The Punisher: beaches, waterfalls & mountains
The second points race in this final weekend of the 2016 Asia Trail Master series takes place on a small island off the coast from Davao on Mindanao in the Philippines. The Punisher 50 may sound like very serious business, but actually this is the ideal kind of trail race to end your year with. Babak Samal Island is often described as a charming haven: an island, a garden and a metropolitan area all rolled into one. It has wildlife, stunning waterfalls, awe-inspiring caverns and scenic underwater sanctuaries, and is often dubbed as a region for wellness tourism. On this island, participants in the Punisher will run for 50 miles or 50 kilometres. The long distance runners will actually go all across the island before returning to the Sunset Beach Resort, which serves as the host venue and the start and finish of the race this Sunday. In total, there are 2250 metres of elevation gain to be conquered, which makes this a runnable course that should be completed in 20 hours. It is the second edition of the event, organised by Vertical 2 Sky. It is the second race in Mindanao after Ultra Trail Mapawa on the other side of the island last October.
While the majority of the course suits fast runners, there are some steep bits and other technical sections in the rocky mountain area. There's also a few river crossings to slow down the pace.
It will be an interesting race to follow without clear favourites in both the men's and women's field of participants. Several runners will be aiming especially to add a point to their tally for their Grandmaster Quest.