It was 2 years ago that I first noticed this boutique race – Borneo International Marathon – held in the land of the hornbills. The picture of the proboscis monkey (which I kept confusing as orang utan) on the finisher’s medal made it a unique medal to collect. The attraction of running along the coastline is probably a strong second pull. And earlier sessreps from Yim (who attended the 2009 run) pointed to a well-organized run.
In 2009, the event was held in the later part of the year (October if I’m not mistaken) but in 2010 they switched it to May 1st which happily coincide with the Labour Day public holiday here. This year’s even better, May 1st falls on a Sunday which means Monday is the replacement day-off for us (and we do not even have to take annual leave for Monday).
Not wanting to miss this good opportunity to swing by KK for the Borneo Run this year, we were rather quick to sign up when they opened for registration in December 2010. Yup, they have good planning and started promoting their way almost 6 mths to the event.
Early registration means early flight bookings and while AirAsia continues to offer cheap flights into KK, we found MAS’ schedule more amenable to us. If I remembered correctly AirAsia’s deal was around Rm400 while MAS about Rm550 per pax. However AirAsia’s flight required us to wake up in the ungodly hours of 3am or something since it’s departing around 7am (Sat) and then leaving KK on the 9am flight on Monday hardly giving us enough time to R&R (rest & relax) in KK (which beside the Race is part of the reason for this trip).
Some of you might wonder what’s wrong with a 3am wake-up on Saturday. Well for one, I do have to host the Boardgamecafe.net’s Friday meetup which usually ends (if early) around 2-3 am Sat morning so that meant I’m rushing straight off the meetup to the airport? Nosireee…. I would rather get a couple of hours rest in-between and then get ourselves leisurely to KK in the afternoon.
Oh yes AirAsia do have flights leaving on times better suited to our itinerary but that would meant their cost would be similar to MAS. So MAS it is, which gave us a 12 noon flight out of KUL and a nice 7pm flight back from KK.
First to-do on our list upon arrival at KK (after checking in to our hotel in Likassquare) was to get our Race Pack from the Community Hall, which is about 5 km from Likassquare. We took the complimentary shuttle van from the hotel to get to the Community Hall in good time and the Race Pack collection went smoothly.
I noticed Jesseltown Hotel’s located just opposite the Community Hall so if you are thinking of staying somewhere within really short walking distance, you can consider this hotel (not that I’ve any good nor bad reviews about it).
When we were searching for an accommodation for this trip, we were deciding whether to stay in the city centre (which is just a short 4-5 km the race venue Likas Stadium) or to stay at Likassquare, a short 1 km walk from the stadium. In the end we decided on Likassquare as their frontline person was more responsive and attentive to my emails.
As we were about to leave the Community Hall, we spotted Tey (Facebook link if you do not know who he is). He came with a posse of runners from KL (all from the same family I think). Wow! He’s really passionate about promoting the sport of running!
Thanks Tey for this photo!
A little bit on KK City
We decided to hang around a bit in the city centre before moving back to the Likassquare area and were looking for a place to sit and have a cup of coffee.. And we spotted Old Town White Coffee (OTK). Those of you who are boardgamers would surely understand my affinity with them. 🙂
This OTK outlet seems to be overstaffed but we couldn’t complained since it meant their staff are very attentive to your needs.
We didn’t order much food to eat as we were saving our stomach for tonight’s dinner with Sean & his wife (that’ll be our trip to Carcasean Cafe which was the main agenda for today).
My bib for the 10K Run. There’s also a useful Starbucks voucher (buy 1 free 1) and a nice eco Newton bag. No running vest but they’ll hand out a finisher tee at the Finish Line. You can also see their distinctive logo being branded everywhere.
When we left Old Town and walked around, we noticed a café beside OTK that was packed with customers! The peeps inside were enjoying their food and engrossed in conversation. The café was well (though simple) decorated and we could see a lot of those customers who appeared to be “runners”, no doubt for tomorrow’s race.
Ah.. Now we know why Old Town was relatively quiet compared to this buzzing place which is know as Fook Yuen Cafe & Bakery. 😛 We later found out – from Facebook- this was WHERE most of the runners (especially the West M’sians) were gathering to fuel themselves!
Strange sign post in KK. hehe… 164M to the toilet?
Yes, we are 0KM in Kota Kinabalu!
The interiors of the Likassquare apartment. Ours was supposedly a studio apartment but it’s essentially a 3-bedroom apartment converted into a studio, to cater for couples like us who do not need 2- or 3-bedrooms.
But they do have 3-bedroom apartments for rent and the price would be very attractive for a group of 5-6 runners sharing an accommodation for this run. With the Start/Finish venue (Likas Stadium) being only one KM walk from this hotel, it’s very well positioned for runners who are attending this Race.
The only downside is probably this hotel being away from the city centre hence you’ll either need your own transport or to use their complimentary shuttle van when getting to/from the city centre. They even sent a shuttle van to pick us up from the airport!
We took a taxi back (from the Community Hall) and local taxis here go by a fixed rate rather than meter, which I think is understandable given the low volume of customers. Fare from city centre here is about Rm15-17 which is expensive considering the distance covered (barely 5 KM). The hotel’s shuttle van is available as long as you make pickup arrangement.
We’ll definitely be staying here again if we are back for the next run! At just Rm130+ per night, this hotel is well recommended by us especially if you are a runner coming here for the Borneo Intl Marathon. 😛
Next stop: Carcasean Cafe for some boardgaming session & Race Day
For more photos, pls check out my Facebook Album