Brunei Darussalam produced an impressive showing in the inaugural Spartan Race Stadion Johor 2022 after winning two bronze medals in Johor, Malaysia yesterday.
Local obstacle course racing competitor Nur Afiqah binti Hanapi secured bronze in the 18-24 Years Age Group with a time of 1:06:07 while her compatriot Hajah Sophinawati binti Haji Suhaili secured bronze in the 50-54 Years Age Group with a time of 1:04:37.
The Johor meet marked the first time that both participants secured a podium finish at the highly-prestigious obstacle course racing event – billed as one of the most demanding races in the world.
Nur Afiqah said, “I did not expect to be on the podium because there were so many girls in front of me.”
She continued, “But I overtook them during the monkey bar and ring transfer obstacles.”
The 24-year-old said one of the challenging parts of the race involved running into a long stairway inside the stadium during the 2.5-kilometre stretch.
“I saw one of the participants from Brunei and cheered me on. I would like also like to thank my family and friends who were there throughout my journey.”
The monkey bar obstacle – which requires a participant to move by hanging from one bar to another by using strength especially arms and shoulders – helped her chase the leading group.
Nur Afiqah is also the youngest obstacle course racing competitor.
Meanwhile, Hajah Sophinawati said, “The podium finish was not expected as the only reason I joined the age group for 50 years was to race early.”
She added, “It was a fast-paced race, being in the stadium, which tested my running stamina than the obstacles, which were bearable.”
“I also developed leg cramps on reaching the finishing line, which was a challenge and had to force myself to cross it despite the pain. Overall, it was a truly worthwhile experience indeed, especially after years of training at Helmi Abdullah Fitness (HAF).”
She also advised aspiring enthusiasts to keep pushing on their training and that age is just a number.
Meanwhile, one of the seasoned local participants Muhd Ariff bin Haji Abdul Majid posted his best finish in 11th place with a time of 54 minutes after 32 races.
He said, “I live by the Spartan ethos ever since I first began my fitness journey in 2017. I believe in the saying ‘run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must and; just never give up’.”
The sprint event covered five kilometres with participants required to complete 20 obstacles including wall jumps at various heights, Hercules Hoist, Atlas Carry, Jerry Can and barbed wire crawl.
Failure to complete the obstacle results in participants having to carry out a penalty of 15 burpees.
A total of 25 Bruneians competed in the event.