A Charity Run Experience

April 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm (China) (, , )

After returning from Borneo, I decided that a good way to get myself out of the house and stretching my legs was to sign up for a 5km Charity Run.  One of the girls connected to one of the running groups I am in, posted about the event “Run for Love.”  The race was to celebrate “love” would be 5km and included a bus to and from Stone Lake.

IMG_4215Never having been to Stone Lake and quite taken by the name, I thought this sounded like a good idea.  Plus it was free even with the bus.  SCORE!  It didn’t sound like it was a big event or anything, in fact I just thought it was a group of us going for a casual run.

My legs were not exactly pleased with me but I managed to pull them out of bed to go to the run.  When we arrived, we were quite amazed at the hoohah for a 5km run.  There were free t-shirts, a painting stand, a place to stick our wishes for love as well as a huge stage.  We were even treated to cheerleading?

A big group of foreigners at an event like this is always exciting for the Chinese.  Everybody always wants to take our photo or be in photos with us.  Sometimes this can be amusing, most of the time just annoying.


After some speeches (no idea what they said) we headed off for the run.  5km?  I think not!  My friend’s Garmin clocked us in at 3.7km… NOT EVEN 4km!  We all found this very amusing, even more so when we watched the prize giving.  First place each won a REFRIGERATOR!  I kid you not.  Second place an exercise bike, third place a bench press.  Two of the girls with us came in 8th and 10th respectively and won an exercise watch.  That’s not forgetting the ridiculous amount of spot prizes they also gave out.

Let me get this straight… this was a 5km charity race.  I ran 3.7km, paid nothing, but went home with a t-shirt, a backpack and a water bottle.

How does that work?

Welcome to China!



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Conquering the Mountain

April 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm (Travel) (, , )

IMG_4152You may remember that I backpacked around Borneo during Summer 2015.  It was an awesome trip, but due to an earthquake I was unable to climb Mt Kinabalu like I had originally planned.  I vowed I would be back to climb the mountain and this Spring break, that’s exactly what I did.

As soon as I arrived I headed up to Kudat to the Tip of Borneo where I spent four relaxing nights.  The beach there is just as majestic as I remembered.  It’s been almost two years since I was there and the area is still as undeveloped, the water just as clear and the beach deserted.

Howard’s place still had its rustic charm but seemed more run down and not as polished as last time.  It seems to me that he has too many projects on the go and things are not quite as finished or organised as they could be.  You can’t fault him for his enthusiasm and love for the area though.

Unfortunately I was not blessed with the best weather, but there is something special about tropical storms, especially when all you really want to do is relax.  I read heaps, lay in the sun, got stung by jelly fish and had time to reflect and enjoy.  Exactly what the doctor ordered.

IMG_4194After one night in Kota Kinabalu, I headed out to the national park for the challenge of Mt Kinabalu.  In true Kate style… I had NO idea what I was getting myself into.  It’s a mountain, how hard could it be?

Elevation:  4, 095m

Let’s put this into perspective.  Mt Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia is 2, 228m and die Zugpspitze in Germany 2, 962m.  The last mountain I remember climbing was Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka at 2, 243m.

I had no idea Mt Kinabalu was quite that high and of course hadn’t done my research.  In fact, it’s basically 8km of UP.  Non-relentless UP, UP that burns and makes you dizzy.  UP that includes scrambling over rock face.  UP, UP, UP!

I climbed the mountain through the company River Junkie.  The only permit I could get was one that included via feretta ‘Walk the Torque’ but I wasn’t missing another opportunity to conquer the mountain.  There were two other Canadian girls that started the walk with me, but they were not doing the via feretta.  That meant that they had their own guide and I also had my own personal one.  At first I thought that was pretty ridiculous, but boy was I glad for Tino when the going got tough.

IMG_4176Day 1:

After an early morning transfer we began the walk at Timpohon Gate (1,829m).  We walked at a steady pace and arrived at Pendant Hut (3,289m) just before 4pm.  Once again, I was not blessed by the weather Gods.  I ascended the mountain surrounded by mist and the occasional rain shower.  This mountain, however, is just as much about the challenge as it is the view!

The Canadian girls seemed very concerned about elevation and altitude sickness.  I hadn’t even thought about this!  I figured I would be fine and tried not to think about it as I walked.  You could definitely feel the air thinning though and one of the girls really struggled the last part up to the hut.

We had a safety briefing about the via feretta, a surprisingly decent meal and then headed to bed for an early morning start up the mountain.

Day 2:

When I said early, I meant EARLY.  Tino was there at 2am to pick me up with a big smile and a positive attitude.  He was determined to get me to the top!  We set off and much to my excitement, we could actually see both the stars and the lights below us.

The first part of the walk was lovely, but of course my favourite weather Gods were not shining down on me.  Not sure what I did wrong, but the clouds misted over and the heavens opened.  I trooped on, soaking wet and cold to the bone.  I don’t think I have ever been so cold in my ENTIRE life!

Up and up we went, rock climbing over boulders and using ropes to pull ourselves up.  When the going got tough, I reminded myself that people climb this mountain successfully every day… that my mum had done so ten years earlier.  And then there was Tino, his big smile and absolute confidence that he was getting me to the top.  I must admit that I considered stopping and turning back, quite surprising considering how stubborn most of you know I am.

IMG_4181Getting to the top was both a relief and an achievement.  I could see nothing, but at that point it really didn’t matter.  I had broken through personal barriers and hauled my legs to the top of the highest mountain in my life.  It was a pretty incredible feeling (although I have no high aspirations to bag any more mountains any time soon!)

The way back to Pendant Hut was tedious and long.  Everything was wet and the water gushed down the rock face making the path slippery and dangerous.  My running shoes got one hell of a work out as I carefully made my way down.  With two ankles prone to rolling after stepping on too many hockey balls and knees that are known to make trouble, I was taking absolutely no risks and moved literally at a snail’s pace.

By 9:30 in the morning I arrived back at the hut with over 21,000 steps on my trusty Fitbit.  By the time I went to bed in the evening nearly 47,00!  Luckily, the rain stopped and I was able to descend the mountain a little faster.  Unfortunately, the via feretta was cancelled, but in all honesty I don’t think I would have been in any state to complete it.

Climbing down, I was most interested watching the porters carry provisions up and down the mountain.  Everything gets carried, from paint, to food to building supplies.  Some men were carrying over 30km on the back UP the mountain.  Others had 4 or 5 backpacks they were carrying for tourists.  Really quite amazing and it reminded me of the soldiers climbing Adam’s Peak with bags of bricks in Sir Lanka.

IMG_4205I’m glad of a few things.  Firstly, I booked a nice hotel bed for my last night in KK.  The view from the rooftop pool was absolutely amazing.

Secondly, that I wasn’t able to climb the mountain last time I was in Borneo.  I seriously don’t think I would have managed it.  It was much more challenging than I expected and I definitely did not have the right bag or shoes (OK shoes either time) for the climb.  I don’t think I was as fit than either, not that I was training for the climb or anything (this would have been sensible) but my level of fitness at the moment is actually not that bad.

Most importantly, that I challenged myself, without even realising I was challenging myself.  I stuck to my word and actually conquered the mountain!


P.s  More Photos?

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