With adventure races like the Tough Mudder becoming all the rage, maybe it’s time people start incorporating some adventure into their training. While those in the suburbs can partake in morning or evening golf course runs, or the daring mall or restaurant run (kind of like streaking, but instead done in shorty shorts and using a different entrance than exit), those abroad have endless possibilities.
While traveling in Indonesia, running hasn’t be the easiest feat to accomplish. While I love to do it, and actually get pretty antsy when I don’t, my desire to run in crowded cities with endless stops and reckless motorists has been exhausted. After spending three days in said cities then one day in a van, I found myself in a small town called Cemoro Lawang, seated at the base of active volcano Mount Bromo. While most tourists will take a jeep to a scenic viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan, then continue in the jeep to the steps leading to Bromo, I needed to work my legs. This was the start of the adventure.
From the hotels in Cemoro Lawang, the steep incline to the viewpoint at Penanjakan is about 6K away. With sunrise occurring at 5:28 a.m. (according to a GPS of my Swedish friend), I decided to leave my hostel around 4:30 a.m. The first steps (and roughly first 2K) out of the hotel are completely uphill. With the complete darkness, all I could see were the headlights of the late starting taxis blazing up toward our mutual finish line. As the hill continued to incline, I would start to see vendors on either side, and small signs pointing one direction to Mount Bromo and the opposite direction to Mount Penanjakan.
After leaving Cemoro Lawang, the road opens up to rice paddies and small farms. The sun was starting to come out, and the view of the paddies backed by the mountain was exquisite. The final 3K of the run was up dirt switchbacks, which at this point were completely desolate. The viewpoint boasts a look a the lip of the caldera and a beautiful view of the entire crater, the sand sea and the smoke rising from Mount Bromo.
From the viewpoint, there is 2K backtrack followed by 1K of street to the entrance of the caldera. Here you will find taxis, vendors and side street salesmen trying to hawk anything they see fit. A short decline leads you down the caldera to the sand sea, which is comprised of deep brown dirt. As motorcycles, taxis and horses speed by, the dust is a bit bothersome, but the 1.5K from here to Bromo is one of the best parts of the run. The entire time you can see your destination, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, the view of the smoking mound, backed by mountains, blue sky and magnificent clouds was quite wholesome. The run ends with an 150m stair climb.
While running Bromo isn’t an easy feat, it is a great way to visit the volcano while also getting your run in. For those looking for an even longer run, rumor has it that there is a 10K trail between Penanjakan and Bromo, but I wasn’t able to spot it. Enjoy adventure training and be safe!