run nevertheless :)

    3. ah, ipod Nano 6th generation with video function. :) No space lah. :D

    4. It's an iPod Touch actually. I have not been familiarizing myself with the device so i could not tell what was wrong then. The camera works fine now. Glad to see the photos you posted though. Thanks!