Ruth Theresia is "ATM Runner of the Year"!
We are grateful to so many of you who took part in our end-of-season poll a few weeks ago and provided us also with useful feedback on Asia Trail Master. Some of you raised interesting points we had never though of before, others confirmed our own hunches on the current state of Asian trail running and the direction we would like to go next. Once again, thank you so much.
Now to the ‘fun’ aspect of the end-of-season poll and the announcement of the winners in the various categories we set up. The winners will receive an award at the beginning of the 2019 season.
Similarly, of all people who contributed to the poll non-anonymously we will elect a winner who gets a free race entry to his ATM event of choice in 2019.
ATM Runner of the Year
Women beat men. Our female champion Ruth Theresia from Indonesia gets the top honour with a clear margin over her Filipino runner-up, Aggy Sabanal, and even male champion Alessandro Sherpa. Perhaps not so surprising, after all, given that Ruth won 6 ATM races during the 2018 season, double as many as Sherpa. Ruth also became the first 3-star Grandmaster in ATM history with 15 finishes.
Ruth Theresia - 43%
Aggy Sabanal - 22%
Alessandro Sherpa - 15%
2. Most exciting New Kid on the Block (young talent male)
Many voters chose different runners for this category, but we do have a winner with 16% of total votes: Davao youngster Elias Tabac, who burst onto the ATM scene in February with a superb win at Pilipinas Akyathlon. However, it was his Mantra Summits Challenge victory in Indonesia, his first ever race abroad, that was stuff of legends. Coming from far behind after breaking his headlamp at night time, he sprinted passed the shocked Pablo Diago Gonzales in the final kilometre with bleeding feet in completely destroyed shoes. Tabac sank to the ground immediately after the line and had to empty his stomach to boot. Elias had an unfortunate DNF at Plataran X Trail Bali later in October, but nevertheless he is officially ‘the most exciting NKOTB’ of 2018.
Behind Tabac, other runners such as Milton Amat, John Ray Onifa, Carlo Chiong and Rhenaldi Firdaus received quite a number of votes.
3. Most exciting New Girl on the Block (young talent female)
It was much easier apparently to choose a female winner in this category. The 21-year-old student from Mindanao, now living in Manila, got a massive 41% winning score! Sabanal is hailed as a strong mountain and technical runner, which she also proved by winning Rizal Mountain Run and Mt Apo Sky Race, but late in December she proved she can also run a good pace during the Izu Trail Journey.
The bulk of other votes went to Sri Wahyuni, Izzah Hazirah, Erin Aziz, Novena Manacnes and Siokhar Lim
4. Best Event in ATM
Cordillera Mountain Ultra
It was quite tight between two so-called Baguio races, the mountain area of Luzon in Philippines called Cordillera is clearly a favourite playground for many of you. With 18% of total votes, Cordillera Mountain Ultra defeats Pilipinas Akyathlon (16%)! Interestingly perhaps, both events had a 50k - even a bit less - as main race distance, so not a 100k.
Many votes were also cast for Borneo TMBT Ultra, Magnificent Merapoh Trail, Izu Trail Journey, 9 Dragons Ultra and Bandung Ultra.
5. Best Race Director (in ATM)
The race director of the best event of 2018 also gets the thumbs up of 25% of voters, a bigger winning margin even. Kian Vicera of Akyathlon takes third place in this category with Heru Prabowo of Mantra Summits Challenge taking second place. Just off the podium in this category we see the names of Tatsuo Chiba (Izu Trail Journey) and Dian Sukmara (BDG 100).
6. Best Runner's Coach (in ATM)
The Bandung Explorer Team from West Java in Indonesia has been a source of well-trained and technically proficient trail runners since the beginning of Asia Trail Master. Arief Wismoyono was our male champion in 2015 and has been consistently in the top six ever since. Ruth Theresia has just won the female ATM title. Their coach is Rudy Dimyana, who seems a logical choice as winner of this category with 23% of total votes (a lot of people left this category blank). Rudy is currently also preparing for the transition of Margono from speed walking to trail running, and has an exciting newcomer in his ranks for the 2019 season: Yusuf Aprian.
Other coaches who received a fair share of votes were Majell Backhausen, Jon Fong and Andy Debois.
7. Favourite Trail Section of the Year
Nishina Pass @ Izu Trail Journey Pineapple Ridge @ Borneo TMBT Ultra
This was of course a very open category and runners also voted for wide range of trail sections that featured in one of the ATM points races in 2018. Still, two sections came up multiple times and are a joint-winner: the Nishina Pass halfway through the Izu Trail Journey in Japan, with its fantastic views of Mt Fuji and the bay, and the Pineapple Ridge during the Borneo TMBT Ultra 100.
Both trails scored exactly 1 vote more than the caves of The Magnificent Merapoh Trail.
8. Apparel Brand of the Year
Still the best trail clothes for most of you: Salomon. The traditional brand from France outscores COMPRESSPORT by a comfortable margin. Exciting to see start-up brand T8 from Hong Kong equalling third place with The North Face!
Salomon - 21%
Compressport - 12%
T8 - 8%
North Face - 8%
9. Trail footwear of the Year
HOKA One One
It has become nearly impossible not to notice Hoka One One at trail events across Asia. The brand is seemingly everywhere and their investments pay off as they beat Salomon hands-down in this category. Altra is third with a few votes more than Columbia.
Hoka One One - 36%
Salomon - 19%
Altra - 14%
10. Nutrition Brand of the Year
A tie in this category: the French and the American brands score 25% of total votes. Quite impressive debut in Asia for Overstim’s as it hasn’t been around for much more than a year! GU is not so far behind in third place with 11% of votes.
11. Best Trail Blog/Mag (in Asia)
Asia Trail Master
Actually we did not include this category with having ourselves in mind at all but 43% of you voted for Asia Trail Master :-). For which many thanks, of course! Other blogs and magazines that received votes were Peaks & Penguins, Runhood Magazine, Armchair Jogger and Inspired Trail Runners.
12. Trailmate of the Year (male)
And now the two categories you have all been waiting for: who are the ‘trailmates’ of the year: the sexiest, most attractive and inspiring posterboys and girls of the past season. We received so many different names, even of runners we had never heard of, but at the top of the voting ranking we do have familiar faces. Tokyo’s Roppongi runner Tomohiro Mizukoshi received most votes of all with 14% of the total, marginally more than Indonesia’s Arief Wismoyono and Singapore-based Italian Alessandro Sherpa who both got 11%. The 43-year-old Mizukoshi, wearing his trademark headband, made a name for himself in no fewer than 11 ATM points races this year, winning one in Bali on the way to finishing third in the ATM Championship. Clearly, his journey and style has appealed to many among you.
13. Trailmate of the Year (female)
My goodness she wins absolutely everything: Ruth Theresia is also your favourite female Trailmate of the Year’! Maybe not the biggest surprise as every organiser in ATM wants to see Ruth coming to their events. Her never-ending smile and out-going personality seem to infect a lot of people: 31% of voters chose for our champion in this category. Aggy Sabanal again comes second with 17% and Shindy Patricia from East Java was chosen by 14% of you.
14. Most Watched Video
Elias Tabac’s finish at Mantra Summits Challenge
Finally, our most watched video on facebook with over 18.500 viewers (so far) was the arrival of Elias Tabac as sudden winner of the Mantra Summits Challenge in Malang, East Java, last July. It was a live video during which we were caught by surprise as everyone was waiting for Pablo Diago Gonzales to come in first. Still, the initial shaking footage contributed to the drama of Tabac’s mixture of joy and agony. See it again here: