Race report - Sefli Ahar & Ruth Theresia dominate 100k
Fantastic runs last weekend at the Beach Bunch Trail Challenge, the first ever ultra event in Brunei on Borneo Island. Local star Sefli Ahar proved that in his forties he has no issues going beyond standard marathon distance and won the men's 100k in a blistering time of just over 12 hours. Leading from start to finish was also Indonesia's upcoming trail talent Ruth Theresia, who took her second ATM race victory in two weeks after Coast To Coast in Yogyakarta. The 26-year-old from Bandung was clearly not intimidated by the strong women's field in Brunei, including Singapore's Jeri Chua and the Lintanga sisters from Malaysia. Theresia opened up a gap on the initial 9 km road section and never looked back. She finished the 100k in a time of 17:53. It was also her third successive win in an ATM points race, as she won Bromo Tengger Semeru 100k last November as well. Ruth Theresia now has 1000 ATM championship points and moves up to second place in the ranking behind the defending champion Tahira Najmunisaa (photo above), who also claimed another race victory in the Beach Bunch event. One week after the grueling UTKC 100 race in Thailand, the Malaysian star settled for the 50k in Brunei. She won convincingly in 5:41 (third overall!), but had to stay focused as Scotland's Margaret Rait had a great run herself to finish second in 6:14. As the 50k was credited with 400 performance points as well, Tahira boosts her 2017 total to 1500 points. For the ATM championship, the best five results of each runner are taken into account.
Behind Sefli Ahar and Ruth Theresia, the battle for the podium places on the 100k distance was exciting to follow. Hong Kong's Isaac Yuen Wan Ho, local runners Chung Ming and Muhdabdulfarid Hjsufri, and Malaysia's Yim Heng Fatt - fifth in UTKC 70 a week ago - were all in contention. Yuen Wan Ho, in his first ATM points race of the season, had a bit of a scare when he lost the right trail and dropped far back around the km 35 mark. Being an excellent and experienced ultrarunner, he managed to stay calm and gradually ran his way back to Chung Ming, and eventually left him behind for second place in 13:46. The Bruneian Chung Ming settled for a great third place on his 100k debut. Yim Heng Fatt came in fourth and scored more points for the ATM championship, still led by Arief Wismoyono. South Africa's Christo Swart was fifth.
Jessica Lintanga stayed ahead of her younger sister Adelinah to claim second place roughly two hours behind Ruth Theresia. Youngsters themselves, the sisters from Sabah in Team Malatra continue to improve on the ultra distances. Adelinah even showed very fast legs still in the final hundreds of meters as she sprinted with Bruneian Shazana Nabilah Hj Ayob to the finish to get the final podium spot. Filippino runner Cheryl Bihag took a fine fifth place, ahead of Moana O'Sullivan, Mila Marlina- in her third race weekend in a row - and Melissa Woo. Bihag enters the top 5 of the ATM championship ranking, after finishing 3rd in the Rizal Mountain Run last month as well. Jeri Chua, on of Asia's best-known and celebrated trail running stars, sprained her ankle in a muddy section at night while running in second position with Jessica Lintanga. She wisely decided to avoid risking serious injury and pulled out of the race at km 43.
The 100k race started in damp conditions after a serious downpour earlier that night. However, as the skies cleared out and the sun came out, the second part of the race was held in hot conditions.
The men's 50k was dominated by two locals, who had a great fight for the win. Eventually, it was Md Norrisman Ismail who grabbed the race win in 5:05:25. Mohd Nazrul Effendy Bin Ali Hassan Jambul settled for second after leading most of the race in 5:14. Australia's Dave Smith claimed the third place on the podium in 5:45