The Climbathon first started in 1987 where its origins can be traced to the Sabah Parks’ intention of creating a rapid rescue squad made up of a team of rangers who can bring down injured climbers fast (this is especially useful during bad weather when helicopters cannot be used). It was an all Malaysian affair for a year until it was opened to international participants. Sabah Tourism Board saw the potential of the event being a promotional tool to promote Sabah and took over organising the event in 1995. The Climbathon became a member of the World Mountain Running Association in 1997 and hosted the 15th World Mountain Running Trophy in 1999 at Kinabalu Park. In 2003, the Climbathon was admitted as member of the International Skyrunning Federation, the international body that promotes sports at high altitude. Since then, the Climbathon has been a part of the Federation’s Skyrunner World Series until 2012. International top runners from various countries race in the series’ venues to gather points to become the series world champion.