Runners ready for a tough UTMJ
This weekend the second Korean trail race of the Asia Trail Master season is on the menu. A tough mountainous race in the country's Southern region, on and around the holy Jirisan mountain. Mount Jiri is in fact the second highest mountain in Korea at 1915m above sea level, and the surrounding national park the largest of its kind. Trail runners have 100km or 50km to absorb this weekend. The main race has approx 5900m of elevation gain and a tight cut-off time of 32 hours. Spectactular views and local ethnic culture will accompany the athletes during their effort.
The weather forecast is not brilliant for the weekend. One week after the debacle at UTMF last week, there are fears that also this big race may be reduced to a shorter distance. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. In any case, the cold temperatures in combination with potential rainfall will make it a tough day for all competitors. [UPDATE: the 100k has been cancelled. All competitors will be redirected to the 50k distance]
The event will have its second edition following a successful test race last year. Organised by the same crew of Korea 50k - the country's best known trail race and also an Asia Trail Master points race in April - UTMJ has the environment to develop further into a classic race on the Asian calendar. Accessible via Busan, the organisers also arrange transport from Seoul and the main event hotel is the great Kensington resort.
The competition is quite open with a great mix of local Korean athletes and international runners. The conditions during the race may affect performances, so it really remains to be seen who will emerge victorious.
You can follow the action at UTMJ live via our social media channels this weekend.