Over the past few years, there have been a lot of fitness programmes introduced such as CrossFit and spinning. With these introductions, the number of Bruneians joining races such as various marathon in the country and also obstacle course races like Spartan Races has increased. We at Sutera managed to catch up with one of the elite Spartan Racer in Brunei – Dayang Nikmatul Fatinah binti Awang Ismail, or better known as Fatin Ismail for an exclusive interview in joining and achieving a podium at one of the Spartan races in Singapore.
For Fatin – it started in 2012 when she started to compete in 61 races with 6 of it being Spartan races.
“I’m only in my 2nd year of doing Spartan races. I spent the first year competing in the age group so I was ranked among people whose age is between 25 to 29 years old. After completing my first Spartan event, I got so hooked and I never looked back. I keep looking forward to the next one,” said Fatin when recalling about joining the Spartan races.
After getting a feel for Spartan races, Fatin kept on joining and eventually won silver in the Women’s Elite category in the Spartan Race at Nexus International School in Putrajaya, Malaysia. That was her second time joining the race, first joining in 2017 where she couldn’t finish the race due to an injury.
“As a comeback story, the achievement was unexpected in a field of strong female elite racers – the best thing was when I managed to overtake the competitors and found out that I was in the top three!” highlighted Fatin about the moment when she got second place.
In terms of training for the Spartan races, she trains all year around for five to six times a week to maintain her performance level. This includes total-body training focusing on all elements of fitness like speed, endurance, strength, stability, balance, coordination and agility but most importantly in improving mental toughness and pain management which is important during the Spartan races.
“My training typically involves running to improve my speed and endurance, lifting heavy weights for strength and conditioning, trail training for ankle stability, coordination, balance and agility. Other than that, my training also involves crawling, climbing, hanging, pushing, pulling and jumping,” explains Fatin about her training.
She thinks more and more Bruneians should join the Spartan races as more people are getting into fitness.
“If you want to challenge yourself on various aspects, Spartan is the answer. It is like doing a tough trail challenge with over 30 obstacles to tackle in between” stated Fatin about people joining the races.
“Anyone and everyone can be a Spartan racer provided that you are fit to join and in good health on the day of the race. You don’t even have to be at a certain fitness level to join. Just be physically, mentally and emotionally prepared then you will be fine. Last but not least, do not forget to enjoy the process and most importantly, have fun!” added Fatin as her final message towards youth in Brunei