Spartan Race Ultra Malaysia
3rd December 2018

Categories: Obstacle Race

In order to officially qualify to race in the Spartan Race Ultra World Championships I was required to complete a Spartan Ultra in under 10 hours. After winning the Spartan Trifecta World Championships I had a few options.

USA and Australia 3 weeks before Iceland

Mexico 2 weeks before Iceland

Malaysia 1 week before Iceland

The USA one would have been easiest, but I was speaking at the Kendal mountain festival that weekend. Mexico would have been smart as I would have had an extra week to recover before Iceland, but it was also a longer travel than Malaysia. Time slipped by and before I knew it, I only had one chance left, Malaysia.

The plan would be to fly to Singapore on the Thursday, landing on the Friday morning I would drive over the border into Malaysia, sleep and wake up the next day to do the 50km race. On finishing I would then make way directly over the border and fly home the same evening, landing back in Bergen in time for Sunday brunch.

The best made plans can always fall apart and this one didn’t get off to a good start. My first flight was cancelled resulting in a diversion via Stockholm and Bangkok before landing in Singapore on the Friday afternoon.

The first thing that hit me was the heat and humidity…maybe this was going to be tougher than I thought. From -5 to 30 degrees I was definitely not acclimated but was happy in the knowledge I didn’t have to win, I just had to complete.

So, waking up early on the Saturday I donned my race gear and headed into the steam room to run around for 6 hours.

My goals were to run at Iceland race pace, not eat any dodgy food or drink any dodgy water and not get injured. Anything above this I would class as a bonus.

I started easy and was back in 30th or something. A spear throw within the first 3km shook things up a bit and hitting mine allowed me to jump up into the top 5 immediately. From here I ran with a variety of people chatting away and trying to relax, everyone I met was really nice and it was fun to immerse myself in a totally new continent but have something in common with everyone.

The first lap was 21km with an 8km section bolted on. Coming into the changeover area I was surprised to be in second. I hadn’t planned to be but found myself in contention to win. This didn’t change how I continued the race and I went on to complete the second lap in much the same fashion as the first. The main difference was that I was more tired and was fighting to get by thousands of other competitors on narrow, muddy, jungle trails. Being worried about sunburn I slathered myself in mud and proceeded as an incognito jungle warrior.

Washing the mud off on the last swim and crossing the line in just over 6 hours I hadn’t gone too slow, too fast, got sick or too tired, but I had ripped a hole in my pinky finger on the rig. This seemed like a small price to pay after 50km with lots of obstacles and carries but was still relatively annoying.

Without much time to spare I had a shower, ate some food, did the prize ceremony and headed home. It was a shame not to hang out for longer as I really enjoyed being down there and meeting everyone. I don’t want people to feel like I was only there to qualify, but that was the reality…I will have to head back to spend some more time and do it properly in the future.

Landing back in Bergen I had a really nice Sunday with my wife which was worth the quick turnaround. With only one race left this year I look forward to spending much more time together, as we should.

Leave a comment below

10 responses to “Spartan Race Ultra Malaysia”

  1. Peter says:

    You got it Jon, Good Luck in Iceland!!!

  2. Peter says:

    Good Luck in Iceland!!!

  3. Dad says:

    Great read as ever Jon

  4. Dave says:

    2nd after lap one, but where did you finish?!?

  5. Loretta Tan says:

    Jon, congratulations on your win! Missed the opportunity to meet you whilst you were on the podium. (I was still out battling the course, heh) We, Malaysians welcome you and your wife back anytime. All the best for Iceland. Hope you crush the 100 miles!

  6. Mentalbear says:

    You got this buddy. I hope the weather on your side and mr Mentalbear sents you some lucky. I think I’m your only fan that’s a bear lol x

  7. Maggie says:

    Hi Jon
    Shame you couldn’t stay for the female elite pice ceremony. I was looking forward to stand on the podium with you sharing 1st place and getting a picture together.
    You defo need to come back to Malaysia again 🙂 in fact, that picture was my sole motivation that kept me going for the last 10k of the ultra…. it was hot!
    Well done on your win!

  8. Max Lee says:

    all the best to your Iceland race Aroo 🔥

  9. Darren Russell says:

    Hi Jon,
    We chatted briefly at the start and you lapped me at the bucket carry :-p..

    You were making it look easy but I had a question in terms of what you thought of the course.. how it ranked with Tahoe and the like in other parts of the world.. not much elevation I know but the heat and humidity seemed to take it’s toll..

  10. Phil Gill says:

    Brilliant unexpected Malaysia win Jon, congrats. You seem to have a “natural” ability at this stuff and it’s a pleasure following your exploits. Go for the MIl JON, all the very best luck in the world. You Can Do This My Friend..Bring It Home. Remember, you are giving so many people so much pleasure.

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