SEFLI Ahar of Brunei notched yet another record-breaking triumph at the trail running competition under the Asia Trail Master (ATM) Championship in Indonesia.
He entered the 102km category of the Bromo Tengger Semeru Ultra Run, East Java, Indonesia, alongside 155 participants made up of 14 nationalities, four others of whom are Bruneians.
In total, 995 people participated in the event, split into the 30km, 70km, 102km and 170km categories.
“At the start of the race, I was with the lead runner from France. We both got lost at the 10km point due to poor marking, but managed to get back on track together at Ranau Pane, which is around the 18km mark. It was here that I started to experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness. I faced difficulty breathing from a lack of oxygen at the high altitude of 2,400m.
“This continued until the 38km mark, where I experienced a mental wall several times – I wanted to DNF (Did not finish) at Ranu Kumbolo, but I overcame it by thinking of my loved ones, family, relatives and supporters back home.
“I maintained my lead between positions one and two throughout the race. When I hit the 63km point at Mountain Bromo, another challenge surfaced. The gas from the active volcano made it difficult for me to breath throughout this section of the race. There was also the loose sand of the volcano’s soil that I had to deal with.
“It was a beautiful scene to be on the crater of the volcano. This is where I overtook the lead runner as the sun was out and weather was hot, ideal to my normal running conditions. The lead French runner gave in at Bromo due to blisters. It was here that I took the lead and finished the race first.
“I would like to thank my loved ones, my wife and son, sponsors, Skechers Brunei, the Royal Brunei Police Force and all my supporters for giving me the opportunity and believing in me and I hope to bring the champion of the ATM to Brunei,” Sefli said.
Sefli finished at a total time of 19:06:13hr, breaking the previous record for the same route by 1hr 45mins (by Andrew Coats of United Kingdom in 2016). The first runner up, from Australia, finished at 20:29:13hr. Of the 155 participants, only 69 completed the route this year.
This is Sefli’s third win of this year under the ATM championship, which includes Brunei’s Beach Bunch’s Trail Challenge (1st) and Malaysia’s The Magnificient Merapoh Trail (1st). Under the championship, Sefli is currently with 1,550 points and ranked eighth with the latest win. This win will bring him closer as the champion under ATM, where the best five results are taken into account for the final points.
His next race will be at Clark-Miyamat Falls Trail Ultra in the Philippines at the end of November, and the final deciding factor race in Japan’s Izu Trail Journey in mid December.
The Bromo Tengger Semeru Ultra Run race is a trail race affording participants the magnificent natural beauty and environment of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java – Indonesia at various altitudes.
Running through the high altitude region of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, participants experience tracks with various sceneries in the background, such as sea of volcanic sand (2,200 masl) with low temperature and strong wind. They also run through rural back roads, forest path and prairie with a distant majestic view of the highest mountain in Java, Mount Semeru (3,676 masl) and the tranquility of Lake Ranu Kumbolo (2,400 masl).