Monday, November 11, 2013

Race Report: Salomon X-Trail 2013

My 3rd barefoot race, and the first one on trail. The decision to barefoot on this event is mainly just for fun. I didn’t put in any training on trail and my last trail run was January 2011 (was only less than 2km on trail plus other in Lake Garden area, in a Cross Country event by FTAAA KL), it’s not even in my blog :P  I don’t have any target, just planned to have some fun and play with some mud.

It was hot in Saturday, but the early morning rain before the race start made the race more interesting. Arrived the MAEPS site around 6:20am, and it already packed with runners. Preparation was simple, just took off the sandal and walked to the starting point. Hang around the area to chatted with some other barefooters (I am not the only crazy one in this race) before we headed to the flag off point. Flagged off on time and we are heading towards the trail which is about 1.5km away. I just kept a comfortable 6.5 min pace.

Once I entered the trail, ops, I felt regretted to barefoot as there is a trail filled with lots of stones & pebbles. No choice but to slow down to brisk walking and needed to be mindful to put down every step. Lots of runners overtook me, I started to get used to this humble feeling. I only ran when the trail surface is dirt, mud or grass. Uphill is relatively easy for barefoot, but descending on the stones/pebbles filled trail barefoot is really painful. So most of the time I did the reverse compared to other runners, running uphill, walking down hill. The pace is awful 10-11min walking pace for that whole 4km trail section.

Finally the trail ended at about 6km mark. All runners heading back to the finish line via tarmac. I slowly pick up some speed here and finish the under distances (7.18km only) race with 1:09. Luck, no damage on both soles (only the usual water blisters formed and gone).
Thanks Dexter for the nice photo towards the finish line.
Overall the race is very well organized. Organizer and volunteers did great to make this happened and everyone had fun. Overhead some one said the route cut short due to rain and some section is not safe to run. It will be great if the organizer can announced up front the short in distances.

With out sufficient trail training and the race was jam-packed with another thousand plus runners on the trail, I don’t think I could run any faster even if I went in with VFF/sandal, hence the decision to play with barefoot still a great choice. With this race, at least I confirmed that I am not really for trail running (at least at this point of time, hard to say never especially after you read the story about the road racing Carboman Jamie also started flying over those trails).

No matter on what surface, keep running :)


  1. Congrats Neoh on your first BF trail run. :)

  2. Good job though, Neoh. Barefooting is already tough and doing it on trails is even worse!

    1. Thanks! Back in my home town (Menglembu) there is a very nice dirt trail which is barefoot friendly. Been very ling since I last running on it. Must try it out again one day.