Monday, October 29, 2018

Inaugural Brunei Marathon Swim on 21 Oct 2018

My first ever trip to Brunei.
It took a swimming event for me to finally make a trip there. No regrets, all of us four swimmers that made the trip from Kuala Lumpur will most probably return.

Getting there, hotel, internal transport
SUPER CONVENIENT as Brunei is an international airport. Flight time is roughly 2 hours 20 mins from KL. Return air-fare on Air Asia was RM 260 (even cheaper than flying to many local destinations).

Brunei Airport is only 15 minutes from the official hotel (Mulia Hotel) or the race venue (Berakas Forest Reserve Recreational Park) and they were waiting for you at the airport!!!

Race pack collection and a very professional briefing was held at the official Mulia Hotel. Transport (a mini bus just for us) was also provided if you stayed at Mulia Hotel. Plus I found Mulia Hotel to be an excellent hotel, so it really is a good idea to stay there.
A professional race briefing

Visiting the race venue

When we wanted to visit the race venue, the organizer himself took us there and when we wanted to go grocery shopping, it was Huzaime Abbas again. He even contributed the coins to pay for the water.

Everything was close together that even after our  race day swims, we were able to get back to the hotel in time for the buffet breakfast (10.30 a.m.). How cool was that!! But next time they will get the swim distance correct and I won't be able to get back in time for the buffet breakfast.

First impressions of Brunei
It is a developed and peaceful country. People are incredibly hospitable. Everyone was nice to us at the airport,  hotel, race pack collection, during briefing etc. Our personal friends wanted to take us out, but it was a short trip.

We feel the people are happy and well educated.

A lady also inadvertently left her purse on a table that a group of us were sitting at.  She drove off, came back, it was still there, alhamdullilah she exclaimed. So they are honest too.

They are sporty
I understand the country officially encourages sport. We could see runners running near the stadium, cyclists on the roads (some cycled to the event) and there was a public pool right next to our hotel. 

At the showers after the swim, they were casually talking about the triathlons they had done and the places they mentioned was quite mind boggling (Cork - Ireland, Florida, North Carolina, Switzerland etc). I guess the country has done well.

Race Venue
Held at the beach of the Berakas Forest Reserve Recreational Park. Its quite an interesting Forest Reserve with places to picnic, change, surau etc.

The beach faces the open sea, i.e. its not protected by a bay, marina etc. When we went on Saturday evening, the currents and waves looked quite strong.

The beach and park is clean.

Race Course
It was a good idea to make the "10 km", 4 laps of 2.5km. Its easier to control and keeps swimmers close to the shore.

Very experienced swimmer, Jose could straight away tell that each lap was not even 2 km long. He was correct.

Feeding was near a turnaround buoy close to the shore, every 2.5 km. A few officials would stand in waist deep water handing out nutrition. I liked this as swimmers could stand  to drink and down their gels.

Actual Swim
Four stooges from KL

The "10km" started at 7.00 a.m. It was drizzling lightly the whole morning and the sea was quite calm. All the buoys were quite visible and I noticed that one could swim in a reasonable straight line without sighting often.

The first lap was only 1.7km on my Garmin 935. The total after 4 laps was only 7 km, so we could have gone another 2 laps to make it closer to 10 km.
Job done

I'm not complaining, this was the first long distance international swim in Brunei and we all knew a lot of effort by many sports enthusiasts had been put in.

Goodies for swimmers
All swimmers received two T shirts, medal, towel, bag etc.
10 km podium finishers also received Brunei Dollars 300, 250 or 200 for third placing.
We missed the actual prize giving, sorry

Brunei Marathon Swim 2018 Race Info

Brunei Marathon Swim 2018 Results

Instagram / Photos of event etc

Will we return?
For sure. THANK YOU to Huzaime Abbas and Race Director, Faizal and the huge team supporting them.

I think this event will be attractive for swimmers coming from Singapore as its only one flight stop away and internal transport is provided.

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