UT Mapawa: Mindanao runners on top as ankle injury hampers Divina
It was certainly quite a surprise for many when Jonathan Pido arrived first in the finishing strait at Ultra Trail Mapawa. The local runner from Mindanao Island was nearly half an hour ahead of two more local athletes. And then, only then, came pre-race favourite and Asia Trail Master championship contender Manolito Divina. Fourth place was not good enough for Divina to join Jan Nilsen at the top of the points ranking. The gap is 100 points. This means that the pressure in next month's Clark-Myamit Falls Ultra race, with SuperTrail bonus points on offer, is entirely on the Pinoy star. Moreover, the reason for Manolito Divina's troublesome Mapawa race is worrying: a sprained ankle sustained in the early part of the technical 50k race. Hopefully for him, his ankle will recover quickly and he will be back at his best in just a few weeks from now.
While Divina suffered from his ankle, the three Mindanao runners in front of him deserve all credit for their performances. Jonathan Pido was a class on his own as he crossed the line in 7:01:55, almost half an hour ahead of Richgie Dola, and Leo Colonia in third place! Amazingly, Dola finished the race with only 1 shoe, having torn the other one at km 30. All three runners are solid road marathon runners. Behind Divina in a strong fifth place was Thumbie Remigio, who himself returned from a prolonged period of inactivity due to a foot injury.
It was fantastic to see Majo Liao winning the women's 50k in 9:19:08, only three weeks after the brutal MesaStila 5 Peaks Challenge in Indonesia. A great show of character that rewards Liao with second place in the Asia Trail Master points ranking. Second in the race last Sunday was Maria Luisa Prado, and third Retchelle Nave.
UT Mapawa received praise from the runners for the beautiful course, which, however was more technical than anticipated by most. Lots of steep climbs and descents. There was no mobile connectivity at the race venue, which made live reporting virtually impossible. It did increase tye sense of adventure for the participants, on the other hand. CM 50 Ultra on the other Philippines' island of Luzon next month is guaranteed to become a thriller for the ATM championship. Several scenarios are open with plenty of top runners in the ranking scheduled to run. Manolito Divina is a double winner of that race, but it is Jan Nilsen who is in the hot seat.
With special thanks to Christine Ferrera and Simple Hydration.