Sematan comes to life for 7th Sarawak Adventure Challenge, 1st Borneo Outdoor Festival on Oct 28-29

Abdul Karim (centre) speaking to reporters during a press conference on Sarawak Adventure Challenge (SAC) and Borneo Outdoor Festival (BOF) held at the Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s KCGC Innovation Hub in Kuching on Oct 16, 2023.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Oct 16: On October 28 and 29 of this year, Sematan’s stunning coastline will come to life, transforming into a realm of adrenaline and exploration. This weekend will not only usher in the seventh annual Sarawak Adventure Challenge (SAC), but it will also mark the debut of the Borneo Outdoor Festival (BOF).

According to a press handout, the SAC and the BOF are entirely homegrown events, organised by local event company Draco Action Sports and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (MTCP) Sarawak.


“The SAC is an international event renowned for presenting a tough outdoor challenge, and this year will be no different.

“The theme ‘The Pueh Challenge’ refers to the spectacular mountain range that dominates the landscape of Sematan, an area with much to offer in terms of spectacular scenery and recreation.

“The race will highlight the diverse landscape from sea to mountain, as well as the splendid rivers, communities, trails and attractions of this fascinating nearby destination,” read the press handout.

According to MTCP Sarawak minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, SAC was initiated in 2017. The inaugural event took place at Fairy Cave in Bau.

“In 2021, SAC was held in Siniawan, Bau, whereas last year it was held in Beliong, Asajaya. This year, the organisers have chosen the camping area at Camp Belia Pueh and Sematan as the location for the adventure challenge.

“Our Ministry strongly supports this type of adventure event because it promotes a healthy lifestyle and attracts a large number of cycling and running enthusiasts to the area. Along the way, certain new sports will be discovered.

“This is something good for tourism. It is also good for those who love this kind of sport. We strongly encourage and sincerely hope that the Sarawak Adventure Challenge will continue to grow,” Abdul Karim said during a press conference held today at the Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s KCGC Innovation Hub.

Additionally, based on the press handout, a new addition for this year is the BOF, which celebrates everything related to the outdoors. The BOF will include displays of products and equipment, interactive workshops led by experts, and a range of outdoor activities to experience.

“Eighteen outdoor industry and activity partners will be on hand to demonstrate and provide information about the latest in outdoor equipment, activities, and skills.

“The festival is free and open to the general public, with a schedule of workshops on topics including equipment maintenance, camping skills, outdoor photography, nutrition, training, and new sports.

“There will also be demonstration areas for 4WD camping, outdoor equipment displays, wall climbing demonstrations, drone skills sessions, and much more.”

Abdul Karim, who is also Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development (MYSED) Sarawak minister, encouraged parents to get their children to participate in the outdoor event.

“The organiser expects about 1,000 participants to join the festival, and close to 600 have registered for the two events. We are very confident, the organiser is very confident that we will be able to hit the 1,000 mark soon,” he noted.

He continued by stating that the BOF will be mainly a local affair, with approximately 100 Indonesian visitors from across the border.

“It is very near to Telok Melano, where there is a, not a CIQ, but a special pass available to and from the area.

“For the SAC, almost 300 have registered, with approximately one-third coming from Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia. And I hope that within these two weeks, we can bring in more.”

In addition, the press handout noted that a camping area is available at Camp Belia Pueh for those who wish to camp and that there will be a sunset fun ride and run for those who want to be physically active. The 5km run and 15km fun ride are recreational activities suitable for friends and family and will include a beach bonfire and dinner for participants.

It said the feature event on Sunday, Oct 29, will be the SAC, a one-day multi-sport event involving mountain biking and trail running.

“With Pueh mountain as the backdrop, this year’s race will provide ample challenge to test the athletes’ endurance. Starting and finishing at Camp Belia, the trails pass through various terrain and include several river crossings for the mountain bike and trail run.

“The competitors will also experience several local communities as sections of the trail pass through these with residents involved as course marshals and officials.

“Competitors will be vying for attractive cash prizes and ‘bragging rights’ across several mountain biking and trail running race formats and categories. The feature race will be the full Duathlon where competitors must complete a 50km mountain bike section followed by a 12 km trail running section.”

The Sarawak Adventure Challenge is currently closed for registration, but the Borneo Outdoor Fest, happening in 12 days, is open to all. For those who pre-register online, there will also be attractive lucky draw prizes.

Visit SAC’s website at https://sarawakchallenge.com/ and BOF’s at https://sarawakchallenge.com/bof2023 for more information. — DayakDaily