Back again by popular demand and at a new location, The Salomon X-trail return for it’s 3rd time and it kept it’s promise of a trail running experience like no other. For the first time ever, the Salomon X-trail was held in Mac Ritchie reservoir on the 14th of November 2010. The event saw runners taking part in 2 distance categories both equally demanding and gruelling over undulating, uneven nature terrain. – Competitive 12.5km and Non-competitive 4.5km.
The response for this year was overwhelming as it saw a total of 2640 participant this time around which is an increase off 212 participant as compared to last year. This figures clearly shows that, there is a growing trends of runners having interest in trail running. Trail Running is trilling and more challenging than normal road running as runners have to be alert at all times, running, jumping across puddles and mud through the harsh nature terrain.
Due to the large number of participant attending the race, the race route for the12km category had to be tweak to meet the requirement of NE Park. Instead of running the full loop of the Mac Ritchie reservoir, participant is now only restricted to run in the trail section of the route meaning that participant would run into the trail about 3.5km before making a U-turn back to the starting line and enter the second part of the trail which is the loop leading to Lornie road (same route use by the 4.5km non-competitive route) and back to the starting point.
Flag for competitive categories was at 0730 while non-competitive was at 0815. This could very be the largest gathering of runners gathering in Mac Ritchie for a single purpose – to run the Salomon X-Trail Run.
Many turn up in their Green Salomon Event tee. Whether they are experience runner or first time runner everyone was anxious to start the race. There were close to 2000 participant for the competitive categories. Flag off was punctual 0730h for the competive Men’s and Woman Open which was followed shortly by the Competitive Veteran Open at 0735.
Participant quickly make their way around the gravel route before entering the trail which was less than a kilometre away from the start. Once they enter the trail, many soon realise how different it was running on nature terrain as compared to running on road. Due to the rain the ground was slighly slippery and muddy, this just makes the run unpredictable and more challenging.
There was a series of uphill and downhill section of the route leading to the U-turn section at the 3.5km mark. Runners will have to constantly be alert of where they are running and take note of their foot placing as not to roll their foot or ankle. – Trail running shoe is always recommended when running in this terrain.
Participant made their way to the U-turn point deep into the trail, 3.5km mark. Waterpoint station was set up to distribute Mineral Water and 100plus. After repleshing their fluid, participant re-entered the trail route and make their way back. The same trail is now narrow as there is a 2 way flow of traffic, participant we ask to keep to their left regardless of their direction. Even with this rule in place there are still some participant who were bumping into one another and some were even pushing and shouting as they ran out of the first part of the trail.
Participant exited the first section (7km) of the run. Another water point station was set up at the 7km mark distributing, this time bottled water and 100plus. The weather was already scorching hot by then, having that bottle of water was a lifesaver. Personally, I feel that the water point there should be more water point at the first section of the race.
Then next to the 2nd part of the route at the other sections of the trail, This section is use by the non-competitive categories as well. Running in this part of the race is a breeze for some as this was the route that was covered during the running clinic a few weeks ago, many competitive runner was able to overtake the non-competitive participant who was trailing behind.
About 10.5km distance, another water point station was set up. Participant exited the trail route proceed out to the pavement section of the route along lornie road. It wasn’t as easy as it looks it here there are a series of undulating uphill and downhill that challenge even the season runner. The morning sun was already scorching hot, an extra motivation to run faster to complete the race.
Participant re-entered Mac Ritchie reservoir, The finishing line can already be seen, everyone ran faster, I sprinted downhill and cross what I thought was the finishing line. Apperently, that was not the finishing line, it was the start line, the finishing was another 100m. Many had the same thought as well as one by one they jump for joy as they crossed the start line and only to realize that the finishing line was another 100m away.
A unique finisher medal was given to all competitive participant that crossed the finishing line.
Finishers then gather around the stage, where Salomon had set up a booth showcasing their latest Salomon Trail running shoe range. As they wait for the prize giving ceremony and lucky draw.
This was also the time that they shared their experience on competing in the race, many including myself would agree that the Salomon X-trail run this time around is one of the toughest race event that they had ever participated in 2010 and it is undoubtly the thoughest Salomon X-trail yet.
Here’s are maybe a few consideration that they might take for next race.
- More water point for the competitive distance. Water point was situated quiet far apart.
- It will be good in the future if we could run the whole loop rather than just the 3.5km and back at the first part of the competitive run. Many runners feels that the route was very narrow, making it hard for them to run.
- After the finishing line, Only 1 water/ aid station was set up as a result many runners had to queue for a very long time to get their refreshment.
Overall it was an Awesome race and I personally had so much fun challennging and competiting against time and self in one of the toughest races of 2010. Met a lot of runners some new to train running while some are season pro. Will definitely compa I can’t wait to see what Salomon have in store for 2011, whatever it is one can be sure that it will be a trail running experience that one will not soon forget.
Gear use: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX
Distance : 13.1km (Nike+)
Power song : The man who can’t be moved – The Script