Stunning sceneries and a good cause at the Bromo Marathon

11 Jun 2013 00:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Hello, on September 1st 2013, you’ll be organizing the Bromo Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Bromo Marathon takes place in East Java, Indonesia’s Tengger Highlands – a region known for its massif of volcanoes, specifically Mt. Bromo.

The race starts and finishes in the Tenggerese village of Wonokitri, circling several of the villages surrounding the ancient Tengger Caldera where may take in the many breathtaking views of unique landscapes in addition to observing one of Indonesian’s most unique cultures, the Tenggerese. Strung throughout the mountains within a collection of villages scattering the hills, the Tengger people present several unique communities descendant of the Hindu Majapahit Kingdom.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

This will be the First Annual Bromo Marathon! The event was created to provide an opportunity to improve education, health, and economic prosperity throughout the many low-income, low resource communities inhabiting the region. Located in rural Indonesia, deficiencies in infrastructure and common resources have led to inadequate educational facilities, creating an uninviting and unappealing atmosphere for students.

Credit : Bromo Marathon

Our mission this year is to advocate the importance of literature, critical thinking and creativity through reading – with all proceeds of the event going to the support of local schools through the development and advancement of school library facilities in the surrounding communities.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The Bromo Marathon provides runners with a unique and challenging course. Starting and ending at the Tenggerese village of Wonokitri, runners circle several villages along the Tengger Caldera for a total of two laps, immersing themselves in the beautiful landscapes, serene temples and unique Tenggerese communities along the way.

Half trail and half road, the race covers a diversity of terrain, incorporating several hills throughout the run, elevations varying from 1950m to 2750m for a good challenge!

Departing from Wonokitri, runners begin the first stretch of the race off-road, running along the beautiful hills of the Tengger to the small village of Podokoyo where the route meets paved road. Here they continue through the greenery of the hills to the village of Ngawu where lies a beautiful Hindu temple.

Moving out of Ngawu, a gradual climb begins, winding through dirt trails encapsulated by forest. Emerging from the forest, the trail thins out onto the caldera rim offering expansive breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape as they venture through the side peaks of the park.

Credit : Bromo Marathon

Runners continue along the rim to Dinglik Viewpoint where they again meet paved road as the course climbs to the peak of Mt. Pananjakan, for an absolute spectacular view of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Making their way down from Pananjakan, runners follow the winding paved streets along the sides of rolling hills to Wonokitri where they will continue on for a second lap of the course for a total distance of 42.195 km.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

We’re aiming for approximately 1,000 on Race Day, with upwards of 3,000 spectators. Currently, 250 runners are already registered for the event.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

At the moment, the Bromo Marathon is the only race on our calendar. When we’re not working on that, we’re working with several of the local schools in surrounding communities. All our members are strong advocates of providing access to quality education.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

While the majority of Indonesia may be known for its high temperatures and thick humidity, temperatures in the Tengger Highlands typically settle around 21°C (70°F) with a crisp, cool won’t start until mid-November.

Credit : Bromo Marathon

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

Our event kicks of Saturday, August 31st with the Bromo Marathon Race Expo and the Tengger Arts and Culture Festival. The festival will feature collection of dance and music performances unique to the region, as well as a local art, and several food stands where visitors may have a taste of some of the region’s traditional dishes.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Wonokitri Village before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Anyone attending the event with extra time should take a visit to what our race is known for, Mt. Bromo!

Long ago, the super volcano Mt. Tengger embodied the center of this region, boasting a diameter of over 9 kilometers. Today what remains is a large volcanic crater, the Tengger Caldera, and within it five small mountain peaks. Surrounding the peaks, a sea of sand stretches throughout the basin, leading up to green crater walls rising up to 600 meters for spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Mt. Bromo can be found in the center of the crater, its peak long since torn away in a large eruption. A steaming crater hole, it remains active, and is one of East Java’s most visited sites as well as one of Indonesia’s most treasured natural wonders.

Credit : Bromo Marathon

Off-road jeeps and drivers can be hired in any of the villages surrounding the race course. A tent will also be available on Race Day and at the race expo the day prior where excursions may be arranged.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Bromo Marathon?

The Bromo Marathon is more than just a race, it’s an adventure through some of the most unique and dramatic landscapes and cultures Indonesia has to offer – all while supporting a good cause to develop and advance quality education in the area.

Interview with Dedik Kurniawan, Project Manager for the Bromo Marathon. After several years traveling the world as a musician and teaching music in Jakarta, Dedik came to the Tengger to teach in some of the surrounding low-resource communities, hoping to motivate the youth to follow their dreams. As a strong advocate for education and community advancement, he partnered with several community members to establish the Bromo Marathon in an effort to improve the standard of living of the peoples living in the region.