MSC 116: Amat and Nakajima dominate
Milton Amat has won the Mantra Summits Challenge 116 in 23h23! A fantastic performance by the Sabahan Uglow athlete, who scored his second career ATM race victory in Indonesia. He was the top favourite amongst all contenders, but Amat didn’t leave the others any chance and didn’t even look too tired as he crossed the finish line at the great Kaliandra Eco Resort in the middle of the night. More than ever Milton Amat is a serious ATM Championship contender, now after his third result of the season.
Omnipresent Hisashi Kitamura scored an impressive second place in the mega tough high mountain race - a course that normally does not suit his characteristics as a trail runner. The time gap to Milton Amat was huge, though: nearly 4 hours. It's nevertheless a very sweet second place for the Uglow Malaysia runner, as he raises his ATM total points tally by 75 to 2525 points - the same as Championship leader John Ellis! The Hong Kong Ozzie remains the official number 1, however, as he beat Kitamura in their last direct confrontation, which was at Penang Eco 100 miles. Kitamura continues to amaze followers this season with his string of fine performances. A welcome rest now follows, though.
Indonesia's Ivan Iskandar, relatively unknown on the ATM tour, completed the podium of the 116k for men. Iskandar ran a very consistent pace all day and night, and actually edged closer to Kitamura in the final 20 km. His compatriot Rahmat Septiyanto came in as fourth place. Fifth was for Hadi Mustofa, also from Indonesia, in a sign that there life after Arief Wismoyono, himself absent due to professional obligations last weekend. Malaysia’s Jeffery Budin came home sixth. The Malatra runner is also quietly establishing himself as a tough ultra runner.
The 116k proved everything that was promised: no compromises, no prisoners. The hardest race on our ATM Championship calendar saw the ‘DNFs’ of none other than Mantra expert and top favourite alongside Milton Amat, Pablo Diago Gonzales. After some 50km, the Spaniard called it quits after severely hurting his ankle in the descent of the highest peak, Mount Arjuno. He was joined at the same point by ATM Champion Alessandro Sherpa, who loves this race but seems to struggle here every year. Sherpa was able to keep up with Milton Amat early on, but as the day progressed climbing Welirang and Arjuno he got too dehydrated for his own good and decided it was too risky to continue. It’s a setback for the Champion in his bid to keep the ATM title this year, but it also takes a Champion to realise when enough is enough not to risk one’s own health. Tokyo’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi also did not reach the finish after hurting his left knee. Fandhi Achmad, winner of the 50k two years ago, was keeping a relatively low profile early on in the race. Just as he began to make up ground, he took a wrong turn and ended up off course for quite a while. Achmad nevertheless managed to finish, albeit in 11 th place.
In the women’s 116 race, we had a big and actually quite unexpected dominant victory by Japan's Asuka Nakajima! It was her second ATM points race victory of the season after Tahura Trail 42km in Bandung, which proves how versatile Nakajima is. Last month she still DNFd at Penang Eco 100, but now she bounces back at Mantra. This tastes for more! Malaysia's Siokhar "Steel" Lim again had a great second half to grab her first podium of the season. Lim overtook Sri Wahyuni in the final 15 km. Surabaya's Wahyuni still held on to third place. Philippines' Cecile Wael ran a remarkable race herself. For a long time in second position, she eventually had to slow down and came home fourth just ahead of Malaysia's Fazlia Hanim.
MSC 75: Yusuf Aprian won his first major ATM points race! The Bandung youngster was too fast for established mountain runners such as David Fontaine and Philippines’ Koi Grey. In the women’s we had a Japanese victory by Ema Nakajima ahead of Christin Mutia and Septiana Swastika