Sunday (15/9) morning in sleepy Jakarta, me and those thousand awesome runners were trying to think of good adjectives for just how sunny it was:rather, plentifully, impressively, and of course we’re lucky, the race we were registered for had already taken care of this issue for us in the title “Men’s health Indonesia Urbanathlon”  either extremely lucky or has amazing weather prediction skills, because the race fit the morning perfectly.The day of the race I felt pretty good. I did not feel too sore and I was full of energy.

With an early morning wake up, I made my morning smoothie got my gear together and headed out the door by 4:45AM to get to the race morning pick-up just after 5:15AM. Parking around the start/finish South Plaza of GBK area was easy to maneuver through and with a short walk I was at the race area. Morning pick-up lines were short, so getting my bib, zip ties, and timing chip in the bracelet was quick and painless. Nonetheless, everything was pretty smooth. I had some time before the 7:00AM start so I took a walk to find the gear check as well as find the finish and start areas along with the port-a-potties.

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I was a little nervous going into the race as I hadn’t trained for it all and all the training I had been doing for the past 4 or 5 months was focused on Endurance – which is an endurance walk and walking in the bush is heaps different to what I  would be doing at urbanathlon.This race consisted of some 8 km of running and “urban” obstacles along the way.

As start time approached more people arrived to the start area and you could sense the excitement of the runners who were ready to start the 8 KM route from the South Plaza of GBK to Chase Plaza Building and back. The starting area was bustling with athletic men! I’d guess maybe 20 percent of the participants were women. I also noticed everyone seemed to be in great shape, where in most races I see more of a range of athletic body types. Start time begins upon departure time of each group/wave. The first wave will be followed by the Professional category/athlete at 07:00AM. When there were more than 100 people in that category, it will be dispatched on the next wave. This is  where runners would begin to small group and find who was running various paces. The next wave will be conducted at 3-minute intervals thereafter.

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Urbanathlon is a mix of obstacles and running through an urban city landscape. The race was targeted to the average city runner, City2Surf competitors that want a good run with a bit of diversity. The course is approximately 8 km in length with 8 obstacles spaced along it. Whether you are in the first or last wave you can win it! Urbanathlon is an individually timed event. The race was very well organized, great starting in small waves 1 minute apart, just enough for the people to spread and avoid bottlenecks around the obstacles. After 10 minutes to wait,  I made my way to the start line with group 7 at 7.15AM.  I started out at a pretty good pace. Here are my quasi initial thoughts:

OBSTACLE COURSE 1: WATTER BARRIER (Jembatan Semanggi – Barat). In this first obstacle, I must go over all watter plastic barriers. At first it’s easy to pass with a height of about 60-80 cm.But having to go through the streets that climb causing many runners look so tired when I had to traverse about 5 watter. Those who violate course elements must return to the beginning of the obstacle and start over. The course was pretty flat with a few rolling road. This would be a great “first” obstacle run for a beginner to get a feel for it.

OBSTACLE COURSE 2: CHASE PLAZA CAR PARK STAIR CLIMB. As I continued on the second obstacle, my body started to get a little bit tight. My hip flexors, then must climb the stairs all the way up to the Level 6 of carpark. Feels very challenging to climb the stairs while running. I was actually excited for the stairs. I had heard that this would be a tough part of the race, but I was ready to tackle this obstacle. Without realising what I was doing I stupidly tried to keep up at the start and nearly died running up the stairs out of Chase Plaza Carpark. Total Stairs: ??? (no idea) to ascend. Once on the Level 6 building concourse, Course Monitors will direct each participant into next obstacle course.

OBSTACLE COURSE 3: MONKEY BUSINESS BARS COMBO. After reach the level 6 of Chase Plaza carpark, the Racers must step up on to parallel bars and handwalk to traverse the parallel bars to the other side without touching the ground. To make my own way across the 5m length of the set of monkey bars, which is placed on an upward incline, and get to the end of the obstacle without letting my feet touch the ground was hard to do. In this course, I was unsuccessful in my first attempt, then required to make another attempt. No skipping rungs permitted…

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OBSTACLE COURSE 4: CARGO NET CRAWLING (Chase Plaza Building). In this course, racers must crawl under cargo net. Not too difficult to get through this course. In addition covered with a fluffy matting,  ​​path fairly width. Maybe the problem is tiredness after carpark running down as much as 6 floors,

in particular, was fatiguing around 4KM. This was not a good sign, but wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t my cardiovascular system that was being compromised, nor was I mentally tired.. After having one of the volunteers ask me if I was ok and did I need water I decided to back off and run my own race. I was able to run with a couple other runners, both who had previous best of time in the first their run and were trying for that time or better. For me this was the perfect group to run with, they both talked and were willing to share the work pulling and pushing one another along the course.

OBSTACLE COURSE 5: THE ROAD BARRIERS WITH  THE TYRES. The next obstacle was the tyres and some goose (yep that would be me hehehe ) misjudged the height of the third tyre in and came down wrong on ankle, so had to finish the rest of the Km’s and obstacles with a dud ankle…. Ah well on the bright side the photographers got a few extra shots of me and the tyres 🙂

I found my rhythm and in fact felt really good after finish tyres and didn’t care about the ankle.  I was feeling really good at this point and felt that I still needed to make sure I could get to the finish line. We greeted many other runners still making their out portion of the course. For me this provided some energy as other runners and volunteers cheered us on, however you can only take in so many “you are almost there” comments, before it becomes generic cheer overload when you still have kms to go.

OBSTACLE COURSE 6: Balancing Bridge (Fx Entertainment Center). Managed through the balancing bridge with running…its easy to do.. So, I don’t think this was an obstacle course..it more like a fun walk on the bridge..

OBSTACLE COURSE 7: Water Pool (Fx Entertainment Center).  I found this obstacle was a lot easier than I was expecting.There’s no major obstacles. .no muddy too.. ..I Personally prefer the mud courses but it was good for a bit of a change. In this course, i must climb into a tankful of water. Splash my own way through the length of the tank in the waist-high (1m) water. I didn’t keep my footwear on throughout this obstacle by took off my shoes. (Best not to wear spanking new shoes!)

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Then next continue to final course..The only thing that could have been better was to sign the kilometers clearer. Especially toward the end, a few signs of encouragement that it was almost over would have been a good pick me up! The only time I would have liked another obstacle was around Fx. I did miss the sprint obstacle as I had thought it was just a timing mat .  I did run it, but didn’t sprint it. With running races there’s no specific point that judges your fitness level. If you need to, you just run a little slower or walk…. no big deal.

OBSTACLE COURSE 8: Wall Climb (Plaza Selatan Senayan). At this point my right foot was in quite a bit of pain. My running gait was compromised even more and I was ready to cross the finish line. Scale up and down a 2.6m high container. The volunteer at the top of this Obstacle did come over to where I was ready to grab my hands but I didn’t need his help. But finally i need his help too after pulling me up to the wall. It was nice to have the support though.

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Accomplishment; after successfully passing all the obstacles the participants will be washed down with a sprinkling of colorful powders were sown by the volunteers, fresh towel & pretty girl await in the finish gate. These pretty girls waiting at the finish line to greet the participants who successfully conquered challenge and draping medals directly on the participant’s neck.  I was able to quickly find my friends and other members of participants before grabbing a few free eats (banana and also yoghurt) provided by the race. With the race officially completed I made my way through the festivities which was all part of the Men’s Health Indonesia Urbananthlon 2013 party. It was a nice set up with free banana fruit, shower, local vendors, and the shops present at the race location but no artists hehe..

fresh towel & pretty girl await in the finish gate
fresh towel & pretty girl await in the finish gate

The atmospere was great particularly the girls at the shower trying to convince participants to take our shirts off as we went through the shower area. I have to say it felt a little strange not taking shower..but its okay for those who had a Last chance to shower and show off their 6 packs.

shower time...
shower time…take off shirt and show off 6 packs

I can’t say I have anything specific and exciting to say about the during the race part. It was hot, very sunny, and I felt like the sun was eating me at times. I tried to eat pretzels at two different water stations, but my mouth was so incredibly dry that I had to swish water like mouthwash to swallow. I think I got down only one each time. A highlight was that the water stations had no ICE in the water and they weren’t squeezing big sponges with cold water too on us as the participants came through. This 8+ KM run with lots of intense obstacles was by far the best race I’ve ever done!

All the challenges were easy to navigate even with minimal training, though I guess if you were wanting to do a fantastic time and nail each challenge a bit of cross training a few months out certainly would help. ANNDD part of my addiction to obstacle races is collecting the goodies at the end….. like a tshirt.. or a medal!……This race ROCKED with its intensely challenging course and fun atmosphere. Everyone should do this race!

My Medal
My Medal

This was my first Urbanathlon. It was an extremely well organised event with just the right amount of challenging obstacles to satisfy the ‘urbans’ and challenge the ‘rookies’. The obstacles were a lot of fun – I especially loved the surprise wave at the end and the bins were great fun. Awesome fun! All of the obstacles were suitable for most if not all of the participants and although they were not all obstacles in the true sense. Loved all the obstacles and great views, clearly outlined course and I enjoyed it greatly.. Just looking at the other international Urbanathlons, they seem to have loads more obstacles. Perhaps the organisers could improve on this next year. For the next event I’d love to see a couple of extra and more challenging obstacles, and the option to request to start in a ‘fast’ wave. See you next year, thanks to all the volunteers and organizers for making it possible again here in Indonesia!

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