KUCHING: Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is confident that this year’s Spartan Race Sarawak will attract 4,000 participants from 23 countries.
The countries are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, the Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam.
“Although the organisers are confident that the target of 4,000 participants can be reached, we will be happy if the number hits 3,000 in view of the present situation of the COVID-19,” he told reporters in a press conference at a local hotel yesterday.
Karim was accompanied by permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hii Chang Kee, Ministry of Youth and Sports principal assistant secretary Frederick Tan, organising chairman Carter Wei and other officials.
He said that the restriction on China and Hong Kong racers could be eased if the coronavirus situation improved in the next two or three weeks.
“Up to today, the organisers have managed to secure 1,950 registered racers and 568 of them are foreigners.
“With that kind of response I am very sure that the organisers can hit 3,000 participants and even 4,000 participants.
“I am quite confident looking at how efficient they are in their networking and efforts to promote the event,” he said.
“Last year, the Spartan Race Sarawak was held in October where there was about 3,000 participants. It was a very well organised and successful race and everyone was very, very happy.
“From the feedback, everyone was saying said it was one of the best races. The race was claimed as the toughest of all the Spartan races in Asia.”
Meanwhile, 2019 world champion Robert Killian, a former US Green Beret, has confirmed his participation in Spartan Race Sarawak.
Karim said the presence of the American world champion, who is racing for the first time in Asia, would make this year’s edition much more special.
The Spartan Race Sarawak from April 4 to 5 at the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service at Semenggoh is the first of the Southeast Asia Regional Qualifiers Series for the World Spartan Race.
It is divided into Sprint (5km and 20 obstacles), Super (10km and 25 obstacles) and Spartan Trail (10km and 20km with no obstacles).
“The race is not only offering attractive official Spartan finisher medal, finisher tee-shirt but also a total prize money of RM23,400 for the podium finishers.
“Most of the participants are not going for the money. They just love the fun, love to be dirty and enjoy the satisfaction of beating everyone else,” added Karim.
“I would like to urge the public to grab this opportunity to rub shoulders with the great athletes and the world champion.”
Sarawak Sports Corporation is teaming up with the Kuching Fitness Association and CrossFit Kuching to run a series of Spartan Community workouts to introduce the community leading up to the April Spartan Race.
The first of the nine workouts will be held on Feb 15 and Feb 23 at Kampung Barieng, Bau.