hadi masron joseph foo safra avventura

Hadi Masron (behind) and Joseph Foo teamed up to win the Men’s Ultra category in the 2013 edition of the SAFRA AVventura. (Photo 1 courtesy of SAFRA)

Adventure sports have a higher level of danger than normal sports because it involves extreme sports like trekking, surfing and rock climbing. The goal is to survive and conquer and the sport is done in teams or as individuals.

In less than a month’s time, teams who signed up for SAFRA AVventura will be all raring to put their fitness and endurance to test in the Ultra, Sprint, and Youth categories. As the upcoming SAFRA AVventura marks its eighth year, the race gets tougher with more extreme challenges to overcome.

Participants will be in for an exhilarating adventure race comprising multiple disciplines ranging from trail biking, running, and kayaking to rope ascending, abseiling and mystery obstacles.

Two-time SAFRA AVventura winners, Hadi Masron and Joseph Foo, have been friends for years and they share a passion for adventure sports, having teamed up on more than one occasion for competitions.

We caught up with Hadi Masron and Joseph Foo, winning pair of the Men’s Ultra category at the AVventura 2013, to share with us their adventure racing experience.

SAFRA: To start off, what is your favourite sport and why?
Hadi: It has got to be In-line skating as it is about having full control of yourself on small wheels when you are speeding down the hill.

Joseph: Kayaking is one of the sports I like but due to my busy schedule, I can only afford to run and cycle, which I enjoy too!

They say that sports can bring people together. So how did the two of you meet?
Joseph: We met in 2005 through a mutual friend, and both of us happened to be in search of a teammate for a local adventure race.

It will be your third time pairing up for SAFRA AVventura 2014. Why did you decide to do it together again?
Joseph: We didn’t really think about that. Anytime we feel like racing, we’ll be like “Okay, let’s do it!”

Hadi: After all, we’ve raced for many other events as a team.

What were the difficulties you faced in past AVventura races and how did you overcome them?
Hadi: There were probably a few stations where I didn’t know what was coming. You could be as fast as you want in overtaking other competitors, but when you were stuck at a station that would mean the end of it. Besides physical training, we had to prepare ourselves mentally, so before the race we asked each other about the different types of sports, to know a thing or two just in case it happened to be one of the stations.

Joseph: I literally dragged myself for the last two hours of the race because I was sick and had not fully recovered. I was glad that my buddy, Hadi, towed and encouraged me to carry on with it, which I think is one of his best qualities. I’m very happy to know him as a friend for many years.

So Hadi, what do you think is Joseph’s best quality or skill?
Hadi: It’s definitely navigation. He can just close his eyes and tell you “This way!” That’s Joseph for you.

Joseph: To add on, another reason I like Hadi is because he is very patient and it’s important for an adventure racer or a team player to have this quality.

In preparation for the race, do both of you train together?
Joseph: We train on our own most of the time because our schedules are quite tight due to work and family, but once in a while, we spend a couple of hours over the weekend running and cycling together.

Hadi: We understand that it’s a team sport and it requires us to have a certain level of commitment. That would also mean we have to train so as to be at the same level as our teammate in order to reach our goals. However, as mentioned earlier, we have a tight schedule so we usually update each other on our progress over the phone.

What do you do to exercise?
Hadi: As a father, I bring my kids out to enjoy nature, and sometimes we run together. I think it’s important to enjoy when you’re exercising.

Joseph: I run and cycle because I think it’s such a simple way to exercise.

What is the most important thing that AVventura participants should know during the race?
Joseph: It’s definitely personal well-being. They should listen to their body because AVventura is an endurance race. There were some participants from the past who had no idea what it was like and they got exhausted within a short period of time because they started out fast. Hence they should watch their pace.

It demands a lot of patience and understanding. Participants should also go out and train as a team to know more about each other so that they build up the team dynamics. Moreover, they should sit down before the race and talk about what they want to achieve so that they can reach it together.

Hadi: AVventura is a team event and it’s important for teammates to listen to each other. The slower guy sets the pace for the team but you still have to respect him/ her for that.

What do you hope to achieve this time besides winning?
Hadi: I think winning will be a bonus. SAFRA AVventura becomes more challenging every year, so we have to take up the challenge and test our limits by training hard.

Joseph: One of our goals is to have fun.

Any last words for the readers?
Joseph: Whether you’re single, or married with kids, I think it’s good to live a healthy lifestyle – just be active.

Hadi: With so many races coming up, I think it’s important to be more than just a Weekend Warrior to prepare themselves.

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