Asia Trail Master in Nepal and Indonesia: Arief Wismoyono going for the lead
Two races this weekend with Asia Trail Master points up for grabs. In Nepal, there is the 9th edition of Annapurna 100, the Himalayan country's oldest trail race that was postponed earlier this year, and in Indonesia we have the 4th edition of the picturesque Mesastila Challenge. In both races the longest distance of 100km also gives finishers 1 point for the Grandmaster Quest.
Mesa Hotels & Resorts hosts the race in Magelang, Central Java, as part of the event portfolio by FOneSport, also organiser of the Mount Rinjani Ultra and upcoming Bromo Tengger Semeru. The race takes place relatively close to the world famous Buddhist temple complex of Borobudur and features unused train tracks, uncovered rail bridges, overgrown jungle trails, small village roads, rice paddies, and up to five mountains in Central Java.
For the first time, the Mesastila Challenge will offer a 100km course to its participants. This one includes five peaks, including Gunung Merapi and twice Gunung Merbabu at over 3000m altitude. Total elevation gain is 7560hm, and is clearly something for fast climbers. The main event arguably has two big favourites on paper: Arief Wismoyono and Alan Maulana. They conquered Ijen Trail in August, and Wismoyono is of course the great champion of this year's Mount Rinjani Ultra, the first Indonesian runner to achieve that feat. The Rinjani victory gave Wismoyono a solid points haul, and the 31-year-old can become the new number 1 in the Asia Trail Master ranking this Sunday. In order to move ahead of current leader Xie Zhangrong, Wismoyono needs to finish in the top 3 of the 100km race. Another participant who can propel himself into the top 5 of the ranking is Belgium's Gaspard Dessy, who is currently sitting in 17th place having scored points in Gede Pangrango Marathon and Borneo 100 TMBT this season. Dessy has registered for the classic 65km race at Mesastila on Sunday.
In the women's ranking, we might see local Javanese runner Ina Budiyarni move up to second place if she finishes the same 65km race distance. Malaysia's Tan Seow Ping's 900 points are out of reach this weekend, but Budiyarni has also already registered for the Bromo Tengger Semeru race in November... The Mesastila event also offers shorter races of 42km, 21km and 13km but none of these qualify for Asia Trail Master points.
As the world knows, it has been a very challenging year for Nepal and we are therefore very pleased that the team of Annapurna 100 in Pokhara has managed to set up the 2015 edition of their oldest race at all. The Annapurna trail needs little introduction, being a famous route for trekkers and hikers since decades. Running it with a cut-off time in mind is of course still a different matter. Postponed from its original date in February (unrelated to the earthquake), this weekend's race will be a bit of a fresh start for the event, with a slightly modified running course as well. According to the measurements by ITRA, the race will actually total 110km and an elevation gain of roughly 4700 Hm. As always in Nepal, it will be interesting to see how the local runners perform against a very international field. The event also offers a B-distance race of 50km.
CURRENT TOP 5 ASIA TRAIL MASTER RANKING
1. Xie Zhangrong (China) 862
2. Patrick Singha (Guyana) 745
3. Ullas Narayana (India) 732
4. Phairat Varasin (Thailand) 710
5. Yan Longfei (China) 709
1. Tan Seow Ping (Malaysia) 900
2. Yuen Kit Shan (Hong Kong) 575
3. Veronique Messina (France) 575
=. Marcia Zhou (USA) 575
5. Kathy Yu (Hong Kong) 525