Word From the RD
The 2nd series of Goat Run 2018, will bring you Gunung Slamet with its pristine beautiful course that will challenge your strength and endurance with 2 racecourses, short and long-distance. Both race courses will take you to the highest location in central Java and the 2nd highest Mountain in Java.
Slamet is one of Java’s active volcanoes and there is almost always lots of gas around at the crater giving you real volcanic experience. The participants will be spoiled with its own beauty from the active volcano in Indonesia. It is also one of the best places to see both the north and south coasts of Java.
Both racecourse offerings running across dense tropical forest, steep and rocky climb to the summit and going through some local farmer plantation with its stunning view of the entire valley. On its clear sunny day, you will be running with Mount Ceremei on your background.
About a month after I finished Rinjani, and it was still like a dream. My body just recovered from the torture and just started running again a few weeks prior to this race. I knew I would not able to put my best run, but I was pretty psyched to run this race. First, I had never hiked this mountain before. Second, a bunch of us rent a Karaoke bus to go to this race, this was something new for me.
Above The Clouds and Voices Behind The Clouds
We started the race a little bit after the Sun up, it was bright enough that we wouldn’t need a headlamp. We turn right on the road after we took off from the race festival area. It was a little uphill and stay on the road for about half a mile or so before we took left on the fork and more uphill.
Soon the road was getting rugged and become rockier than asphalt, and I started running into a single trail dirt trail. We crossed a meadow, plantation, and skimming the edge of tall trees jungle, where the mountain was teasing us from far away. After probably half a mile we went into the jungle that ran on the back of the mountain. Somehow I feel the course was getting steeper the further I hiked. Some of the trails were on steep soft dirt, which was a bit tricky to gain ground. Good lord, I have my Z-poles.
About 4 miles into the race, I reached the Aid Station 1, I checked in and refilled my water. Now the terrain was getting less vegetation and more exposed. When I reached the treeline and started hiked up over the stony trail, I got hit by altitude sickness symptoms. I started moving pretty slow and dumb, also a bit woozy. I stopped for a second to get my bearing back and tried to pull back my soul into my body. Probably. I was starting this race a bit faster than my lungs could handle. This exposed rocky section was not that long before we got into the finer rock section. Though, since I was kinda in this turtle slow zone, it felt like forever. By the end of the hike, there was a super steep trail and I saw there was a rope dangling. I was like hmmm, why there was a rope there. I mustered my energy and do power hike that section as fast as I could, the soonest I passed this short steep hike, the better. At the end of the hike, there were 2 volunteers who were holding the end of the rope, and I asked them what was the rope for, and why they were holding the rope. So, apparently that rope was there to aid the runner to climb. Oh well, I felt cheating anyway if I used it. I got to the top of the crater, not the top of the mountain yet, and was greeted by amazing views. It was not only the view of the valley but also the view of the crater. It was so amazing that I forgot that I had a height-phobia.
I ran around the crater, and went back down into the sea of sharp rocks, it was pretty hard to run on these rocks. I felt like I was running on a pile of giant Lego blocks. After the checkpoint, the 30K runners continued straight on these technical rocks section till I climbed up to the peak of the mountain. When I thought the previous view was amazing, imagine with doubling its awesomeness. It made me want to jump over the cliff and lay down on those clouds around the peak. Here, I met a Japanese runner, we took pictures at the peak, and followed him onto the downhill. The mist/fog from the clouds became so thick, so within a minute, it was hard to see the direction ahead of me, and I lost my sight of the runner in front of me. There was a soldier stood by and guard a dangerous section, he also helped us to follow the direction. I continued following the flag and then the painted-markers on the rocks that have the same color as the flag. The terrain was not only technical, but also it was covered by sand, pebbles, and loose rocks. I fell so many times that it made me think to give up. Luckily I was able to muser myself and refused to listen to that little devil voice on my shoulder. Although, I heard voices like yelling or calling people, yet I could not see where it was coming from. I went down a hundred meters more, where the midst got a little bit less dense, and I could see there was a guy yelling at me across the ridge and told me I was on the wrong path. Unfortunately, I ended up following the wrong trail marker. I had to traverse down and across the pit to reach the next ridge. It took me forever on these loose rocks and some of them were a pretty steep drop.
Finally, I got back to the course, I stopped for a moment to check on my shoes were firm and my shoelaces were tied, since really needed to make up my time. I started to run like a mad man, sliding down on the rocks and jumping around on the side passing slower runner. I remember that on the very steep sandy loose rock I had to jump over a runner since he just stopped suddenly, and I made a Micahel Jackson split when I slid down, luckily no injury, so I continued. It was kinda amused me to witness the army guy’s expression who marshaled at the end of the hill.
Run to The Hill
After this technical section, I entered the forest section. It was a relief where I could pick up my pace. The trail was a decent single-track trail with so much switch back and turning. I had so much fun over this section.
At the junction, the marshal explained to me the direction. I should be finished in no time since all downhill from here. The next section was less fun, it was just a long rocky jeep road. It was not technical enough to make me walk but the rocks were a little loose and angled that I need to slow down to prevent me from breaking my ankles. Probably a mile later, I met the end of the junction that connected to the main road. The marshal directed me to make a right turn. It was a long downhill on the road. It was a good break from the rocks where I could pick up my pace again. After a mile or so, I started to feel the weariness after hitting the gas since the rocky downhill. I welcome the flat section towards the villages, but before I could relieve my fatigue, the course went uphill again. I made a right turn on a three-way junction and heading to the finished line, so the marshal said. I was too proud to back down, to power hike to the finished line. I put on my brave face to keep pushing. Soon I could see the finish line entrance, yet the road was also getting steeper. I sucked it up, hiding behind a smiley face, I kept running till I cross the finish line.
It was A GOOD RACE.