Tahira rocks Tahura while Mitiche doubles up

The first race of the new Asia Trail Master championship series took place in Bandung, Indonesia, last weekend and was a worthy opener with two fantastic winners. Abdoullah Mitiche had to work hard on the very muddy and slippery course but repeated his victory from last year, while defending female Asia Trail Master champion Tahira Najmunisaa Muhammad Zaid delivered another superb run to take the women's race convincingly. The fifth edition of the event saw over 1700 participants spread over four race distances, all of whom had to spend time washing their shoes afterwards as heavy rain on Saturday night turned most of the trail course into a mud pool. 

The mud was good for the hardcore trail runners, but less so for the fast "road"runners who use the not-so-technical Tahura Trail to gain experience offroad, or simply because it is such a good event.  Algeria-born COMPRESSPORT athlete Abdoullah Mitiche is primarily a triathlete who does Tahura Trail year after year as it fits his schedule. Mitiche won last year, and was determined to repeat that feat last Sunday, even with established trail heroes such as Asia Trail Master champion Manolito Divina, Arief Wismoyono and Alan Maulana at the starting line. After a fast start, he and Margono - second place last year - opened up a small gap over his main rivals, but then took a wrong turn that put him back behind and on the chase. Divina was going well in his first ever race in Indonesia, until he also lost the right trail. Disaster struck for the Filippino star, as he was unable to find his way back to the right path and eventually was guided to the 21 km race course by a marshal. No ATM points for Divina in his first race this year. In trail running, you never know and bad things also happen to the best. Manolito Divina will aim to bounce back next weekend already at the Rizal Mountain Run. 

Ari Masrudi, a rather unfamiliar name on the trail circuit, was putting the pressure on in the mean time. A road runner first and foremost, Masrudi kept Wismoyono, Margono and the surprisingly quick Gaspard Dessy behind as the leaders entered the final 10k to the finish. However, when Mitiche started his final charge Masrudi had no answer. Given the treacherous conditions, it was amazing to see the winning time of Mitiche being virtually the same as last season: 4:02:16, six seconds ahead of Masrudi and almost five ahead of Dessy. 2015 ATM champion Arief Wismoyono opened his new account with 4th place and Margono settled for fifth. 

In the women's race, Malaysia's leading trail lady Tahira Najmunisaa had no match on the weekend. Taking charge on the first hill climb of the day, she gradually opened up a big gap to the other women and finished in an amazing time of 4:36:11, just 34 minutes slower than Mitiche in the men's! Second place went to Ninie Hauschild, mainly known as a triathlete as well, and third place to last year's Indonesia Trail Master Shindy Patricia. The women's field was also very competitive. 

On our facebook page, you can check pre and post race interviews with some of the protagonists of this year's Tahura Trail in Bandung. Both race winners are of course also the first leaders in the 2017 Asia Trail Master points championship. The next race is already taking place next weekend in the Philippines: the Rizal Mountain Run!