CM 50 - Battle for the ATM championship
The last SuperTrail race of the year is taking place in Clark, Philippines on Sunday, and it could be the decisive battle for the Asia Trail Master Championship. In pole position and holding all the cards is Thailand-based Norwegian Jan Nilsen, who after a tremendous season leads the points ranking having dominated all ultras in Indonesia. Only the best three results count, and so Nilsen currently has a 100-point bonus over home favourite Manolito Divina. And here's the catch: Divina won CM 50 in the past two years. If he repeats that feat and beats Nilsen on Sunday again, he will wipe out his rather disappointing 4th place result of UT Mapawa last month and finish the season with 1650 points, 50 more than Nilsen. Those 50 points are the difference between winning a SuperTrail and a standard race. Divina won Malaysia Eco 100 in May, Nilsen took MesaStila Peaks Challenge in October. He who wins CM 50 is the 2016 Asia Trail Master champion.
However, there are runners who can spoil the party for both Divina and Nilsen this weekend. Runners who have not yet given up on their own ambitions to become this year's ATM champion. CM 50 is not the final race of the year, there are still points and opportunities to be scored in UT Panoramic (Thailand) and The Punisher (Mindanao, Philippines) from 9 to 11 December. Indonesia's Arief Wismoyono and Xu Xiutao (China) in particular have both travelled to Clark this week with a clear mission: to beat the two protagonists and postpone the championship outcome. Wismoyono is of course the defending Asia Trail Master champion and won Ijen Trailrunning this season. Recently married, Wismoyono finds a trail course very much to his liking in Clark and is highly motivated to show to the Asian trail community he can also win outside his home country. Xu Xiutao has already done that: the young Chinese runner from Beijing was a strong winner at Korea 50K last April, and before that came second at UTHK 100 behind Tom Robertshaw. Xu has already pencilled in the 9-11 December long weekend in his diary... which says enough.
Fact is that if Wismoyono or Xu Xiutao win CM 50, the ATM championship will in theory not be over yet.
There's a number of other strong competitors this weekend who could also steal points away from the favourites. Isaac Yuen Wan Ho from Hong Kong is in great shape and could cause an upset still. Denmark's Kristian Joergensen is a real dangerman on the Pinoy trails, as he proved in the preparatory MF42 race two months ago. And of course, there's an entire armada of strong and experienced local runners at the starting line. In addition, there will be Aleksis Capili, the first Asia Trail Grandmaster, who just like Jan Nilsen will aim for a seventh finish on the way to the 2 stars shield (10 finishes).
Tahira Najmunisaa is already confirmed as the women's 2016 Asia Trail Master champion, and this weekend local star Majo Liao can assure herself of second spot. Also a double winner of CM 50 already, Majo can do a hattrick on Sunday.
This weekend's CM 50 is already the sixth edition and therefore one of the pioneering races in the Philippines. Running from the Clark Freetrade Zone to the Miyamit Falls and back over 50 miles (82 kilometers). It is quite runnable, yet there are over 3000 metres of elevation gain to be conquered as well. Less ambitious participants can also opt for the slightly shorter distance of 60 km.
The race starts at 1 a.m. and you can stay up to date on all the action throughout the weekend live from Clark.
Link to Race summary 2015 edition