Sometimes, we hear that running event organisers are “in it” just for the money – that they do not run, do not know what runners want, and what have you. But for Ewegene Tan, the 46-year old Taiping-born who organises the Malaysia Mountain Trail Festival (MMTF), this is one hardcore runner who completed both the Tor Des Geants 2019 and Berghaus Dragons Back Race in 2019.
Other than being a Race Director, Ewegene also runs his family’s textile business, and runs “to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to attain ME and MYSELF time”. He started running at age 13 but stopped due to studies and work commitments, and picked it up again only in 2010.
Steeped not only with history but beautifully lush green running spots, Ewegene shared with ToughASIA his top picks for running in Taiping, Perak.
1. Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut) in Taiping, Perak
- One may drive to the foothill of Maxwell Hill located near the Taiping Lake Garden.
- Starting from foothill of Maxwell Hill, one may decide if one would like to hike up to the summit using the asphalt, the trails or a mixture of asphalt and trails.
- Via road to summit– 13KM; Via trails from Indian Temple to Box Bungalow – 11KM; Via mixture of asphalt and trails – 6KM up to 1006m above sea level.
- The least technical route would be via the asphalt with shelters at KM1.4, KM2.5, KM3.2, KM3.8, KM5.6, KM8 and KM9.5; There is only 1 shelter at Box Bungalow if one choose the trail option from Indian Temple and there is 2 shelter for the mix asphalt-trail route at Hut 3 (3.2KM from foot of hill) and Hut 4 (8KM from foot of hill)
- The gate to Maxwell Hill opens daily from 5.00am onwards.
- Expect high number of visitors to Maxwell Hill on weekends with lower numbers on weekdays and early afternoon.
- Depending on what you plan to do, always prepare sufficient water, solid food, basic first aid kit (especially if you are going up the trails), change of clothes to keep you dry and mobile phones.
2. Lake Gardens in Taiping, Perak
- Taiping Lake Gardens has been sculptured from ex-mining ponds located in the town center. You may walk there if you are staying in town or you may drive there if you staying elsewhere in Taiping.
- You can either run in loops around the lakes on the road (3.3KM loop, 5KM loop, 6KM loop, 7.5KM loop or 10KM loop) or you may choose to run on the grass.
- The typical loop around the Taiping Lake Gardens measures 3.3KM.
- There are shelters scattered around the Lake Garden.
- The Lake Garden is never closed.
- The visitor number is high every morning, especially on weekends.
- A good pair of road shoes, a change of clothes for after the run and some loose change if you need to buy anything from the stalls around the Lake Gardens.
3. Gunung Semanggol in Taiping, Perak
- Situated in Semanggol, some 20-30 mins drive from Taiping town.
- Park your car at the mosque and run/ walk to the trail head.
- 100% trail from trail head to the peak (3KM).
- No shelter but get a 360 view of Taiping – Bagan Serai from the peak.
- There is no opening and closing time but you are advised to start when the sun is up and do complete your run before it gets dark.
- Low number of visitor on weekdays and higher numbers of local runners/ hikers on the weekends.
- Depending on what you plan to do, always prepare sufficient water, solid food, basic first aid kit, change of clothes to keep you dry and mobile phones.
4. Spritzer Ecopark in Taiping, Perak
- Located some 3KM away from Taiping Town.
- You can run on a 300m track adjacent to Spritzer’s Ecopark reception or you may run in the mix asphalt and trails course around Spritzer Ecopark. (Nb – Please inform the security guards if you plan to head into the trails and do get a local guide if you do not know the area well).
- Cement track 300m or you may plan your route around Spritzer Ecopark based on the distance that you want do.
- There is shelters and restaurants at Spritzer Ecopark and if you are in the trails you will find the shelters in plantations and orchards in the vicinity.
- 7am – 7pm
- The visitor numbers are high especially on the weekends.
- A good pair of shoes, a change of clothes for after the run and some loose change for refreshments after the run.
Whether it be on trails or roads, it does not matter for Ewegene – he loves them both!
Ewegene elaborates “I am a kampung boy and always proud to be one. I manage MMTF with the goal to grow with like-minded people and organisations who share the same passion, interests and goals.”
“Furthermore, I intend to use the sports of running to instill the spirit of togetherness among runners and organizers, with the goal to enhance the standard of the sports in Malaysia”.
The next time you are in Taiping, try heading for these locations for a change. If you are lucky, you may even spot Ewegene on his run there.