Most people think about buying fast, overly-priced sports cars (or bicycles these days) when it comes to mid-life crisis. Not having the luxury of that, I’ve turned to participating in high-adrenaline, macho, physically challenging events like obstacle races, to serve my adrenaline junkie wanna-be fantasies.
Hence, the promise of rough, tough, military-flavoured Commando Elite Challenge 2015 sounded right up my alley, as I roped in two of buddies for the mission. We expected physically challenging obstacles which would wreck you and have you wishing you had trained up looking like ‘The Rock’, but inspire you to muscle up and toughen up for the next one. But boy oh boy, that still remained a fantasy as we stepped up to the ‘challenge’ but was barely challenged, disappointingly.
Where were all the recruits? There were supposed to be 5 sessions (alpha 7:30, bravo 7:45, charlie 8:00, delta 8:15, eagle 8:30) spread in each of the two days of the Commando Elite Challenge 2015. However, the organizer ended up with just one session per day due to lack of participants which was probably less than 500 on Sunday. Everyone was grouped to start at 7:30am instead.
All the recruits reported for Roll-Call at the Malaysia Agro-Exposition Park, Serdang (MAEPS) in Selangor, located 30 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur. MAEPS is a good venue which has existing off-road trail networks good for trail running and XC mountain biking.
The course was divided into Red and Yellow Zones. Most of the man-made obstacles aka Red Zone (jump hang, star jump, archery, tyre, ice pool, tyre hill, tyre power, barricade hurdle) were only at the end of the route. The Yellow Zone were made of so-called Military Drills (air borne, hill sprint, duck walk, barb wire crawl, plank, front roll, side roll,push up, burpee) were spread out during the trail running.
All the recruits were ordered to get dirty with nature. However, we were expecting to get whip-lashing, tough-notch obstacles and expected the trail to burst our lungs open and have our hearts pumping to the maximum heart rate since the event has the Elite Commando banner to it.
Jump Hang, American Ninja Warrior style
In actual fact, the Commandos were tamed instead and the 15km trail was definitely do-able for recruits who are used to 10km or 21km runs. Obstacle wise, only the ‘Jump Hang’ ( something from American Ninja Warrior) is a little harder as it is new. No event in Malaysia has featured this obstacle before.
Many recruits splashed into the water once they jumped off the trampoline, failing to catch on to the rope net. I managed to catch the netting but alas, I lost my grip and down into the muddy pool I went. The organizers need to make the catchment area deeper as I heard some recruits complained of knocking their heads as they landed.
Another obstacle called the ‘Forward Roll’ had the recruits doing a forward tumble turn, with chin tucked in and getting up in a combat stance. I took the 20 burpee penalty as I didn’t want to risk tumbling on the rocks.
Step it up, Commando!
The rest of the red and yellow zone obstacles were easy if you’ve trained up for this event, attend bootcamps or gyms, or have good fitness. I was disappointed as I was expecting the monkey bars, 8 foot great wall for a physical challenge.
Along the course, water and 100+ was aplenty at the Refill Stations. There were also medics stationed midway on the trails. Disappointingly, the organizers and volunteers were dressed in a tame yellow shirt with the tiger logo at the front, when we were expecting them to keep up with the Military theme in camouflage military attire and war-painted faces.
Broken promises does not a commando maketh
Obstacles such as the 8 foot great wall, monkey bar, river crawl, slider and fast lane rope climb were not there. This was initially part of the promotion during the registration for the event. We were also expecting dri-fit material finisher shirt to be from Inov-8 rather than some unknown label.
The registration fee of RM86-155 would have been reasonable if the organisers fulfilled their initial promises. Every finisher received a T-Shirt, medal, 2 sachets of protein powder, RM100 voucher from KeyFitness, free 5 day pass from Celebrity Fitness and ice cream Drumsticks from Nestle. Guiness Malta was the main drink sponsor.
I would’t join this event again unless there is some new serious improvement with the challenges. However, I would recommend this event for others who enjoy trail running with a bit of additional physical challenge. Obstacle racing is a growing genre so I hope more organizers will try to upgrade their events this year to be more like Spartan Race or Tough Mudder.
Since this was not a timed event or competition, there were lucky draws at certain time of the day with goodie bags sponsored by Perskindol. Inov-8, Perskindol ,Tix tax, MAEPS, Running Malaysia, Guiness Malta, Everest Mints, Nu Skin, BP, Kaz, RHR hotel, XCape Resort were among the sponsors for this event.
For more info on upcoming events on Commando Elite Challenge, visit their Facebook page. #commandoelitechallenge
To view more photos on the Commando Elite Challenge on Running Malaysia, click here.
More about the author
Cereal Buff is currently doing his PhD in mid-life crisis management. He’s often into santai-santai rides or runs and sometimes turns into a weekend adrenaline junkie wannabe.