In conjunction with Yayasan TM 25th Anniversary, Yayasan TM had organised an International Towerrunning Event – Yayasan TM International Tower Run, in which it was the First International Towerrunning Race to acquire the highest point factor of 120 points in Malaysia to be sanctioned by Towerrunning World Association (TWA) as one of the highlight events under its Towerrunning Tour in 2019. In fact, Yayasan TM International Tower Run was also the only 120 points race in Asia in Towerrunning Tour 2019. This International Towerrunning event was also officially sanctioned by Malaysia Towerrunning Association (MTA) and it was the first ever race that even all the MTA committee members cooperated and worked very closely with them throughout the event to ensure everything was running smoothly.
This event was also the first ever individual flag off for all participants in the history of towerrunning race in Malaysia and it was also featured with competitive mode or non-competitive mode for every participant to do the selection during the registration based on their physical capability. In short, competitive mode meant that the participants would like to complete and fight for a better timing, while the non-competitive mode meant that the participants would just want to complete the race without paying much attention to their time. The race could be categorized into a total of 6 categories which included Men Open, Women Open, Men Veteran, Women Veteran, Men Staff, and Women Staff.
This event also attracted a total of 1,300 Towerrunners from 40 different countries to participate the 1st ever Yayasan TM International Tower Run 2019. The event itself also managed to secured a number of big sponsors in such a short period of time and a token of appreciation should be given to all the sponsors on believing and gave their fully support to towerrunning sport.
Under this 120 points factor race, this event had invited 2 Males and 2 Females from the World Ranking Top 30 to come over and competed in this event. For the International Men Athlete, it was a great pleasure to have World No. 5 – Gorge Heimann from Germany and World No. 9 – Mateusz Marunowski from Poland, while among the International Women Athlete, we had World No. 7 – Ilona Gradus from Poland and World No. 9 – Sonja Shakespeare from Great Britain. On our home ground, we did have our representative, Soh Wai Ching, who’s currently the World No. 2 in the World Ranking and his goal to be here was to defend the title here.
On the race day, the flag off order was arranged according to the World Ranking and followed by local elites based on their previous qualifying results in towerrunning events or running events. Soh Wai Ching was the first elite to be flagged off by the Chief Human Capital Officer – Mr. Farid Bashir and a 15 seconds gap later, followed by Gorge Heimann from Germany, Mateusz Marunowski from Poland, Jeffrey Ross from Great Britain, Saddam Pittli – Southeast Asia Regional Series Elite Mens Ranking No. 1 from Malaysia, Lo Ching Chun from Chinese Taipei, Hillary Kipkeny Koech from Kenya, Chin Hong Zhang, Toh Chin Shian, Low Keng Yik, David Harris from Great Britain and the list went on. A total number of 42 Men’s Elite and 13 Women’s Elite were in the list.
It was a really competitive race as the field was really tense and strong, filled with the specialist and other sporting discipline like Spartan Athlete and Long Distance Runners. The race was flagged off at 7am. With a 15 seconds interval between each towerrunner, it’s equivalent to 2 floors gap between each of them. It was a consistent staircase, 12 steps per flight, 2 flights per floor, all the way to the 54th Floors. There were 2 water stations being set up at 18th Floor and 36th Floor respectively. After a 6 minute few seconds, Wai Ching crossed the finishing line, and at that time, he wasn’t the champion until the other elites were crossing the finishing line as well. The beauty of towerrunning sport was that, you would never know you would win the race until everyone crossed the finishing line and their result was poping out, therefore, you had to keep pushing, put in all the effort, pushed through the barrier until the very moment you came across the finishing line. Gorge Heimann from Germany and Mateusz Marunowski were the 2nd and 3rd towerrunner to cross the finishing line respectively. Yayasan TM Director, Mr. Abdul Hamid draped the finisher medal to each of the participant once they crossed the finishing line.
On the women side, the first one to flag off was Ilona Gradus from Poland, followed by Sonja Shakespeare from Great Britain and our local Champ, Michele Tan, who was the Best Malaysian Women in KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge 2019. The first women who crossed the finishing line was Ilona Gradus from Poland, but not followed by Sonja as Michele Tan overtook her and crossed the finishing line ahead of her. Everyone was really exhausted at the finishing line as all of them took a photo before they went down to the ground floor, to the race village.
The result was being shown at the TM Experience Centre big screen at the ground floor. Wai Ching emerged as the Number 1 at that moment with the time of 6:09 minutes, followed by Gorge Heimann with the time of 6:21 minutes and Mateusz Marunowski was ranked third overall at the moment with the time of 6:22 minutes. Both of them were really closed and in the end the result for Gorge Heimann was 6:21.219 minutes and 6:22.781 minutes for Mateusz Marunowski.
On the women side, it was a much intense and closer fight between Ilona and Michele. Ilona Gradus from Poland ended up winning the race with a merely split millisecond over Michele Tan (8:42.035 minutes for Ilona and 8:42.275 minutes for Michele). Nobody would have known the difference was so closed and this was always the most challenging element in towerrunning sport.
The whole event was well organised as there were marshals being placed in the stairs to ensure the staircase condition was always in good and safe condition for the participants to run up. Water stations were stationed outside the stairs and participants were required to throw away the water cup before they entered to the race course. There were also a lot of sponsored booth being set up at the race village to provide foods and drinks to the participants. We could see everyone was really happy and enjoying the activities, providing with ample foods and drinks over there. Warming up and cooling down sessions were provided as well to ensure all the participants were readily warm up prior to the run and cool down after they completed their climb to 54th Floor.
We asked and interviewed the invitational athlete and 90% of them were happy with the whole event management although there was a hiccup at the timing system, but it was fixed and the timing were all being corrected within a short time.
On the prize giving ceremony, the top 10 towerrunners from each category were awarded with prizes. Overall Top 3 towerrunners for Men and Women would also awarded with a 300, 200, 100 Euro cash accordingly. Due to the 120 point factor race, Wai Ching became the World No. 1 at that moment with the lead of 10 points over Piotr Lobodzinski in TWA Ranking. Whether he would remain to be the World No. 1 or not, it would depend on the Towerrunning Tour Final 2019 at Shanghai Tower International Vertical Marathon.
MTA would also wish to thank everyone for the support in towerrunning sport in Malaysia and we would always do our best to ensure the rules and regulations are being followed by event organiser as the safety of all participants would always be the main priority. We also hoped that each and everyone of you who participated in this event went back with enjoyment and would come back again, and eventually challenge yourself again next year and promoted this sport to all your friends and family. Together we want Malaysian to be healthy and enjoy the towerrunning as one of the greatest sports among all !
Thank you and see you again.