Race preview - Wismoyono returns on the Ijen Trail
After the superb racing in Malaysia and Southwest China last weekend, the Asia Trail Master series moves to Indonesia for the first points scoring race in the country this year. The 2nd edition of the Ijen Trailrunning in Bondowoso, East Java, will see the first appearance of 2015 Asia Trail Master champion Arief Wismoyono, who has been quietly preparing in recent weeks to be in top shape as he begins the defence of his title. The event, organised by Egon Trail, is completely centered around the beautiful Ijen volcano. The climb to the crater rim, where runners can witness the so-called blue fire, is the highlight of the trail, and also the only serious difficulty. The main race is 70km long - just enough for finishers to score a point in the Grandmaster Quest - and has a total elevation gain of approx 2500 hm, which is relatively moderate in comparison to the other Indonesian races on our calendar. Fast runners therefore have a chance to do well on Sunday.
Wismoyono of course starts as the favourite to win the 70k Ijen Trailrunning. He also won this race last year together with Alan Maulana, the latter not featuring on the start list this season. The star from the Bandung Explorers team had a difficult winter as both his Hong Kong adventures, HK 100 and Lantau 100, suffered from extremely cold weather spells, which literally froze his chances for a good result. Let's see how Wismoyono fares back at home on familiar soil.
In the women's race, also Ina Budiyarni, fourth in last year's Asia Trail Master championship, will make her 2016 debut at Ijen. Budiyarni has been going well in other trail and road races in Indonesia all year - find a race where she is not taking part in and win a fruit basket - , but on the start list are several women who could surprise her this Sunday.
Ijen Trail running's start has a lot of international names this year, and for sure we will discover some new interesting athletes. As always, you can follow the action live via our social media channels this weekend.