Brunei's Beach Bunch Trail Challenge is one of those new events in 2016 that caught the eye of plenty a trail runner in Asia. Brunei as a new destination for runners, but the race itself as it had a 50% DNF quote despite "only" being of 42k marathon length. For once, the term "challenge" in the event's title was not just randomly added. The race was a test of running abiility, but arguably even more so of mental resilience and even tactical choice of running gear. While the forest section in the first half of the course definitely was made for hardcore trail shoes, this type of footwear sank people's feet deep into the loose beach sand in the second half, draining their legs. Significantly, a pure road runner won the men's race: Sefli Ahar, a former winner of the Hong Kong Half Marathon, pushed Isaac Yuen Wan Ho into second place.
In 2017 the Beach Bunch Trail Challenge goes ultra with the main races over 100 km and 50 km. There is also a 30 km distance for beginners. The tale of the trail reveals that elevation gain is limited to 1830 hm on the 100 km, and a mere 570 hm on the 50 km, so lovers of runnable courses should still mark this race red hot in their calendars. In terms of points for the Asia Trail Master championship, special conditions will apply to this event. On both the 100 and the 50 km races the winner will pocket 400 performance points. The difference will be, logically, in the finisher points, whereby 100k finishers score the usual 100 and the 50k finishers 50 points. As such, the winner of the 100k will have a 50-point-advantage over the winner of the 50k, but in the grand scheme of things (in 2017 each runner's best five results count for the final ranking at the end of the year) the difference might be neglible.
Rizan Latif, organiser of the Beach Bunch Trail Challenge, is looking forward to seeing the protagonists of his 2016 race and of the Asia Trail Master championship come to Brunei on 25-26 February, for what will effectively be the first ever ultra trail distance in the country on Borneo island.
Registration is open until 6 January 2017, but it is advised not to wait till last-minute as slots do fill up quickly.