The Race

The Compressport TMBT Ultra-Trail® Marathon 2017 will be organized on Saturday, 16th September and Sunday, 17th September, 2017.

The TMBT is Malaysia's oldest Ultra-Trail® Marathon with the inaugural race held in 2011. The acronym stands for "The Most Beautiful Thing", and makes reference to the iconic Mount Kinabalu, which at 4,100 m is one of Southeast Asia's highest peaks and world heritage site. The TMBT course is set over the ridges and river valleys around the base of Mt. Kinabalu, with the highest elevation on the race course just under 2000m.

The event takes runners from the native villages at the foothills on the western side of Mount Kinabalu towards the Southern side of mountain with the 30k and 50k categories finishing at the viewpoint to Mt. Kinabalu at the town of Pekan Nabalu. The 100k category continues around the base of Mount Kinabalu and to the South-Eastern ridges of Mount Kinabalu to finish in the village of Kundasang.

The routes are challenging but beautiful and give runners an opportunity to experience remote villages and follow village trails through a varied landscape of forest, paddy fields and over steep ridges clad in pineapples and with amazing views to Mt. Kinabalu and over the surrounding ridges and valleys often shrouded in clouds. The trails cross numerous streams with refreshing water on a hot day, while most larger rivers are crossed via hanging, bamboo or log bridges. Part of the trails follow the old heritage trails that used to be a part of the old buffalo trading routes linking villagers from Kota Belud to Bundu Tuhan.

The race has a reputation for being challenging to complete with a combination of steep terrain and technical trail sections, and the weather usually being hot in the first part of the day with a good chance of tropical showers in the afternoon.    

Race Categories

The 7th version of the TMBT Ultra-Trail® Marathon will include 4 distance categories ranging from 12 km to 100 km. The 12 km category is designed to allow newcomers experience the thrills of trail running. The 30 km and 50 km categories are designed for intermediate trail runners while the full 100 km category is catering for experienced trail runners.

The 2017 routes will be similar to the 2016 routes shown under "Route Profile", although some course optimization to the start as well as the finish for the 30 km and 50 km course are anticipated to avoid the slippery conditions experienced in the 2016 race. A brief outline of the race courses is provided below.

All race courses start at the same location, staggered in time to reduce trail congestion.

The 12 km category will get a taste of a bit of everything with a steep uphill on gravel and sealed road with good views to the rugged western flank of Mt. Kinabalu, scarred by massive landslides following the 2015 earthquake that shook the mountain. This will be followed by a continued climb on narrow trails through forest and plantations, before a long downhill section on trails to pass through the small village of Bundu Paka. This is followed by crossings of the Kadamaian river via hanging bridges before a short but steep ascent and descent to cross a tributary to the main river. This is the largest river crossing on the entire course which does not have a bridge. A rope and safety personnel will be on hand to guide the crossing, which may involve anything from ankle to thigh deep water, depending on weather conditions leading up to and during the race. The river crossing will be followed by another small climb and then a gradual descent to follow the main river alongside beautiful paddy fields to finish at Tambatuan.

The other race categories continue from Tambatuan through paddy fields before climbing a small ridge and following a narrow trail with steep drops down to the river below. Several stream crossings offer opportunities to cool of on a hot day with the trail continuing through a combination of forest, fields and plantations, eventually emerging on a dirt road that leads upriver in the valley to climb to the village of Lobong Lobong, nestled on the ridgeline above a river confluence. From Lobong Lobong, a short steep descent will take participants back down across the river. Here the 30 km categories separates from the 50 km and 100 km categories to follow a gravel road up to Kg. Kiau Bersatu. A steep trail leads down to cross the Kadamain river, followed by a steep ascent to finish at Pekan Nabalu.

The 50 km and 100 km turn upriver at the river crossing after Lobong Lobong and soon start the long climb that leads up to the infamous pineapple ridge with spectacular views to the steep southern face of Mt. Kinabalu with tumbling water falls as well as over the surrounding ridges and valleys. Entrepreneurial villages may have carried soft drinks all the way to the top of the ridge and set up shop for the day - so bring some small cash. Most participants would die for a cold, sugary drink at the top of the ridge ....   A gradual descent and contouring around the side of the ridges leads to the village of Kiau Nulu, where the 50 km and 100 km courses separate.

The 50 km course follows another ridgeline back downwards to emerge on the gravel road to Kiau Bersatu where they will rejoin the 30 km course to the initial descent and then steep ascent to finish at the viewpoint at Pekan Nabalu.

The 100 km course follows a combination of trails and gravel and sealed roads to reach the half-way point at the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort and Spa (formerly Perkasa) on the top of a hill overlooking Kundasang. The second part of the 100 km course brings competitors via a combination of trails and rough roads up to the vegetable farming areas at Mesilau. The "vegetable patch", infamous for potential muddy and slippery trails and tracks, leads to the highest point of the course up close to the eastern ridge of Mt. Kinabalu. From there, a long gradual descent over a combination of dirt tracks, sealed road and trails lead to the last river crossing before the last 700m climb to the finish line back at Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort and Spa.

ITRA ratings

The 100k, 50k & 30k categories are ITRA rated and qualifying races for UTMB 2018.

 

Entry Fees & Entitlements

For entry fees and entitlements, please refer to the Registration page.

Transport & Logistics

The start area is relatively remote with no easy access via public transport and no accommodation except limited homestay and camping. For self-drive to the start apart from the 12 km course, please be aware that the finish lines are a significant drive from the start area, and again with very difficult access via public transport. For those driving to the start, we encourage car pooling to avoid congestion with parked cars. There will be a minibus service to bring 12 km competitors from the finish line back to the start area for those who have own transport.

As a consequence of the limited access, an option of bus transport from Kota Kinabalu to the start line and from the finish line back to Kota Kinabalu is offered. This needs to be booked and paid via the Racematix registration well in advance of the race (preferably together with the registration). The bus trip to the start line will take in the order of 1.5 to 2 hours. Provisional bus departure times are listed below. These may be adjusted if required to suit any adjustments of the starting times of the different categories.

The optional bus fare is RM 50 each way to be booked via Racematix.

The return trips from the finish lines will run through the day. Please be prepared for some waiting time as the buses fill up.

Please note that the return buses will not run through the night due to safety concerns and past experience. The last bus to Kota Kinabalu will leave between 11 pm and midnight. All 12k, 30k and 50k competitors should be able to catch the buses back to Kota Kinabalu, unless they want to proceed to the Kundasang area to stay overnight and watch the 100 k finish during the next day and/or have a relaxing rest-day in the coolness of the mountain highlands.

Except for the top runners in the 100 km category who may be able to catch a bus back to Kota Kinabalu on Saturday night, the majority of the competitors will either be continuing the race through the night on the course or finish during the night. There is no accommodation provided at the finish line, and for competitors who expect to finish during the night we recommend to book accommodation in advance. There is a range of accommodation options available both at and within a 5 km distance from the finish line. A shuttle bus will be provided for those who book accommodation within a 5 km distance from the finish line. A list of accommodation will be developed and provided. 

Itinerary

A preliminary itinerary is outlined below. This is subject to further detailing and potential changes as the detailed planning progresses.

Race Pack Collection

Please note:  

  • All participants must pick up the race pack in person and bring identification for verification
  • Please bring copy of MYKAD or passport

  • An indemnity release form must be signed. The form will be provided for downloading and can be filled out in advance but must be signed at the office. 

  • Please bring compulsory equipment for inspection 

  Race Pack collection will be held in the Borneo Ultra Trails office in Metro Town (see office location on map below) per the schedule provided in table below.   

Date

Time

Who

Location

Saturday 9th  September

Sunday 10th  September

 10 am – 5 pm

All competitors

Borneo Ultra Trails office

2nd Floor, Unit 1, Block F,

Metro Town

Jalan Bunga Ulam Raja

Coordinates:

 5°58'34.93"N  116° 6'43.60"E

Wednesday 13th September Thursday 14th September

 11 am -  6 pm

Friday 15th  September

 10 am - 3 pm

Out of state arrivals