Part 6: Towerrunning competition in Guizhou at Sofitel Hotel on 23rd September 2023 with New Course Record
It was a long journey for me to reach Guiyang due to long transit of up to 5 hours 5 min at Xiamen Airport taking Xiamen Airline from Kuala Lumpur to Xiamen, then Xiamen to Guiyang. I received a message from Xiamen Airline saying that the flight that I am going to take heading back to Xiamen brought forward for almost 3 hours from 1.50 pm to 11.15 am. I won’t be able to take this flight as the award ceremony of the competition will be at 11am. Therefore, once I arrived in Xiamen, I went to their customer service counter trying to sort this out by getting them to refund and find me a way as I need to get back to KL tonight to prepare for the PJ Half Marathon.
However, after a few complaints been made, they promised to get back to me by 4pm before the flight from Xiamen to Guiyang but it didn’t happen. I went and launched a second complain before boarding the flight to Guiyang. After not getting the answer, I want as they told me they need time to bring this matter to their superior, I have no choice but to make a purchase on other airlines by purchasing a flight from Guiyang to Shenzhen, then Shenzhen to Kuala Lumpur.
Flight was delayed for a bit and I arrived at Guiyang Airport at around 8.10 p.m. I then went on and order a car as it will be faster for me to do that as it’s not that expensive (around 20 RMB). I then arrived at the Sofitel Hotel at around 8.50pm and thanks to the crew for collecting my bib on behalf of me in advance as the bib collection was only until 7 p.m. I collected the bib from the concierge then went on to have a look at the stairs.
Right after that, I went on to have a light dinner and plan things out. I then walked to the hostel that I booked which was about 500m from the race venue. I checked my email, and I received an email from Xiamen Airlines at around 9.30pm about the complain that I made. I have to then explained the whole situation on why I won’t be able to take the flight at 11.15am that they brought it forward for me without any reason. I wrote and demanded them to make full refund on the flight purchase for this trip and the later trip.
I then went to bed at around 11.30pm and get myself ready for the competition this morning. I woke up at around 7am and went for a quick cold shower. I then packed everything I need and walked to the race venue. I got there at 7.15am and it was quite empty. I then decided to walk up the 55 floors to explore and understand more about the race course.
Once I got back down to the ground floor, there were many participants at the race village. The organizer invited me to give a short speech on the stage to encourage every participant and shared with them a few tips for the vertical marathon.
I then went to the starting line at 8.25am and ready to start the race. Many came to me before the flag off to take photo with me as they said they were inspired by me and thank me for sharing the tips with them. I then prime myself up and ready to race by setting the pace at 130 beats per minute.
This is the first time for me to run up a stair that don’t even have handrail on either side of the stairs and it’s a triangle shape stair (refer to the photo below). It’s all the way up from 1st floor to 55th but there’s a total of three refugee floor (8th, 18th, 48th floor) whereby we have to come out from the stairs then run a total of about 20m heading to the next stairs. I got into the stairs first and chose to run the whole way as I knew I would have recovery at the refugee floor. The participant behind me started off very fast and at some point I listened to his footstep and he almost caught me. I kept going by swinging fast on both my arms to build up the pace, trying to build a distance between us and at the same time I knew he will eventually slow down given on how fast he started as there’s a 10 seconds interval between us at the flag off.
As soon as I went past the first refugee floor, I couldn’t hear him anymore and it’s all on me myself by maintaining the effort, the pace to the next refugee. I went on effortlessly and got on the first 14th floor on my first 2 min alert. Then the next 2 min alert beeped, and I arrived at 29th floor. Next 2 min alert beeped, and I arrived at 45th floor with only 10 floor to go and I got 1 min 10 seconds to run to beat the course record set by Liu Zhi Sen with a time of 7 min 10 sec back in 2018 (2nd Edition of Guiyang International Vertical Marathon).
I went on to give in everything I have on me to run hard for the last 10 floors. I ended it with a time of 7 min 1 sec beating the record by 9 seconds unofficially. The official result came out and they told me that I broke the course record with a time of 7 min 1 sec officially. The reporter came and interviewed me, asked me about my experience competing in Guiyang and how’s Guiyang to me.
I told them that I enjoyed the race even though it’s my first vertical marathon running up a stair with no handrail at all. It was a great experience on putting in the right plan by running all the way up at the same time matching the 130 beats per minute all the time. I was welcomed by many participants in this competition as they came and approached me, asked for photography together and tips to run up the stairs fast and efficient. Here are some photos of the event.
Here’s the Overall Top 5 Men with Top 3 winning some prizes from the sponsors. Thank you to the organizer for inviting band to perform at the start of the race and at the end of the race. It was a great performance by performing “We are the Champions” by Queen. The Sofitel GM told me that he would like to invite me to stay at their hotel next year when I come for this competition, and he even asked me to bring a few other athletes to join me.
Kindly refer to google drive link for more photos and videos:
Thanks to the people in Guiyang and thanks to my sponsors for supporting me competing internationally and bring your flag on top of the podium. I am so proud to fly Petaling Jaya City Council Flag on top of the podium and on 21st to 26th Sept 2023, PJ is hosting the 1st Asia Pacific Youth Folklore Festival. Feel free to come and visit Laman MBPJ for this Festival as there are many events happening during this period of time.
Next stop for me will be heading back to Malaysia as soon as possible and see you guys in PJ Half Marathon on the next day as I will be taking part in the 10km category.