Race Report: Terengganu Drawbridge Tower Run

Race Report: Terengganu Drawbridge Tower Run

event info

Date & Time: 31st Dec 2019, 8pm

Venue: Terengganu Drawbridge at Kuala Terengganu

Racecourse: 56 Meters Elevation Gain, 405 Steps,

Point Factor: 40 Points under TWA

Organizer: JK 9 Event Management

Contact Person: Mr. Bert

Email: jk9.event@gmail.com

Hosted by: TI Properties SDN BHD

Timing Chip Service Provider: Championchip Malaysia

Total Number of Participants: 523

Objective: Event by Ministry of Terengganu to promote Terengganu Drawbridge and Countdown to New Year 2020.


In conjunction with New Year Eve 2019 and to welcome Year 2020, Tourism Malaysia had announced previously that year 2020 held a special place in the heart of every Malaysian, with VMY 2020 would set to become a festive year-long event.

It was a new race format being introduced into this event and it was unique as compared with other traditional towerrunning races in Malaysia. This race started off at the deck under the Kuala Terengganu Drawbridege and featured a 405 Steps (56 Meters Elevation Gain) on a square shape stair up to the Observation Deck of the DrawBridge. The top contenders of this race required to run up a maximum of 5 times to be on the podium.

All participants must run at their best effort for the first round in order to qualify themselves to the Top 16. An estimated of 2 hours was taken to complete the first round for both Men’s and Women’s category due to the huge number of participants and all the participants were being individually flagged off with 5 seconds interval. The timing chip service provider had to ensure that all the participants finished the their first round then only they could filter and identify the Top 16. 

Based on the timing chip nett time, the Top 16 from the first round would be selected to be qualified  into the Round 2 and the Knockout (KO) mode began. The arrangement of the KO mode would be as the following: 1st VS 16th, 2nd VS 15th, 3rd VS 14th, 4th VS 13th, 5th VS 12th, 6th VS 11th, 7th VS 10th, and 8th VS 9th. During this KO mode, the slower runner from the pair would be started off first with 5 seconds ahead of the rival. The rival must close the gap between the slower towerrunner or overtake him in order to qualify for the next round. A faster chip time between the pair would be selected and qualified into Quarter Final (QF). Note that from Round 2 (Top 16) onwards (KO Mode), it was not the Top 8 Fastest Towerrunners among the 16 Towerrunners who would qualify to the QF, but the one who beat their rival would be qualified. This meant that as long as the towerrunner who beat his rival in the one-on-one duel, he was still able to qualify to the QF even though his timing was not the Top 8 Fastest Time among the 16 Towerrunners. The rest time between each round were getting shorter and shorter as the number of towerrunners were getting lesser and lesser.

In the Semi Final (SF), towerrunners would then be arranged according to their chip time from the Round 2 (Top 16), whereby the 1st VS 8th, 2nd VS 7th, 3rd VS 6th, and 4th VS 5th. Same format was being applied here as well, whereby the slower runner from the pair would be started off with 5 seconds ahead of the rival, the rival must close the gap between them or overtake him to qualify to Semi-Final. A faster chip time between the pair would be selected and qualify to SF.

In the SF, it would be 1st VS 4th, and 2nd VS 3rd. Same format was applied here as well. Then in the Final, the Overall Champion Match would be 1st VS 2nd while for the 3rd Placing Match, it would be 3rd VS 4th with the same format being applied here. Therefore, in the end, the Top 4 Towerrunners were required to run a total of 5 times up to the observation deck with a shorter rest time between each round up to the Final. It was an intense race even though the racecourse was only consisting of 405 steps but running it 5 times up was almost equivalent to running up the KL Tower.

This race featured our World Class Towerrunner – Soh Wai Ching, who was currently ranked No. 1 in Asia and No. 2 in the World. Other than Soh Wai Ching himself, the race featured local top towerrunner Low Keng Yik, where he is currently ranked 77th in the World. Local strong runners like Nurhafizi and Zulhelmy were also taking part in this event.  

Here was the race recap for Men side, a total of 243 Men completed the first round of running up the first round. From the Top 16 Qualifier result, we do have Wai Ching leading the race with a time of 1:34.4 minutes (New Course Record), Keng Yik in the 2nd place with a time of 1:37.5 minutes and followed by local runners Nurhafizi and Zulhelmy, whereby both of them clocked a 1:40.1 and 1:40.8 minutes respectively while the 16th Fastest Men completed in 2:00.6 minutes.

With about 2.5 hours break between the Round 1 and Round 2 (Top 16), all the qualified Towerrunners went and warmed up again and prepared for it. Everybody was thinking of some strategy on how to qualify to the following rounds and still being able to give their best effort on the following rounds. Some of them were thinking that they had to keep going all out to knockout their rival and did their best to avoid racing with Wai Ching while some were thinking that they should reserve their energy and closed the gap with their rival and knockout their rival with a small margin just to qualify to the next round and still being able to push harder since they had the energy reserve.  

After about 25 minutes, the race continued with Top 16 round, Wai Ching won his match effortlessly as his rival DNS, but he still put in a hard effort and aimed to win the overall fastest time this round. He clocked a 1:36.0 minutes, 1.6 seconds slower compared to his first run but top the list once again. Keng Yik beat his rival and qualified to the QF with the time of 1:36.6 minutes, which was just 0.6 seconds behind Wai Ching. The next runner who came back overall 3rd placing in Top 16 round was Shahrul Nizam with a time of 1:37.1minutes. The 4th fastest towerrunner was the local runner who was mentioned previously, Zulhelmy, who completed it with a time of 1:38.4 min and followed closely by 5th and 6th fastest runner with the same time 1:38.5 minutes. Everyone was putting in a solid performance here as there were a total of 7 towerrunners who clocked sub 1:40 minutes compared to only 2 towerrunners in their first run.

In less than 20 minutes break, here came to the QF. It was an intense round, whereby Wai Ching renewed the course record again and completed the course with a time of 1:30.8 minutes and he had a tough fight with his rival whereby his rival completed the course in 1:33.8 minutes. On this match, Wai Ching was working hard to overtake his rival, Muhammad Afiq but he only managed to close the gap and could not overtake him at the end of the course. Meanwhile, Afiq was being able to push his limit to the next level and gave his best effort as he got chased by Wai Ching with a 5 seconds gap.  

While on the other hand, Keng Yik did very well and ran a super quick time, renewed the previous course record (1:34.4 min) as well with 1:31.3 minute, just 0.5 second behind Wai Ching and beat his rival with a 10 second margin. Local runner, Nurhafizi had a tough fight and he managed to outrun his rival although he started first on this match and clocked a time of 1:40.8 minutes, while Zulhelmy won it comfortably and was able to reserve his energy for next round as he clocked a time of 1:56.4 min and beat his rival effortlessly.

With about 17 minutes break, in SF, Wai Ching would be racing against Zulhelmy, while Keng Yik would be racing against Nurhafizi. Wai Ching beat Zulhelmy comfortably with a time of 1:34.4 minutes as Zulhelmy suffered cramp and finished the course with a time of 2:14.5 minutes. On the other match, Keng Yik had a good fight with his rival Nurhafizi although he was not able to overtake him in the end but he stayed very closed behind his rival, Nurhafizi all the time and resulted in a time of 1:48.8 minutes for Keng Yik and 1:53.2 minutes for Nurhafizi.

After about 17 minutes break from SF, here came to the most exciting match in the Men’s Final. This round, we would see Wai Ching VS Keng Yik for the Champion position, while Nurhafizi VS Zulhelmy for the 3rd placing position. For the 3rd Placing Match, Zulhelmy was being flagged off first and he quickly picked up his pace, while his rival Nurhafizi sprinted up right from the start. Nurhafizi managed to overtake Zulhelmy and crossed the finishing line ahead of Zulhelmy, but what was more exciting was that Keng Yik was being flagged off 10 seconds after their match followed closely by Wai Ching with a 5 seconds right after, Wai Ching gave his best effort, dug deep, and sprinted up the full course, overtook everyone and crossed the finishing line FIRST in a record breaking time 1:27.9 minutes (A Sub-90 seconds where that was what Wai Ching aimed for). After Wai Ching completed his final run-up, it was Nurhafizi who came back and clocked a time of 1:56 minutes and Zulhelmy next in less than 10 seconds with a time of 2:06.4 minutes. Both of them slowed down quite a lot due to their early sprint up and could not sustain the speed and therefore their pace dropped drastically and with that Wai Ching had the motivation to pick up the gear and overtook both of them and hit his best time, also a New Course Record. On the other hand, Keng Yik did his best to sprint from the very beginning, trying to pull away from Wai Ching, but right after his sprint, he suffered serious cramp on both his thigh and could only drag himself slowly up to the finishing line, therefore he only crossed the finishing line about a minute a half after Zulhelmy.  

On the Women side, there were a total of 113 Women completed the tower run. The race featured Michele Tan, who was currently Rank 20th in the World Ranking and Teh Mu Min, who was the upcoming rising star among women towerrunners.

*From the first run, there was an error as the first women – Norazila’s bib was run by a man.

On the First Run, Michele Tan took the overall lead and ran a time of 2:18.7 minutes and created a New Course Record, while Teh Mu Min came back second with a time of 2:22.8 minutes and followed by Noorliza with a time of 2:36.3 minutes and 0.2 second later it was Wan Mahirah, with a time of 2:36.5 minutes.

*From the Top 16 Run, there were only 12 towerrunners turned up.

After about 2.5 hours break, here came to the Top 16 Run. Out of the 12 towerrunners, 9 of them broke the 3-minutes barrier and 11 of them improved their time from the first run. Both Michele Tan and Mu Min ran a fast time, clocking at 2:06.4 minutes and 2:11.9 minutes, respectively. Both of these timings renewed the previous Course Record created from the First Run by Michele Tan (2:18.7 minutes) and now the New Course Record was refreshed down to 2:06.4 minutes done by Michele Tan. Noorliza also managed to drop her time to a sub 2:30 minutes as previously she ran a 2:36.3 minutes.

After about 20 minutes break, in the QF, this time Mu Min took the overall lead with a 0.3 seconds ahead of Michele Tan with a time of 2:13.4 minutes and 2:13.7 minutes respectively. Both have a huge gap with the following towerrunners Noorliza, Wan Mahirah and others.

After about 15 minutes break, here comes the SF. Mu Min took the lead for the second time and this time she widened the gap to 3 seconds with a time of 2:15.9 minutes and Michele clocked a 2:18.9 minutes. Both had a comfortable lead over their rivals and it would be a great showdown in the final.

After about 17 minutes, here came to the most exciting fight between Mu Min and Michele as both lead twice from the previous four runs. Both Wan Mahirah and Noorliza were competing for 3rd placing, and Wan Mahirah was being flagged off first and then Noorliza after 5 seconds. Michele Tan was being flagged off first after 10 seconds from the 3rd placing match and followed by Mu Min as the Final towerrunner to run up the drawbridge of the day. Both Michele and Mu Min had overtaken both Wan Mahirah and Noorliza throughout the run up. Mu Min did her best trying to close the gap, while Michele pushed hard trying to pull the gap. At the end, it was Michele Tan who crossed the finishing line first and the clock started tickling, counting down 5 seconds to see whether Mu Min was able to come in within that 5 seconds gap and so Mu Min came and crossed the finishing line. They both clocked a similar time and we did not know who was going to be the winner until all of us went down to the ground floor to find out from the organizer awating for the latest result. Noorliza emerged as the 3rd placing winner with the time of 3:05.9 minutes, while Wan Mahirah clocked a 4:05.3 minutes and both were fully exhausted. The organizer announced that it was Michele who won the race with a merely 0.2 second ahead of Mu Min with the time of 2:02.8 minutes and 2:03.0 minutes, respectively. It was a really tough fight as both of them really went all out throughout the race and we would like to congratulate Michele Tan for being able to renew the Course Record once again and the Course Record was now 2:02.8 minutes.

After the race, the event continued for the road running part whereby there were two distance running categories, 3km, and 8km run. After the run, there were fireworks to countdown for the New Year 2020!