KUCHING: Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is confident that more than 2,000 runners will take part in the Borneo Trail Classic (BTC) at the Kubah National Park from Oct 16 to 17.
“We are expecting as many runners as possible. But if we can hit 2,000, with half of them probably from outside Sarawak, we will be very, very happy.
“We are very optimistic that everything will be alright by August and the runners will be signing up when the organisers launch their website registration next Monday,” he said at the launching of the event in his office at Bangunan Baitulmaknur II in Petra Jaya yesterday.
Abdul Karim was also pleased that Sarawak was the only stop in South-east Asia for the Spartan Trail World Championship.
“This is also a good platform and opportunity to give the participants the confidence to travel here, putting Sarawak on the world map and a travel destination for the trail running sport.
“In Sarawak, we have the best-kept trails – from the lush of the rain forest to the paddy fields, a wide of variety of sceneries and moods, an ‘Instagrammable’ opportunities for racers,” he said.
The Asajaya assemblyman said BTC would give the Sarawakians the opportunity to run alongside world class trail runners, exposing and grooming local athletes to world class standards.
“BTC is not limited to the seasoned runners but it is for anyone and everyone as there are different categories for all different age groups and fitness level.
“Besides benefiting local athletes, this is also a platform to showcase our unique culture and warm hospitality to the world and it provides an opportunity to help revitalise our tourism industry post Covid-19,” said Abdul Karim, who is also Youth and Sports Minister.
Kuching Fitness Association will be collaborating with Sarawak Sports Corporation to organise a series of six free community runs leading up to the main race.
“This will help promote trail running and identify local talents to represent Sarawak and competing against the international trail runners,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kuching Fitness Association president Carter Wei said trail running is one of the fastest-growing sports globally.
“Spartan, the world’s largest endurance brand, had searched all over Asia for the best terrain and community to help build this epic trail event,” he added.
According to Wei, there are 10 stops for the Spartan Trail World Championship series and apart from Sarawak, other stops also include Spain, Italy, Sweden, Argentina, US, Australia and Hong Kong.
Wei also added that Kuching Fitness Association is thrilled to partner with Carus Sports to create the inaugural BTC series event.
The BTC comprises five distances – 7km, 10km, 21km, 50km (Trail Run Championship) and 100km (Trail Ultra Championship).
Racers can register at www.borneotrailclassic.com and the event is jointly organised by Kuching Fitness Association and Spartan Trail and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Also present at the launching were permanent secretary to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hii Chang Kee, the ministry’s head of events section Nasir Lariwoo and Sarawak Sports Corporation chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee.