MOON 100: Dramas unfold on Koh Phangan!
The first edition of The Moon 100 on Koh Phangan, the small island close to Koh Samui that is famous for its full moon beach parties, will be remembered for a long time. This was a very tough course! Of the approx 240 starters on the longest distance of 103km and 5200 hm, 94 made it to the line within the cut-off time of 36 hours. The winner’s time was 18 hours and 31 minutes, and the guys at the top of the board are no snails. Combined with the heat of day, the Koh Phangan hilly jungle trails proved to be even more technical than those on Koh Chang (UTKC). Plenty of protagonists called it a day at some point, and both the men’s and women’s race had some dramatic turnabouts towards the very end.
Finally, we saw an almost miraculous comeback from Chiang Mai’s Job Tanapong on the beaches of Koh Phangan, after a gruelling day of trail running. The coming-man from Chiang Mai was still over 50 minutes behind the Sabahan duo of Milton Amat and Wilsen Singgin at km 70. But the youngster had juice left in the tank, dropped his Thai running mates (they were in a group of five, six most of the day) and began to chase the Malaysians. Milton Amat had looked like the strongest runner of all, but he decided to wait and run together with his teammate Wilsen Singgin. That proved to be a good tactic as together they developed a big gap on the rest, even when Thailand’s Supachuk Papetthong kept on lurking in the shadows. However, what nobody realised at the time - not even at the last checkpoint with 10 flat km left to the finish - was that Wilsen Singgin got increasingly dehydrated. This slowed the duo down so much that all of a sudden Job Tanapong and Supachok Pappethong were back within under 10 minutes of the leaders.
What happened then was sheer drama. With just 1,5 km left to go on the beach to the finish, Job Tanapong caught the leaders and Wilsen Singgin sank down to the ground. Heatstroke, dehydrated, hyponatremia. Milton Amat stopped himself to assist his suffering friend while asking for medical assistance. By the time the medical staff arrived at the spot, Supachok was there as well and Milton went with him together to the finish line. Wilsen never made it. His race ended at km 101,5. He was hospitalised and following a spell of heavy hallucinations was transfered even to a bigger hospital in Koh Samui, where he stayed the night. The runner from Sabah recovered to his full senses later at night but remained under observation on Sunday. If anyone still thought a heatstroke is nothing serious, think again.
Milton Amat showed genuine friendship and sportsmanship after the race by publicly congratulating Job Tanapong on his race victory without “ifs” or “buts”. Amat is gunning for the ATM Championship this year, and second place means he lost 50 points compared to if he had won. The price for fair-play can not escape him anymore. Video interviews with Job Tanapong and Milton Amat are available on our ATM facebook page.
Thailand’s other emerging trail star Sukrit Kaewyoun was fourth more than an hour later, and moves up to 3rd place in the Asia Trail Master Championship points standings. Thongsai Wongsaard and Suvatana were five and six.
Also the women’s race had its fair share of drama today. Sri Wahyuni decided to DNF after she and her six male companions at the time unwillingly missed a hillclimb between checkpoints 2 and 3. As nobody else made that mistake, race direction had no other choice but to tell them to return to the section. The Indonesian from Surabaya, third in last year’s ATM Championship, was running very strongly - as even indicated by Fredelyn Alberto. Had she done what was asked, she could have still ended up on the podium. Meanwhile, the inspiring Phitchanan Mahachot lost her way during the night, too, and never came back to the front. Then, mid-race leader Wipawee Cartoon also turned into a shocking DNF at CP 8 with major stomach issues. Hong Kong based Filipino Fredelyn Alberto had already caught Cartoon very quickly all of a sudden and looked set for her first ATM race victory. Alberto managed it in style, and in so doing also climbs to 2nd place in the Asia Trail Master Championship points ranking. Video of her race finish is below this post.
Been Lee from South Korea had a great late pace and scored a second place she probably had not expected herself when she started and said smilingly “there’s too many women in this race” . The podium was completed by Thailand’s experienced ultra favourite Montha Suntornwit . Malaysian Siokhar Lim arrived in fourth place, only four minutes behind Suntornwit. Both the Thai and the Malaysian proved once again that nothing seems to hurt them in trail. Jassica Lintanga dropped to sixth place but finished, after she had looked like a potential winner at halfway distance. This Moon 100 shocked many runners, indeed.