Year-Round Adventure In Sabah’s Scenic Marathons

1. STB Photo Credit Dev Sidhu
Credit Dev Sidhu

Lace up your shoes and experience the thrill of a year of marathons amidst Sabah’s stunning landscapes.

Known for its rich ecological and cultural richness, Sabah has been a paradise for runners looking to conquer stunning terrain.

Throughout the year, Sabah plays host to a series of marathon races that test your endurance in a unique blend of challenging routes and breathtaking scenery that will leave every runner in awe.

This year is going to be nothing short of an experience, as the Sabah 2024 calendar has several running activities planned out to once again attract people who are passionate about running and want to make it part of their holiday.

2. STB Photo Credit Pamela Sidhu
Credit Pamela Sidhu

Kicking off the year, registration for the Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) is currently open until February 28.

Set to take place on March 2-3, the BUTM presents an adventurous outdoor ultra-trail running experience, guiding participants through a blend of pristine jungle surroundings and culturally rich landscapes via a network of trails, dirt tracks, and back-roads in the rustic Kiulu countryside.

Runners can expect panoramic vistas of the nearby ridges, valleys, and the majestic Mount Kinabalu.

3. STB Photo Credit Eric Ye
Credit Eric Ye

The organiser has maintained the same overall distance categories of 100KM, 50KM, 30KM, and a 9KM short course designed as a family-oriented non-competitive event.

In May, embrace the exhilarating challenge of the Borneo Marathon (May 5th), featuring three distinct categories: 42KM, 21KM, and 10KM. This community-driven event unfolds against the dynamic backdrop of Kota Kinabalu’s lively cityscape.

4. Photo Credit Sabah Tourism Board
Borneo Marathon

This Borneo Marathon, named one of the 50 finest running races in the world by Runner’s World Magazine in 2018, takes participants through a picturesque urban setting, with views of the South China Sea and the sun rising behind Mount Kinabalu. The Borneo Marathon 2024 is now open for registration.

Get ready to conquer new heights and make history at the inaugural Mount Trusmadi International Climbathon. Happening on May 25, this adrenaline-pumping event is not just a competition but a thrilling journey that showcases the beauty of Mount Trusmadi, Malaysia’s second-highest peak, to the world.

Nestled in the breathtaking highland district of Tambunan, this mountain climbing and marathon running adventure offers the 21KM and the challenging 30KM routes.

The 30KM journey will take you from Mirad Irad Base Camp to the summit of Mount Trusmadi at 2642 meters, offering an unforgettable experience before descending back to the finish line.

For the 21KM route, participants will start at Mirad Irad Base Camp, enjoy the Boardwalk, and finish with determination. The Mount Trusmadi International Climbathon is definitely a chance to connect with nature and discover your potential.

Kadamaian, a rural eco-tourism destination in the Kota Belud district approximately 75 kilometres from the state capital, is known for its pristine rivers, waterfalls, hills, and forests.

On July 27th and 28th, sports enthusiasts will have the opportunity to race in the Kadamaian Ultra 2024, also known as the KAR Ultra, giving them a taste of the rural scenery.

There are four trail distance categories available for the KAR Ultra: 110KM, 60KM, 35KM, and 12KM. The starting point for participants is Kampung Tambatuon, which is located at the base of Mount Nungkok and provides direct access to the hills and valleys of the Kadamaian area.

5.STB Photo Credit KAR Ultra_
Photo credit KAR Ultra

Participants in the race will be treated to breathtaking views of Mount Kinabalu, rice fields, hills, and crystal-clear rivers along the course.

Experience the thrill of The Most Beautiful Trail (TMBT) set on September 14-15. This race pays tribute to iconic Mount Kinabalu – a UNESCO World Heritage site – and is Malaysia’s oldest Ultra-Trail Marathon with the inaugural race held in 2011.

Living up to its name, the TMBT course, reaching just under 2000m, winds through ridges and river valleys around the base of Mount Kinabalu. Run through quaint native villages on the western foothills, with the 30k and 50k races ending at the Mount Kinabalu viewpoint in Pekan Nabalu.

The challenging 109k category extends to South-Eastern ridges, finishing in Kundasang. The trail lets runners explore remote villages, forest trails, and paddy fields, ascend pineapple-clad ridges with stunning views, cross streams on hot days, and cross larger rivers on hanging, bamboo, or log bridges, all while tracing historic buffalo trading routes from Kota Belud to Bundu Tuhan.

The Elopura Marathon will return for its second edition in November, with 42KM, 21KM, and 10KM distance categories.

Runners participating in the Elopura Marathon on November 17 will have the opportunity to visit Sandakan, the second-largest town in Sabah known for its seafood delights and wildlife nature exploration.

The Elopura Marathon race promises an unforgettable experience for all participants as it takes them on an exciting course through the charming Sandakan town and the areas surrounding it.

8.STB Photo Credit Elopura Marathon
Photo Credit Elopura Marathon

The marathon will begin and end in the Sandakan Sports Complex, and runners will run via Sandakan’s main streets, including Jalan Lintas Sibuga, Jalan Batu Sapi, Jalan Cecily, Leila Road, Jalan Buli Sim Sim, Jalan Lintas Utara, Jalan Airport, and Jalan Sibuga.

Visit the Sabah Tourism Board website: to stay informed about running events and more.

Last reviewed: April 12, 2024

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