The 4th Tengri Ultra Trail in Kazakhstan sees a record number of participants with over 1000 runners spread out over three race distances. It is testimony to the growth of trail running also here, even when it is still a minority of people who dares to tackle the ultra trail race of 70 km. The event takes place on Monday - a public holiday in Kazkahstan. Looking at the start list we also see an increased number of nationalities, including Japan, China, Singapore, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Thailand. Most runners from Kazahstan, Eastern Russia, Kyrgyzstan are perhaps not so well-known to the general Asian audience, but one name stands out: Pablo Diago Gonzales. The Singapore-based Spaniard is having a busy early season campaign and Tengri Ultra Trail will already be his 5th points race in 2018. The number 4 of the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship had an injury-caused DNF at the 9 Dragons in Hong Kong, but accumulated 1225 points with a 4th place at Rizal Mountain Run (PHI), 2nd at Beach Bunch Trail Challenge 50 (BRU) and 3rd two weeks ago at Mount Apo SkyRace (PHI). A three-time race winner in 2017, can he score his first victory of the season in Kazakhstan? In any case, Pablo Diago only needs a result inside the top 15 and 260 points to take over the points lead in the ATM Championship from Harry Jones. He would be the first top runner to score points in 4 races this season.
The start and finish of the Tengri Ultra Trail is at Tamgaly Tas, a UNESCO World Heritage SIte along the mighty Ili River that flows into Xinjiang, China. Connectivity is virtually non-existent at the place and all participants will be camping at the riverside on Sunday night. We will update with news from the field when possible.