Tsaigu: Vadovicova also wins in rain and mud
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The 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu was once again made significantly harder by wet weather conditions. As if cursed, the skies opened on race day just like last year, albeit not to the extent that the event organisers got compelled to shorten and stop the race. Yet, a DNF rate of over 60% says enough, and among those were reputed ultrarunners in Asia. Many China stars flocked to Linhai in Zhejiang province for one of the country’s biggest trail events, but as previously mentioned they were spread out over three race distance categories. While the 110K was the so-called A-race, perhaps more attention went to the 80K and US star Hayden Hawks who was scheduled to compete against both Qi Min and Deng Guomin. In the women’s, we were all curious if Veronika Vadovicova could also make the technical Tsaigu look easy, in what is still the early days of her trail career.

First, on the 110K, China’s Luo Canhua, who was first on top of Mount Kuocang in extreme conditions (see videoon our facebook page), was caught by You Peiquan before CP7, but the pair then decided to stay together until the finish at the old town in Linhai. Perhaps unfortunately, there was no dual as they crossed the line in front of a big crowd in the old town together in a time of approx 14:39. Another Chinese, Zhao Jiajiu came in third with well-known Li Kuo as fourth. Liang Jing was a surprising DNF. In the morning it was very wet, foggy and cold during the 110K and 80K races. Afterwards, the persistent rain luckily stopped around noon to be replaced by consistent drizzle.

Xu Meiling was the first woman early on, but she would not make it to the finish. Experienced Zheng Liping took over and won relatively comfortably in 22:26, half an hour ahead of Qu Shangwei. Xie Wenfei completed the podium. Hong Kong's Chingling Lo was running third halfway through, but also failed to finish. French, but also based in Hong Kong and a race winner there, Habiba Benahmed was apparently really enjoying herself and finished 10th in what was essentially her come back ultra trail after an extended period of rest due to injury.

On the 80 km, American star Hayden Hawks won in splendid fashion after China’s Qi Min DNFd following a fall after CP2. That was a shocker as Qi Min was really taking the fight to Hawks. Shenzhen’s busy bee Deng Guomin inherited second but ran an excellent and smart race only some 20 minutes down on Hawks at the finish. Zhang Jiao finished third ahead of Li Kuo.

Shanghai-based Veronika Vadovicova continues to dominate the women’s races in ATM this year. She won basically unthreatened by anyone today in 12:45, proving that even extreme conditions do not necessarily slow her down. Vadovicova is the trail discovery of these early months of 2019. Thailand’s Cartoon Pratumsuwa ran a strategically smart race in a tough battle for the remaining podium places against locals Tan Rongqing, the returning Paulina Svoboda and Chen Erfen. For Chiang Mai-based “Cartoon” Wipawee, it is her first podium in an ATM race and there’s more bound to follow!

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu: Stellar field including Vadovicova
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This Saturday we already have the 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu, today one of China’s premier trail events in the mountainous forests around Linhai in the eastern province of Zheijiang. It’s a very technical and scenic natural trail that tests the reslience of participants each year again - not in the least as rain or moist can never be excluded. Almost all Chinese top trail runners and an international elite runner from the USA named Hayden Hawks are on the event start list, which reached maximum capacity of 2000 very quickly again. However, the big names are spread out over three race distance categories and won’t all be facing off against each other - something that is becoming an unfortunate trend in elite trail running, a bit similar to professional boxing. So we have Liang Jing (winner in 2018) and Luo Canhua on the 110K, Hayden Hawks, Qi Min and Deng Guomin on the 80K (arguably the most exciting race) and Yan Longfei, Jia Erenjia and Shen Jiasheng on the 50k. In the women’s, China’s new star Yao Miao is also on the 50k, along with Dong Minfei, Paulina Svoboda and Xiang Fuzhao. But Veronika Vadovicova is on the 80k, and Zheng Liping, Nicole Leung and Ching Ling Lo on the 100k - just to name a few. Let’s be honest, imagine what a race it would be if they are all in the same race distance category!

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In the context of the ATM Championship, the 110K was assigned long ago as the A-points race with 500 for the winner and the 80K as the B-race with 380 points for the winner. The 50k does not offer any points. China’s top performers are all sponsored professionals not known to travel a lot beyond their country’s borders to the rest of Asia, and traditonally do no feature much in our championship. On the other hand, more and more Asian runners are finding their way to China as Tsaigu continues to receive rave reviews. Race director Cai Yu has also always opened the doors wide open for regional athletes and the new partnership with Ultra Trail Chiang Rai - the Thailand SuperTrail in October - could foster even more exchange. There’s quite a large group of Thai runnes competing in Tsaigu this weekend, including Montha Suntornwit, winner of Ultimate Chiang Rai 230 last autumn, and Sukrit Kaewyoun, who has been doing well in our championship so far with 6th in Dalat and 2nd in Luang Prabang. A good result on the 110k can propel Sukrit into the fab five of the men’s championship standings before the break. Due to the holy month in several countries there are no points races until Vietnam Jungle Marathon on 25 May. Another one to look out for in the context of the ATM championship is Finland’s Henri Lehkonen. Coming off a great 5th place in Dalat, he is also on the 110K start list for his second points race of the season. 

Veronika Vadovicova has been the surprise of the women’s season so far. Maybe not because she has been winning - she already won the 90K of HK168 last December - but because of her sheer speed on the trails. Making the switch from triathlon, Vadovicova dominated Cordillera Mountain Ultra and Sungai Menyala Forest Trail and starts as race favourite for the 80K on Saturday as well. Tsaigu will again be new territory for her: this race is arguably the most technical of her trail career. In that context, Thailand’s Wipawee “Cartoon” Pratumsuwa could see an opportunity to upset the Shanghai-based Slovakian. Also Hong Kong’s Wai Yin Chiu could be in the mix for the podium. Xu Meiling from China will be up against three strong women from Hong Kong on the 110K longest distance. Ching Ling Lo, Nicole Leung and also former HK168 winner Habiba Benahmed. 

Stay tuned for updates of the event all day on Saturday via our social media channels!

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

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Mt Apo Sky Race: Koi Grey reaching for the highest peak
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This weekend the ATM Championship moves back to the Philippines, but this time in the south on Mindanao Island. The highest mountain of the country is Mount Apo, and once a year the whole park is open for trail runners. Participants numbers need to be restricted for the 100 km main race to 100, but it has not been any issue to sell those out, even after some political issues interfered with the race. David Gianelli and Aggy Sabanal were the heroes a year ago, but they won’t be there in Santa Cruz now. In fact, it’s a Baguio Boy who could be the biggest favourite to win this year’s edition: Koi Grey!

Koi Grey is in the best shape of his life and currently ranks 6th in the ATM Championship with strong showings in the 9 Dragons and Cordillera Mountain Ultra, the latter crowned by a podium place even. A reputed mountain runner, Koi Grey has the speed to challenge for the race victory, even when 100k still remains a long distance for him. Let’s see this weekend if he has made progress on dealing with that distance. An important challenger will be local Davao star Rexell Aguirre, who has been on the podium before on Mt Apo. Aguirre has been preparing himself very well and if he can run injury-free will be tough nut to crack for Koi Grey.

Other podium contenders are Julius Kevin Japlit, one of this season’s busy bees, and fresh Grandmaster Richard Akol.

In the women’s, ATM Championship leader Carrie Jane Stander is running again and could have a go at the race victory this weekend. Her main rivals will be local star Manolyn Mamugay and Maria Sepe.

Koi Grey is having an outstanding come back so far!

Koi Grey is having an outstanding come back so far!

Grandmaster Richard Akol continues his busy race schedule at Mt Apo

Grandmaster Richard Akol continues his busy race schedule at Mt Apo

Also current #4 Julius Kevin Japlet will already be competing in his 4th ATM points race of the season!

Also current #4 Julius Kevin Japlet will already be competing in his 4th ATM points race of the season!

Carrie Jane Stander is leading the championship and might do so for some time this season!

Carrie Jane Stander is leading the championship and might do so for some time this season!

Sungai Menyala: the trail speedway!
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This weekend the ATM Championship tour stops in Malaysia for the first time in the 2019 season. Sungai Menyala Forest Trail in Port Dickson has become a popular race for those with fast legs on not-so-technical terrain. When conditions are dry, it may indeed be the fastest trail in ATM and Asia as a whole, as elevation in the ancient forest is even less than other so-called speedways such as Plataran X Trail Bali and Brunei’s Beach Bunch, which unfortunately doesn’t take place this season. However, things are a bit different this Sunday, too. SMFT now features one big loop of 50 km rather than 2x 25k loops of previous years. This is certainly a plus as we did see quite some ‘elite’ runners pull out after one loop if they felt no longer able to score a podium. This weekend we are bound to see some exciting competition between ATM and Asia trail protagonists till the finish.

Calling Sungai Menyala “easy” is the biggest mistake participants in the past two years. Not only is Malaysia always humid and hot, but the fact is that a lot of trail runners are used to hills and mountains and are not accustomed to long periods of pure running. On the other hand, it means that road runners have an excellent chance to take part in a trail race and do great in it, too. In any case, it is always interesting to see the DNF rate at the end of the SMFT weekend.

For the ATM Championship, this could be a key race with so many protagonists on the start list in both the male and female categories. Points leader John Ellis will be defending his position against Hisashi Kitamura, both gearing up for their fourth ATM points race of the season already! They came 1-2 in Dalat Ultra Trail in Vietnam three weeks ago, separated by just a few minutes after Ellis passed the Kuala Lumpur-based Japanese runner in the final 3 km. Can ‘Diesel’ Ellis pull off the same feat in a runable race that is 20 km less in distance? In this context, how far will Mohamed Affindi, running more or less in home area, get in Sungai Menyala. The winner of the ATM season opener Tahura Trail came third in Dalat, and was passed by Ellis at the km 48 mark. The Malaysian is known to be strongest on the medium distance and this race should be ideal for him. If Affindi were to stay ahead of Ellis, Kitamura and a few others this weekend, it would be the result that could play a massive role at the end of the year. In the context of the ATM Championship, Affindi arguably needs to focus first on those guys and only then on trying to win Sunday’s race. Reason being that there is one top favourite for victory in the men’s and that is Jeff Campbell. The Hong Kong-based Canadian of the Gone Running squad, returns to the ATM scene after winning last season’s Tahura Trail in Indonesia. On paper, Campbell has the fastest legs of all on the start list. While SMFT may not be his biggest personal running goal of the year, Campbell won’t give it away neither. The risk for all the other contenders is they may try to follow him too long and blow themselves up in the latter stages of the race.

One runner who nevertheless has set his sights on “beating Jeff” is our ATM Champion Alessandro Sherpa. Back from a break after his surgery, Sherpa is indeed very quick on his day but the question is if this race doesn’t come too early. The Italian may be hoping for a bit of rainfall and some treacherous sections to slow down the average speed. The opposite may be true for Tokyo’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi, winner of last October’s Bali 70k race ahead of, amongst others, Sherpa and Kitamura. As for Sherpa, a little question mark about his current form, as Mizukoshi was a DNS in Dalat due to injury. As always in trail, who knows someone else rises to the foreground on Sunday, but those guys will certainly produce sparks in the forest!

And so will the women. Despite the unfortunate DNS of Tahira Najmunisaa and of Kim Matthews (hip injury again after Dalat), the field is dense with the winner of the past two seasons again in pole position. Baguio’s Sandi Menchi has shown great running pace in this race before and after a third place in CMU last month can be expected to challenge for the hattrick. However, Menchi will have at least one major opponent: the winner of that same CMU race will also toe the line on Sunday morning: Veronika Vadovicova. The young Slovakian made quite a name for herself already by beating USA’s Laura Kline and Sandi Menchi and of course everyone will now be watching her. Still very new to trail running, Sungai Menyala’s flattish forest course will be a first experience for Vadovicova. There are more challengers. From Hong Kong, Jcy Ho and Edith Fung, for example. Ho was 2nd in the 9 Dragons 50/50 and Fung won the 50 miles race of the same event. From Japan - even though she now lives in Jakarta - comes Asuka Nakajima, and she was the winner of Tahura Trail in January. Nobody questions her speed on this distance and terrain! With Jcy Ho, Vadovicova, Fung, Menchi and Nakajima all in the race, championship leader Carrie-Jane Stander will see her points advantage shrink but she cannot be overtaken. The local team Malatra also has several irons in the fire, including Grandmaster Adelinah Lintanga and newbie Izzah Hazirah. The latter was the surprisingly strong winner of MMTF last November, and one we will see plenty of times later in the season in the big mountain events. Obviously talented, it will be exciting to find out how fast Hazirah is on a flatter course.

We will be reporting live from the Sungai Menyala Forest Trail event all weekend on our social media channels. The race starts on Sunday morning. Stay tuned!

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UTLP: Grandmasters and Carrie Jane Stander
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Lots of Grandmasters and runners still on the Quest for their first star in Luang Prabang this weekend for the inaugural edition of the Ultra Trail. The new event follows V-Trail as the second major international trail race in Laos, and given its location has everything to become a cracker in the future. Organising company Teelakow from Thailand in any case has big plans for the development of trail running in Laos.

Luang Prabang is quite a popular backpacker destination already in South East Asia, thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage status. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Laos until 1975, when political developments moved that title to Vientiane further south. The city actually consists of several villages linked together and has been preserved remarkably well.

Sports is still in its infancy in Laos, in particular the leisure and mass participation industry. By means of UTLP, V Trail and more races already planned for 2020, organisers aim to develop a healthy lifestyle among its citizens as well as open up the country even more to the outside world. In V Trail last year, we already had a strong Lao runner finishing not far behind Alessandro Sherpa and Salva Rambla. Let’s see who emerges this weekend!

On the start list of the 96 km - the distance that matters for the ATM Championship - we find of course current female championship leader Carrie-Jane Stander, who continues her busy schedule at the beginning of the season. UTLP will already be her fourth race, and given her consistency and solid pace over longer distances she is definitely a podium candidate as well. The Canadian in any case looks set to open up a nice points gap to her nearest competitors in the championship, which means she might stay in the leading position for quite some time with ramadan and a more quiet period from late April to mid June approaching!

Another podium candidate for the women’s race in Laos this weekend is Thailand’s Montha Suntornwit - winner of Ultra Trail Chiang Rai 230 last October - and her compatriot Natthanan Matthanang.

In the men’s, we will be looking at the announced return of Japan’s Wataru Iino. Iino was a familiar face in Thailand in 2017, when he finished on the podium of UTKC and UT Panoramic. His regular work schedule did not allow him to compete much in Asia last season, but he re-emerged on the ATM scene at Izu Trail Journey in his native Japan. This weekend he should be the top favourite, even though Iino has struggled with hotter temperatures before. Two of his main competitors will be the rejuvenated Michael McLean and Sukrit Kaewyoun, who both ran an excellent Dalat Ultra Trail a fortnight ago. Grandmasters Ohm Malaihom and Masafumi Yamamoto are on the start list, too. Both of them also ran and completed the Vietnam SuperTrail, and Yamamoto even claimed his 2nd Grandmaster star in that race! Britain’s Stephen Wiseman is on the verge of achieving his Grandmaster Quest as well this weekend.

Stay tuned for updates from Luang Prabang during the weekend.

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Wataru Iino is set to return to the ATM scene in Ultra Trail Luang Prabang

Wataru Iino is set to return to the ATM scene in Ultra Trail Luang Prabang

Masafumi Yamamoto is now a 2-star Grandmaster and starts chasing his 3rd star immediately in Laos now

Masafumi Yamamoto is now a 2-star Grandmaster and starts chasing his 3rd star immediately in Laos now

The first Thai Grandmaster: Ohm Malaihom will be in Luang Prabang for his 9th ATM race of 70+ km

The first Thai Grandmaster: Ohm Malaihom will be in Luang Prabang for his 9th ATM race of 70+ km

Montha Suntornwit was the big winner of the Ultimate 230 in Chiang Rai last October

Montha Suntornwit was the big winner of the Ultimate 230 in Chiang Rai last October

Solang Sky Ultra a new ATM Candidate Race!
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We are happy to announce a new Candidate Race for the 2020 Asia Trail Master Championship series. The Solang Sky Ultra in the Solang Valley in Manali, is also the first time an event in India is formally joining the Asia Trail Master community. The event is scheduled for 6 October. Three distances are on offer for runners of which the 60 km is the main race. Solang Sky Ultra takes place in the north of India and the valley is well-known as a ski and wintersports location. The event name and location of course indicate higher altitudes. The 60 km has a total elevation gain of 3500 metres and is ran well above sea level at 1500m and up. The highest peak during the race is 3448m. The Himalayas offer a breathtaking backdrop.

It is quite a remote area and it will take some traveling time from e.g. New Delhi, but your efforts will be highly rewarded. Shashwat Rao, a regular competitor in our championship series, is one of the technical advisers.

The Solang Sky Ultra is the finale in the Hell Race Trail Series in India. The event organisers write on their own website it is a gruelling and testing race through the rugged, jagged and mean single track technical trails of the Solang Valley. 

You can find out more details on the website of the Hell Race Trail Series, including online registration. The below video might also give you a better idea of what this exciting Candidate Race has in store.

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Dalat Ultra Trail: trademark win by John Ellis
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Hong Kong’s John Ellis was a sensational winner of the men’s Vietnam SuperTrail in Dalat in the Central Highlands. He ran past Hisashi Kitamura from Japan in the final uphill of the last 4 km on sheer determination! Ellis’ came in in a time of 7:03, a new course record. Early leader and last year’s winner Quang Tran lost the right trail after approx 55 km and dropped back behind his closest chasers. Shortly afterwards he decided to DNF. 

Hong Kong-based Australian Ellis had taken a typical conservative start, before turning on his engine just before halfway. As ATM Championship leader Ander Iza Rekakoetxea retired at Checkpoint 2 with an upset stomach, Ellis and Kitamura have also become 1-2 in the updated ATM Championship ranking. Kitamura can’t be far away from his first ATM race victory now! For Ellis it was his second and first of the 2019 season.

The third step on the podium was for Malaysia’s Mohamed Affindi, the winner of Tahura Trail in Bandung. Excellent for his ATM Championship ambitions. Fourth came the rejuvenated Michael McLean, the Brunei-based Canadian who has had a tough few months on the trails with DNFs in UTCR and 9 Dragons. Gone Running’s Henri Lehkonen took fifth in his ATM debut , followed by Thailand’s Sukrit and Guillaume Degoulet from France. T8’s Mark Green was 8th and Ho Chi Minh City based Britain Grant Bowdery was next in 9th place followed by Vietnam’s Ngo Quoc Duong 10th, first runner of the home country.

The women’s race (finish video scroll down or go to our video section on Facebook) developed into the big dual between Tahira Najmunisaa and Kim Matthews, after all. Both former ATM Champions came into the Dalat race with legitimate fitness concerns, but they delivered a great running pace and honest competition. Tahira was leading until just over halfway, when Kim Matthews caught her and passed her. The Australian made it a double victory for her country after John Ellis won the men’s. Tahira crossed the finish line in second place about seven minutes behind. Another Malaysian, Christine Loh, scored her second third place of the season after 9 Dragons. Both SuperTrail podiums, also. Korea-based Carrie Jane Stander was fourth, her best race result of the season and certainly good enought to regain the ATM Championship lead ahead of Christine Loh.

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New Grandmaster Ekin Hoe (Singapore)

New Grandmaster Ekin Hoe (Singapore)

New Grandmaster Richard Akol (Phlippines)

New Grandmaster Richard Akol (Phlippines)

Dalat Ultra Trail: Kim & Tahira launch their comeback!
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The Dalat Ultra Trail in Vietnam is the 3rd SuperTrail in this year’s Asia Trail Master Championship and the first ever in the country. Taking place in the cool Central Highlands city of Dalat, northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, the event has witnessed a spectacular growth in just two years. After last year’s successful inaugural edition, numbers now boomed to nearly 4000 runners for the varous distances on the programme, of which the 70K is what matters for the ATM Championship. A lot of regional top runners will be at the start at 4 a.m. on Saturday, including Malaysia’s Tahira Najmunisaa, who is returning to the ATM scene after nearly one-and-a-half years. 

Initially, 2018 male ATM Champion Alessandro Sherpa had also been announced as to open his points account in Dalat, but the Italian sent around a message this morning that he is unable to travel to Vietnam due to other commitments. Plenty of top runners left, though. Local hero Quang Tran was the winner last year and can certainly be expected to challenge for victory again. After Cao Ngoc Ha switched to triathlon, Quang Tran - a former winner of Vietnam Mountain Marathon as well - has become the most prominent Vietnamese trail runner. This Saturday he will be up against serious competition. Tahura Trail race winner Mohamed Affindi is aiming for his second consecutive victory on a course that should suit him as much as the one in Bandung two months ago. Dalat is almost 30 km longer than Tahura, though. Can the Malaysian keep up his fast pace over that distance? While Affindi will be running his second ATM points race of the season, a few will be doing their third already. Among those also last weekend’s CMU protagonists Ander Iza Rekakoetxea, John Ellis and Hisashi Kitamura. Manila-based Spaniard Rekakoetxea is the current points leader in the ATM Championship with a narrow margin of just 14 points over Ellis. Kitamura is 99 points behind, but in Dalat can reduce that gap significantly. A 2:38 marathon in Tokyo recently suggests that KItamura has become one of the fastest legs on the tour. Applying that speed to trail is always still something else, but Dalat is clearly less technical than CMU last Sunday, in which the Japanese finished 7th. 

Others to watch out for on paper are Thailand’s Sukrit Kaewyoun and Hong Kong-based Fin Henri Lehkonen, together with many local Vietnamese runners who can cause an upset. 

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Julia Nguyen Thi Duong won VJM 70 and came 2nd in Dalat last year

Julia Nguyen Thi Duong won VJM 70 and came 2nd in Dalat last year

In the women’s we have two former ATM Champions on the come back trail, and another one trying to regain the lead in the current Championship standings. 2016 Champ Tahira Najmunisaa has been back in action since several months, but Dalat will be her first major international trail race since the birth of her fourth child last October. Still only 29, Tahira is unbeaten in 10 ATM races and shares the all-time record with Ruth Theresia. She is therefore a logical race favourite, even when 2017 Champion Kim Matthews is also on the start list. After winning last year’s Tahura Trail, Matthews suffered a bad hip injury that put her out of action for almost a full year. As Tahira, she has been building up speed and strength again in the past three months and Dalat will be her first international test as a competitor for race wins. Now based in Hong Kong, Kim used to live in Ho Chi Minh City and is therefore familiar with Vietnam. 

Korea-based Canadian Carrie Jane Stander is one of the busy bees this season and will be competing in her third ATM race out of five already. Championship leader until last week, when Cheryl Navarro took over, Stander can regain the points lead on Saturday if she scores another good result. Possibly her biggest competitior for the points lead will be another Malaysian, Christine Loh. She scored a fantastic third place in the 9 Dragons 50/50 at the beginning of February. Stander will like Dalat, however, and let’s remember that she won Ijen 70, another runable 70k course! 

Vietnamese runners Julia Nguyen Thi Duong and Vy le Phuong have scored podium places in several ATM races in the past years and can certainly be expected to do so again. Julia of course won the Vietnam Jungle Marathon last year and came second behind Dutchwoman Marieke Dekkers here in Dalat. Dekkers, by the way, does not feature on the 70k start list so far. 

Kim Matthews: coming back after a year of injury misery

Kim Matthews: coming back after a year of injury misery

Tahira Najmunisaa: coming back after the birth of her fourth child

Tahira Najmunisaa: coming back after the birth of her fourth child

Can Mohamed Affindi double-up after his great Tahura win in January?

Can Mohamed Affindi double-up after his great Tahura win in January?

Last year’s Dalat Ultra Trail winner Quang Tran is again one of the race favourites

Last year’s Dalat Ultra Trail winner Quang Tran is again one of the race favourites

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Visit Victoria on two feet after UT Gold Coast!
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For most people traveling to Australia remains a special trip to somewhere far away. So it is also for Asia residents. Nevertheless, air fares have come down substantially in the last decade and connections to nearly all Asian capital cities have increased in frequency. As Australia has been visibly edging closer to Asia, we have accepted the ATM application of Ultra Trail Gold Coast in Queensland, eastern Australia, as already announced before. But why no add some more time and experiences to your Ozzie journey and do a bit more trail running and sightseeing there apart from the UTGC event? In collaboration with Venture Travel, local outdoor travel specialists, we have therefore designed a week-long itinerary for runners in Victoria. The programme starts a day after the UT Gold Coast event in Melbourne, capital city of Victoria State in the Southeast of the country.

You need to take a domestic flight from Brisbane or Gold Coast to Melbourne on Monday morning, and we meet up in the late afternoon for a sunset run in and around the fabulous city. The full programme is listed below.

The cornerstone of the trip, along with the Great Ocean Road, is the Grampians National Park is 167,219-hectare (413,210-acre) and situated 260 kilometres west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres east of Adelaide. Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. The Grampians feature a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges, and its trails are great for running. From south to north is more than 150 km of trail. Halls Gap is the centre town of the Park, and is a great outdoor place with great restaurants.

At the end of the tour we make a relaxation and sightseeing stop in Ballarat for the final evening and night. A visit to the reptile park is jaw-dropping.

PROGRAMME

Day 1

30/9: Melbourne: programme starts with a meet & greet and a gentle run, followed by welcome dinner

Day 2

1/10: Great Ocean Road: after van transfer, we run from Lorne to Port Campbell for about 50 km on trails along the famous GOR with astonishing ocean views

Day 3

2/10: Grampians National Park: we run from Dunkeld to Mt William, roughly 50k to the highest point of the Park at 1167m above sea level

Day 4

3/10 Grampians National Park: from Mt William to Halls Gap, main town of the Park. Estimate 40 km.

Day 5

4/10 Grampians National Park: from Halls Gap to the northern border of the Park. Distance can be adjusted according to the group’s wishes.

Day 6

5/10 Ballarat: after optional morning sunrise walk, we transfer to Ballarat, a small but well-known tourism town with exquisite wine and beer bars. A recovery day with a visit to the famous reptile park, swim/spa/sauna, and farewell dinner.

Day 7

6/10 transfer to Melbourne airport. End of the programme and return to home country

GENERAL INCLUSIONS

  • Accommodation - 3 star cabin and hotel

  • Meals - all meals

  • Snacks and water - supplied for running

  • All runs, reptile park, pool recovery

  • Transport - bus and all included as part of itinerary

Pricing

USD 1599,- per person. (runners only).
HKD 12,550,- per person (runners only).

For more information, please contact kris@kuaisports.com




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