The fourth annual Chapman’s Challenge Race, held this May at Pangkor Laut Resort, combines history, adventure and a luxury getaway
Take a minute to read this Wikipedia article about British commando Spencer “Freddie” Chapman. Like me, are you wondering how have they not made a movie about this guy yet?!
Over a lifetime of unbelievable adventures, Chapman spent three and a half years running around the jungles of Malaysia during World War II, culminating in a daring escape from Japanese forces that included a mad dash through the jungle and an open-ocean swim off Pulau Pangkor, where he was finally rescued in 1945 by a British submarine.
Since 2016, the Pangkor Laut Resort (part of the luxurious YTL Hotels group, and coincidentally the site from which Chapman launched his daring ocean escape) has commemorated his bold act of bravery with The Chapman’s Challenge, an Ironman-style run, hike and swim race that roughly follows Chapman’s original route.
Racers combine a 3.8km road run with a 2.4km hike through pristine rainforest, and cap it all off with a 1km open-water swim across Emerald Bay before making a final sprint to the finish line at the resort’s Chapman’s Bar, which sits on the very same white sandy beach from which Chapman launched himself into the water. Spencer Chapman’s son and daughter will actually be competing in the race!
Chapman’s Challenge attracts world-class athletes – Australian Surf Ironman champion Matt Poole holds the men’s record at 45:16, while World Ironwoman Champion Harriet Brown holds the women’s title at 51:17 – but there is also an “Open” category for regular folks like us.
In fact, the top three male and female winners in the open category stand the chance to win some pretty awesome prizes, including
- A 3-night stay for four at The Estates at Pangkor Laut Resort (first prize – OMG!)
- A 3-night stay for two at The Green Leaf Niseko Village (second prize)
- A Luminox watch (third prize).
If that’s not motivation enough, mama, the resort has actually created an entire fun weekend package out of the race, which will be held from 10 to 12 May. In addition to two nights’ accommodation, all meals, return speedboat transfers, and race entry, you’ll also get pre-dinner cocktails and a beach barbecue dinner for two at Emerald Bay after the race (so you can really let loose!). You might as well check out the Spa Village, too, while you’re there!
To get to Pangkor Laut from Singapore, take a quick flight to Ipoh, then a 90-minute GRAB or taxi to the resort’s office at Marina Island Pangkor, followed by a 15-minute speed boat ride out to the island. Click here for more info about transport and costs.
So if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous and in the mood to push yourself (after all, grit is good for all of us!), give the Chapman’s Challenge a go, mama. The race is capped at 210 competitors and filling up fast – good luck!
The Chapman’s Challenge will take place from 10-12 May, 2019 at Pangkor Laut Resort in Lumut, Malaysia. Rates for the Chapman’s Challenge start from MYR 943++ (S$363) per night. Click here to book!