Borneo ultra marathon returns to Kiulu

KOTA KINABALU: The Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) is returning to rustic Kiulu on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu after a year hiatus, with hopes of attracting 800 extreme marathon enthusiasts.

Supported by the Sabah Tourism Board, the event will see marathoners racing past Kiulu villages and through the forested terrain trails. It is set to take place March 19-20.

BUTM race director Claus Pedersen said about 400 people had signed up for the marathon so far, with 25 of them being foreigners.

“The last ultra trail marathon took place in 2020, right before the Covid-19 movement control order was imposed. At that time, there were 1,600 local and international participants.

“Due to the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) restrictions, we are limiting this year’s event to 200 participants per category,” he said, adding there were four distance categories (100km, 50km, 30km and 9km).

He said registered international participants could be expatriates living in Malaysia.

“Kiulu remains the venue of choice for BUTM due to its reputation as an eco-adventure destination and its proximity to the state capital,” said Pedersen.

The BUTM committee, led by Pedersen, met with Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai to brief him on the upcoming sporting event.

Pedersen assured the board that strict SOP would be put in place and that all participants would be subjected to a Covid-19 test to prevent infection.

Bangkuai, who is also Assistant Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment, said the BUTM was more than just a sporting event but also a major tourism draw.

“This is wonderful for Sabah and Kiulu in particular because the BUTM event allows participants to explore Sabah’s rural destinations while participating in outdoor sporting activities in the fresh air surrounded by rivers, green trees, and mountains.

“Kiulu is known for its commitment to community-based tourism. The villagers could use this opportunity to promote their places, homestays, and culture, allowing participants to stay longer and enjoy our rural destination,” he said.

Registration for BUTM 2022 is open until February. Go to for more details.

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