MORE than a hundred participants turned up for The North Face’s monthly trail run to not only celebrate their love for the outdoors but also the brand’s initiative which began five years ago.
“When the brand arrived in the Malaysian market, not many people knew of it or had even heard about us.
“We tried many ways to get the word out but it wasn’t easy,” said The North Face brand manager Wong Chee Hooe.
He said trail running and hiking was also not popular back then, as runners preferred to run on roads instead of getting into forest areas.
Education on the different types of footwear was also lacking among the locals.
“People did not know the difference between road running shoes and trail running shoes, so they tend to purchase an affordable pair and use it in a variety of sports,” he said, adding that the scenario became a turning point for him to look for other ways to engage with the community.
Knowing that no one else was interested in organising free runs, especially those involving getting onto different trails, Wong decided to take up the challenge and subsequently found a group of avid runners to assist him.
They hosted their first trail run in 2014 with fewer than 50 participants but the number has since grown over the years.
Those interested would need to sign up via their Facebook page where details of upcoming trail runs are posted.
At their fifth anniversary run in Desa Seri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, the American outdoor brand introduced their new Trinity Flight series of shoes.
Monthly trail run leader Dannie Choong was at the gathering point on the event day, greeting participants and explaining the day’s activities, including the do’s and don’ts.
The 7km trail run took participants to the Kiara hill near SMK Seri Hartamas where they were greeted by a mix of lush greenery, small streams and a waterfall. Many stopped to have their photos taken before continuing their journey.Slow runners did not have to worry about being left out as the organiser had a team of pacers on duty to ensure all participants were taken care of.
The trail run ended with games and quizzes with The North Face handing out gifts to winners.
“Every month we hope to see new participants, whether they are new to the sport, a veteran or simply wanting to visit the forest with us,” said Wong.
This month’s monthly trail run will be held on April 20 in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.