BTS Ultra - Wismoyono sees a new ATM title
The last of the Indonesia races in the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship has always been Bromo Tengger Semeru Ultra 100 and this year is no different. This weekend’s 5th edition is the biggest ever in terms of participation numbers and the iconic landscape at the event centre waters the mouth of everybody not present. The 100 miles and 100K races are filled with local and international talent - despite several unfortunate cancellations of ATM protagonists - and our Asia Trail Master Championship leader Arief Wismoyono can make a major step towards winning a second title after 2015.
The original course of BTS Ultra 100 can be used again this year, which implies runners can expect a seriously tough and technical race, particularly at nighttime. Last year’s dominator Jan Nilsen is sadly out of this year’s edition due to his well-known foot injury. As also Steven Ong, Cao Ngoc Ha and Isaac Yuen Wan Ho decided not to travel to East Java, eventually, Arief Wismoyono is clearly the one to watch out for. Especially given his outstanding run at Mesastila Peaks Challenge a month ago, a 100K where he reclaimed the top spot of the ATM ranking. This weekend Arief can extend his points lead over his championship contenders in his sixth race of the season. Arief has pocketed 2400 points in five races, his worst result being 4th place in Tahura Trail at the start of the year. He got 400 points for that one, and winning BTS would give him 525. In other words, he can up his total from 2400 to 2525 points, which would put him 315 points ahead of Isaac Yuen Wan Ho and 425 of Steven Ong, 575 ahead of Manolito Divina. Arief won’t be sure of winning the championship this weekend, but he certainly can put all the others firmly on the defensive!
Just like at Mesastila, there’s a few international runners who are unknown on the ATM tour and may get in the mix for victory. Otherwise, Wismoyono’s main competitor may be his compatriot Fandhi Achmad. The latter did not have his best day during the 100k of Mesastila, finishing fourth and somehow never into the fight for the win. Yet Achmad proved at Mantra Summits Challenge - beating Nilsen - and Bandung Ultra 100 that he is one of the best runners for these type of ultras. Achmad plays no role in this year’s ATM Championship, yet he can influence the outcome.
Other podium candidates are Dzaki Wardana - winner of Ijen Trail 100 - and Hendra Siswanto - currently 8th in the ATM Championship with several strong performances in ultras this season.
To note is the participation of ATM #4 Shindy Patricia and Eni Rosita in the 100 miles race this weekend. To date, only one woman has managed to complete this distance in the history of BTS. Will they be next? For sure both are in good shape, and if anything, they won’t feel any pressure from Tahira Najmunisaa or Ruth Theresia. The Malaysian ATM Champion has accepted her body’s alarm signals at UT Chiang Rai two weeks ago and is resting to be ready for the final race(s) of the season. Ruth Theresia is gunning for the win at Clark-Miyamit Falls Ultra in 3 weeks. That’s the Philippines’ SuperTrail in the ATM Championship, which means 50 useful bonus points. Ruth is very much a contender to win this year’s ATM championship, being only 25 points behind Tahira, who - as mentioned - is on the ropes at the moment.
Moving to the 100K, where there’s also 500 championship points to be scored by the race winners, we have Brunei’s Sefli Ahar at the start. Ahar is a policeman in his country with limited time and even more limited opportunity to travel abroad. When he attends a race, his only ambition is to win it. Ahar is now clearly the dark horse in the ATM Championship this year. At the moment he is still down in 16th place in the ranking, courtesy of his two victories at Beach Bunch Trail Challenge 100 and Magnificent Merapoh Trail 100. He DNFd due to inexperience in trail running at Penang Eco 100, leading the race till he got lost. After BTS Ultra 100, his calendar still shows CM 50 and Izu Trail Journey, which makes it five races. Sefli Ahar is fast, but will find BTS to be a different cup of tea than anything he has done before in trail running. Runners like Rhenaldi Firdaus - young, bright and a winner of Mesatila 4 Peaks 65k last year - and experienced Frenchman Vincent Chalias will not give him the victory on a silver platter.
The women’s race could be a battle between Malaysians and an Indonesian Grandmaster. Adelinah Lintanga has run some great races this year, which puts her in sixth place of the ATM Championship. Two weeks ago in Thailand, Adelinah lost the route like many others in the last 10k of the UTCR race. One of those others was Lily Suryani, who still finished third in that race. Suryani was chasing Lintanga closely and we can expect the same at BTS Ultra 100k this weekend. The only question is how well have they recovered, and can they withstand the challenge of ULTRON runner Puteri Norsharina Abd Aziz. The latter from Malaysia has done great things on shorter distances and is now moving up to ultra on the international scene.
As usual, we will be reporting live from BTS Ultra 100 all weekend via our social media channels. Stay tuned!