Malaysia’s citizen runner, Edan Syah, sets a record at his first 60km ultra marathon in the recent Great Ocean Road Running Festival (GORRF) in 4:29:00 time, making him the best performer by an Asian in this event’s ultra marathon distance.
Having trained for five months towards this big day, his efforts has certainly paid off. Edan ran full marathon distance every month as part of his training and while the training took a toll on him as he experienced some injuries a few weeks prior to the race day, he was still determined and committed to recover promptly with the help of professional advice.
“In the days leading up to the run, I have been fortunate enough to acclimatise with the weather, manage my nutrition intake, and carry out my final training from where I stayed, which was the Great Ocean Road Resort that is strategically located at the Gateway to the Great Ocean Road in the seaside town of Anglesea. I was amazed with the natural beauty of this place and with the free roaming kangaroos in the nearby parks. The resort had great facilities from gym, spa to indoor heated pool so I was able to continue my training regime flawlessly,” Edan shared.
He added, “When you train hard, you must also learn to have some down time to allow your body to fully heal before your next intense training. This time, aside from being able to drive along the Great Ocean Road to get familiar with the surroundings, I had the opportunity to enjoy the helicopter ride tour from Port Campbell that flies above the Great Ocean Road for the ultimate overview of it all. Imagine running along such natural wonder and soaking in nature’s best is not only inspiring but surreal – it is finally a reality for me, and getting to see the Twelve Apostles up-close from the top, ticks off one on my bucket list”.
When Edan made the decision to take part in the 60km event, all he wanted to do was to challenge himself to finish the distance and explore his limits after 10 years of running. His goal was to keep his pace and finish strong on race day.
“The course was very challenging with the strong winds and the 6km uphill run on Sunnyside road (the first turn-off) on Mount Sabine. The next uphill climb was at Skeener’s Creek, up Hickey’s Cutting and that was most challenging as the distance by then was at 48km of the run! I must say that the reward of breath-taking views at the U-turns points made it all worthwhile and inspiring. Breaking the tape at the finishing line with the Malaysian flag in my hand, and realising that I am the champion of the 60km ultra marathon run is certainly the cherry on the cake!,” Edan exclaimed as he tried to hold back tears in his eyes.
“I believe attempting your first ultramarathon in GORRF is perfect because when you run such distance, let alone the usual full marathon of 42km, it is rare to be able to have your body in sync with the surrounding without having to feel immense pressure. The scenic route and environment certainly had a calming effect on me in helping me achieve my target today,” Edan shared when asked of his running experience.
The fourteenth edition of the Great Ocean Road Running Festival was certainly bigger and better with record breaking turnout of more than 7,500 participants over the 2 days – May 19 and 20. It attracted many athletes from around the world, all eager to take the course that stretches along the coastal towns across Apollo Bay and Lorne while soaking in some of Australia’s most scenic beaches and breath-taking views.
Participants also enjoyed free access to a range of activities across the weekend from kite festival, live music and yoga sessions featuring a mix of warm up, yin cool down and vinyasa yoga sessions suitable for all levels and abilities.
The Great Ocean Road is an icon in Australia and is renowned throughout the world for its beauty and panoramic views of the Southern Ocean. It has a colourful history surrounding its construction and ultimate destinations along the coastline.
Event Director Marcus Gale said, “This is our biggest Great Ocean Road Running Festival to date and we look forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
Next year’s Great Ocean Road Running Festival will take place on Saturday 18 May and Sunday 19 May 2019. Registrations will be open soon.