Up, Up and Away Pushing To The Peak is a charity event organized by NAMLIFA and sponsored by ING to raise fund for Kiwanis Down Syndrome, Pusat Haemodialysis Mawar and MAKNA. Wheelchair Ultra Marathoner, Dr. William Tan wheeled himself up battling the force of gravity to raise RM 500,000, starting from Awana Resort to Genting Highland Outdoor Theme Park on 17 March 2005. Dr. Tan is attempting to be the first disabled person in the world to complete 7 marathons in 7 continents within 36 days. It was a last minute decision to go for this event after I managed to secure one room to stay for a night despite the peak season in Genting Highland. I heard there were about 10,000 insurance agents up in Genting Highland for some sort of conference. I was lucky to get a room. Woke up early in the morning at about 5am. Had a cup of instant mushroom soup and a meat floss bun. Met Amy and Tan at the lobby about 5:30am and off we went to skyway cable car station. We arrived too early at Awana. We found out that the event supposed to start at 8am not at 7am as told by Amy who got this info from a friend. So, we waited at the chair at the entrance of Awana like some homeless people. I could have eaten the hotel breakfast and had an hour of extra sleep if not for this wrong info. Should have checked with the organizer. But anyway, no need to lose my cool, it was not about me - I was there to support the event. We are given an Orange ING t-shirt at the starting point, a bus stop, opposite the main gate of Awana. Met Mr. Chow I supposed he was the organizer. He used to run sub-4 hr marathon. He shared some of his training techniques. Dr. Tan arrived at the starting point at about 8am in an ambulance. He was radiant, cheerful and ready to go. He joked about the sambal that he had for breakfast. I never meet someone this enthusiastic and perky in the morning before. The weather was sunny. Not windy. The race started at about 8:15am. Dr. Tan was flagged off by some dude from the insurance company, I didn’t catch his name. That was after a series of warming exercises by Mr. Chow. Dr. Tan’s entourage consisted of 2 cops on bikes, 1 patrol car, 2 ambulances and about 17 of us - orange shirt wearing supporters. The supporters were mainly from the insurance company. We walked slowly behind Dr. Tan’s wheels. The push was not that simple. There was no momentum to help him at all. It was just him against the force of gravity. He must have had steel for hands, as he would need lots of arm strength to wheel himself up. Slowly but steadily we moved up the slope. At some steep slope he had to zigzag his way up. Left to right. Right to left. On an uneven slope. I gotta take my hat off for this man! He is a victim to polio at age 2. Now he is a brain scientist based in New Castle, NSW, Australia.
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