Champions Safrey Sumping (left) and Sandi Menchi Catlona Abahan with cash prizes and appreciation certificate after completing their race for the 30th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon at Kinabalu Park in Kundasang on Sunday. PIC BY LANO LAN

RANAU: A teacher from here who won the first place in the International men’s category during the Royal Penguin Ultra Marathon in Nepal at Everest Point received recognition from the state government recently.

Sapirin Sumping, 37, received US$1,000 (RM4,200) and an appreciation certificate from Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun after completing the race for the 30th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon at Kinabalu Park here on Sunday.

“It is a great honour that the state government has acknowledged and recognised local talent like us.”

Sapirin was representing Malaysia under the North Borneo Running Project Team.

He also became the first Malaysian runner to compete and complete the ultra marathon on Oct 5, which he described as five times more challenging than the climbathon here.

“However, my performance for this climbathon was not that good as I had just come back from Nepal last week,” said Sapirin, who is the elder brother of Elite men’s champion Saffrey.

The siblings were among 116 elite runners who raced to Panalaban and returned to Kinabalu Park during the annual mountain race.

Sapirin said there was not enough time for him  to prepare for the shorter race here as compared to the Ultra Marathon in Nepal.

Sapirin said his practice was meant for the 64km race in Nepal, which was held at the height of 5,340m on Mount Everest, as compared to 21km-long Mount Kinabalu Climbathon.

“This year, I ranked 11th at two hours and 38 minutes, which is 10 minutes slower than my fourth place finish last year.”

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