Report - Tahira still unbeatable as Arief returns to peak form
Italy's David Gianelli was the surprise winner of last weekend's Mesastila 5 Peaks Challenge in the beautiful Mesastila Resort & Spa in Central Java, Indonesia. Giannelli, who hails from northwestern Lombardy but recently moved to Australia, was part of a leading trio consisting also of Jason Robinson and local hero Arief Wismoyono, which decided the pace of the race from the get-go. Other favourites such as Fandhi Achmad, Wilnar Iglesia and Isaac Yuen Wan Ho missed the early breakaway and never got into contention for the victory. Achmad struggled with his poles, and Yuen Wan Ho with a knee injury sustained halfway in a fall. On th way up to Merbabu Giannelli managed to go solo with Wismoyono and Robinson still close behind him. After a short dip in pace during the Merapi descent, Gianelli steadily increased his advantage again on the second Merbabu climb and the remaining Telemoyo ascent to win in 18:12! Indonesia's own Arief Wismoyono arrived a superb second in 20:05. The 2015 ATM Champion, who won this race two years ago, managed to drop Jason Robinson in a descent. He is back at his best level and regains the top spot in the ATM Championship ranking with 2400 points in five races. Robinson struggled with stomach cramps in the final stages to complete the course in 21:33:43. In fourth was Fandhi Achmad in 22:31:49. Muhammad Fauzi had a strong second half and came home fifth (23:09:22). The same applies for Aris Sopiandi Muklis, who was number six in 23:53:34, overtaking Philippines ' Wilnar Iglesia in the last section (24: 54:09). Malaysia 's Yim Heng Fatt edged out Isaac Yuen Wan Ho for 9th place. The Hong Kong runner got an injured knee that prevented him from running in the last 30k. Isaac moves up to third place in the ATM Championship, still behind Steven Ong, but ahead of Yim Heng Fatt.
As last season, Malaysia's Tahira Najmunisaa won the women's race in 25:01:15. She dominated from start to finish, but got sick and suffered from fever in the final hours. Tahira is back on top of the ATM Championship ranking and remains undefeated in 10 ATM points races! Ruth Theresia and Shindy Patricia completed the podium, but well behind the Malaysian. Theresia deserves great credit as she actually tried to keep up with her ATM championship rival, but had to let go and as she was 'rebooting' , Shindy Patricia caught up and the Compressport duo stayed together for the rest of the race. Jocelyn Cheung from Hong Kong is a fantastic fourth place today. Lily Suryani came in fifth. One place behind Suryani, who finished her seventh race of the season! - was the astonishing Eni Rosita. One year after being victim of a crazy acid attack, Eni returned to Mesastila to finish the race she could not finish last year. Respect.
On the 65k, Pablo Diago Gonzales eventually had the better of young Malaysia talent Mohammad Affindi in 11:16. After a tight battle between the two runners, the Spaniard went solo on the last climb of the race and still scored a gap of 31 minutes. It is Pablo's third ATM race victory of the season and he does a great job for the ATM Championship ranking! Indonesia 's Yurika Chen - also in just his third trail race ever - completes the men's podium in third place. Vincent Chalias is a great fourth place today. Dzaki Wardana did not make it to the finish, missing out in a lot of ATM Championship points.
Kim Matthews was the fastest 65k woman in just over 14 hours. Two weeks after winning the Vietnam Mountain Marathon, Matthews is the closest competitor to new championship leader Tahira Najmunisaa! It's very close between the top 3 women now: 1. Tahira 2600 (5), 2. Kim Matthews 2585 (5), 3. Ruth 2575 (5)