“Borneo International Marathon is known to be a hot marathon.” That is what the organizers told us when we got our race kits a Suria Sabah Mall in Kota Kinabalu. But don’t let the hot weather scare you from joining this marathon. It has a relatively flat route and scenic view of the blues and greens.
Here’s what you can expect from the marathon.
Borneo Marathon Registration
Registration is done online and runs quite smoothly. Simply pay using your credit card and that’s it. I checked the option to avail of the shuttle service going to the race venue. Shuttle service have specific pick up points in nearby hotels in KK. I suggest you do the same since taxis are hard to find early in the morning.
From time to time, you will receive email reminders and running tips from the organizers. This makes me more excited as the race day gets nearer.
Race Kit Claiming
Claiming of race kits was done for 3 days before the event at Suria Sabah Mall. They occupied a small area but it was well staffed. We arrived just before the closing hour so there were few runners who claimed at the same time. It went fast and simple.
There are some product displays and items on sale. Shoes and compression apparels were at jaw dropping prizes. Too bad some stocks are sold out already.
Reading some reminders at the race kit claiming.
The Starting Line
The starting line is at Likas Stadium which is just a few kilometers from the city proper. Gun start for the 42K runners was at 3:00 am but I arrive at about 2:00 am. Thanks to the shuttle service.
Take the shuttle service for a hassle free trip to the event venue.
The 42K participants is quite few. Baggage area was just a small area below the stadium. There’s a small canteen nearby for some last minute purchase on food and drinks.
We were asked to gather behind the starting arc. The gun start program was simple. In fact, I did not hear any countdown. A gun just fired to signal the start of the race.
View of Likas Stadium, Kota Kinabalu
Here I am, getting excited at the starting line.
With other runners from the Philippines.
We started on the tracks and lead outside to the stadium and into the streets of KK.
Still dark at the start of the run. Just outside the Likas Stadium.
It was still dark when we started the run. But the street lights are on to illuminate the roads. The first part of the run is going from Likas Stadium towards the City Proper and to Tanjung Aru which is near the airport. Once you reach the turn around point, it takes you back to the city proper and at Likas Area.
For this part of the race, it’s a flat route. Very minimal inclines. And at 3 o’clock in the morning, there are almost no cars to bother. But the sound of bullfrogs enjoying the rain the night before can be annoying. 😀
Running towards the central wet market. About 4KM.
About 6K at the Coastal Highway. Still a flat course.
Going towards Tanjung Aru for the turnaround point. 9KM so far.
The second half is more challenging with some hills going to the turnaround point. If it’s any consolation, this has the more scenic route. There’s the sea at one side and the mountains on the other. You also get to see the magnificent City Mosque in Likas and the Tun Mustapha Tower building.
Running up north for the next 21 kilometers. The view is getting interesting at this point.
The sun is now rising behind this beautiful mosque in Likas.
The iconic letter M is the most scenic sign. I wish this was the finish line.
The elevation is not that bad. Probably about 2 steep inclines and the rest are gradual uphills.
With a cut-off time of 6 hours, this race is friendly for first time marathoners.
One of the uphills. Easy for those who are used to Kalayaan Flyover.
Lucky for us, it rained the night before the race. Thus, the breeze was still cool until 7:00 am. But I was starting to feel the hot sun after that. Good thing there was ice available at the water stations. Sponges was also being given at some points of the race but most of them were empty by the time I reached the sponges.
Starting the marathon at 3:00 am also helped avoid much of the heat. But waking up at 1:00 am was difficult.
Roselle aka Running Diva seems to enjoy the sun. 😀
Hydration stations were stationed every 3 KMs. That’s quite far from what I am used to. I suggest bringing hydration belts if you need to drink more often.
Each water station has water and 100 Plus. They are placed in identical cups and the color is also identical. I poured 100 Plus on my face twice thinking it was water. Eeeew… I was having that sticky feeling for the next 3 kilometers.
So the next time, I would sip first on the cup to check if its water before pouring it on my face. Just a tip.
Marshals are so active and cheerful. Makes you feel like you’re in a concert than a grueling road race. Thank you for the claps and cheers.
Great support at the 32K turnaround point.
Aside from the cold water and 100 Plus, bananas were given at 32K.
Major roads were well managed to avoid vehicles getting in the way.
There is a discrepancy in the distance if you compare it with a GPS watch. My GPS watch showed it was 42.8 KMs. But the organizers insists that they have it measured as an accurate 42.195 KM.
I am aware that GPS satellites are not as accurate as I want them to be so I trust the organizers with their distance.
I reached the finish line at 5:09:04. My new marathon PR. The finish line set up was simple. Just the finish arc. There was no race clock to check your time.
There are booths with freebies for all runners. 42K runners don’t have a special area for them so you get to line up with the rest of the runners in other categories.
Hooray to my fourth marathon finish. 😀
Ellen finished 5th among non-Malaysian Runners. Congrats.
Brad and Roselle paced a fellow runner to the finish line.
Results, Medals and Certicifates
The medal and finisher’s shirt were given right after you cross the finish line. The friendly staff greets you with a smile and congratulates you for a goob well done.
The official results were published about two days after. It was close to what I was able to record from my own watch.
Online certificate were available after about 2 1/2 weeks.
One more photo at the finish line with my medal. Happy to run in Kota Kinabalu.
Overall, the Borneo International Marathon is a simple marathon. It’s ideal for those who prefers a less crowded race. First time marathoners might also like its friendly marshals and minimal road traffic.
It’s flat route is great for chasing PRs but be prepared should the temperature reach more than 30 deg Celsius.
Compared to the races I joined in Singapore and HongKong, the Borneo International Marathon gives you a view of nature which I love. Less tall buildings, more blue sea and green trees.
After the race, don’t look forward for shopping in KK. Go for nature trips like island hopping, nature parks, state museums, and dives. But one day is not enough to see the sights of KK. Better extend for 2 more days after the race.
Check out the race recap by Running Diva
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