486 put fitness skills to the test

National 2 minutes, 35 seconds


HUNDREDS of civilians had the opportunity to tet their mettle at the Royal Brunei Armed Forces’s (RBAF) first Obstacle Course Challenge yesterday.

The military-styled course had all male participants on a 10 kilometre route with nine obstacles, while females toughed it out on a five kilometre trek with four obstacles.

The Ministry of Defence said 486 civilian and military participants had to complete a range of obstacles designed to challenge the runners’ upper body strength by cascading down the monkey bars, dexterity through tire steps and acceleration during the culminating event dubbed the ‘Stairs of Glory’.

There was little surprise in the open category for male civilians, as seasoned marathoner Sefli Ahar took first place and $500 by finishing the course in 37 minutes, beating the winner of RBAF men’s open category, Sld Malek by 30 seconds.

There was a strong turnout in the veterans category, categorised as males over 40 and 35 and above for females.

Ahmadul Tahir, 45, came first in the open veterans, attributing his success to a holistic training approach that incorporates elements of endurance, strength and flexibility.

“I take four to five a days a week to exercise. I do bodyweight exercises like press-ups and pull-ups for strength, then do distance running for endurance and I do a lot of stretching and yoga to make sure I am injury free,” said Ahmadul, who works as a tour guide.

“Age is no obstacle as long as you make the slow but proper steps to progress,” he said, adding that he kept his nutrition basic, sticking to large amounts of rice, vegetables and fish.

The winner of RBAF women’s veteran category defied her age by clocking a better time than her younger counterpart.

Sergeant Sufina Hj Adas took first in the veterans with a time of 30 minutes and 32 seconds, over a minute quicker than RBAF women’s open winner Lance Corporal Norhamizah.

She encouraged women, especially those past 30, to challenge themselves mentally and physically through an exercise regimen.

“In the beginning of your fitness journey, it will be difficult. Build upon it each time you exercise and what you previously considered hard will become routine to you over time.”

For the women’s open, 28-year-old Azlina Rambli took first place, and owed her win to being consistent and focused since which she began six months ago.

“Six months ago I could hardly run a kilometre. With the support of my friends and colleagues, I made my first 21 kilometre obstacle run in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago,” the TOTAL employee said.

“Women shouldn’t feel apprehensive or a limiting factor when they see that it’s a race with obstacles especially for obstacles like the monkey bars, if you train for it – you will be able to do it.”

Major Sopian, who said the response was “overwhelming”, added that the RBAF is looking into the possibility of holding similar events in the future.

“It’s a great chance for both the civilian and military population to come together for health, and it (obstacle challenge) is something different from the standard runs and marathons held in Brunei.”

The Brunei Times