Race preview - Top runners for first SuperTrail UTKC
Several of Asia's most experienced and renowned trail runners are taking up the challenge of the 100 km at UT Unseen Koh Chang, aka UTKC, in Thailand this weekend. UTKC is the first SuperTrail of the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship series, which means 50 bonus finisher points are to be scored, which can be important at the end of the season for those with championship-winning ambitions. Malaysia's Tahira Najmunisaa is top favourite in the women's race. The defending ATM champion, now running under the Malatra flag, finds on Koh Chang island a race course to her satisfaction: hard and technical! After her strong showing at Tahura Trail in Bandung last month, there is no doubt that whoever wants to claim victory this weekend needs to get passed Tahira Najmunisaa Muhammad Zaid. If she wins, she will reclaim the points lead in the ATM standings at the expense of Indonesia's Lily Suryani, who moved ahead of her at Coast To Coast Night Trail Ultra in Yogyakarta last weekend. Yet, winning is never a given, Johanna Kruk could be a contender, and UTKC is really hailed as one of the most treacherous courses of the ATM season in which anything can occur.
The men's race may have a Japanese runner as top favourite in the person of Wataru Iino. A multiple race winner and podium placer at several international trail races, Iino has come to Thailand to win and set himself up for a challenge to take the ATM championship later this year. He will be competing this weekend against the likes of Pharat Varesin and Vietnam's Cao Ngoc Ha, to name just a few. Cao Ngoc Ha was second in the Vietnam Mountain Marathon 100k last season. Grandmaster Aleksis Capili is also taking part, and he has been gradually improving his speed in recent months. Having ultra experience counts at UTKC, so expect Capili to finish high up in the result list. Singapore's Henry Yang is another established ultrarunner who is definitely capable of a podium finish.
The 100k race, the main event, starts on Friday morning already. As usual, you can follow the action live on our social media channels. The 70k race, as the 100 also a Grandmaster distance, begins layer on the day.