Mt Apo Sky Race: Aleksis Capili to earn his 2nd Grandmaster Star
This Saturday trail runners have a unique chance to climb Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines at 2954m above sea level. Race organisers Vertical 2 Sky have managed to get an exception from local authorities to allow runners to enter the Park area, which has been closed for mass tourism following the big El Nino-inspired bush fire from a year ago. The Mount Apo Sky Race is a technical out-and-back trail of 70 km - Grandmaster Quest distance - and the first of two ATM points races on Mindanao Island this season (Ultra Trail Mapawa follows on 29 October).
As last year's Mapawa and The Punisher events showed, races on Mindanao seem to open a new can of great runners every time. The established names on the current start list should therefore remain on guard. However, spotlights will shine in any case on Aleksis Capili. The Thailand-based Filipino is going for his second Grandmaster star this weekend at the Apo Sky Race. It's almost a year ago since he became the first ever Asia Trail Grandmaster by finishing six ATM races of 70+ kilometres within two years, and now he has reached 10 - provided he crosses the finish line, of course. What is amazing is that Capili's running speed and results have been improving as well in the course of the past twelve months. Even to the extent that Capili is currently sixth in the 2017 ATM points championship and can move firmly into the top 5 this weekend. Arief Wismoyono and Gaspard Dessy are beyond reach, but Capili could split the Malaysian duo of Steven Oong and Yim Heng Fatt.
One of the race favourites on paper is certainly Singapore-based Spaniard Pablo Diago Gonzales. Fourth a few weeks ago in the Sungai Menyala Forest Trail in Malaysia, Gonzales can move up to the top 10 in his second ATM race of the season. He is not only a fast-paced runner, he climbs well, too, making him perfectly adapted to the course of the Mt Apo Sky Race. A local runner to watch out for is Rene Amigleo, who was second in The Punisher 50 miles last December. Finally, a quintet of women will also attempt to do the big 70k race this weekend.
Stay tuned this weekend on our social media channels for updates on the Mt Apo Sky Race!