Posts tagged apo
Mt Apo Sky Race: Koi Grey reaching for the highest peak
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This weekend the ATM Championship moves back to the Philippines, but this time in the south on Mindanao Island. The highest mountain of the country is Mount Apo, and once a year the whole park is open for trail runners. Participants numbers need to be restricted for the 100 km main race to 100, but it has not been any issue to sell those out, even after some political issues interfered with the race. David Gianelli and Aggy Sabanal were the heroes a year ago, but they won’t be there in Santa Cruz now. In fact, it’s a Baguio Boy who could be the biggest favourite to win this year’s edition: Koi Grey!

Koi Grey is in the best shape of his life and currently ranks 6th in the ATM Championship with strong showings in the 9 Dragons and Cordillera Mountain Ultra, the latter crowned by a podium place even. A reputed mountain runner, Koi Grey has the speed to challenge for the race victory, even when 100k still remains a long distance for him. Let’s see this weekend if he has made progress on dealing with that distance. An important challenger will be local Davao star Rexell Aguirre, who has been on the podium before on Mt Apo. Aguirre has been preparing himself very well and if he can run injury-free will be tough nut to crack for Koi Grey.

Other podium contenders are Julius Kevin Japlit, one of this season’s busy bees, and fresh Grandmaster Richard Akol.

In the women’s, ATM Championship leader Carrie Jane Stander is running again and could have a go at the race victory this weekend. Her main rivals will be local star Manolyn Mamugay and Maria Sepe.

Koi Grey is having an outstanding come back so far!

Koi Grey is having an outstanding come back so far!

Grandmaster Richard Akol continues his busy race schedule at Mt Apo

Grandmaster Richard Akol continues his busy race schedule at Mt Apo

Also current #4 Julius Kevin Japlet will already be competing in his 4th ATM points race of the season!

Also current #4 Julius Kevin Japlet will already be competing in his 4th ATM points race of the season!

Carrie Jane Stander is leading the championship and might do so for some time this season!

Carrie Jane Stander is leading the championship and might do so for some time this season!

Tough trails in Mindanao and Korea
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Both the Korea 50K in Dongducheon and the Mount Apo Sky Race in Santa Cruz, Davao in Philippines were characterised by very hot weather giving even more difficulty to the runners on already challenging race courses. The Mount Apo Sky Race proved quite dramatic in particular, with only 20 finishers - 1 female - and the rest already cut-off after either 25k or 43k. If the race hadn’t been stopped by the race director at km 75 for security reasons, few would have made it to the finish. Last year’s winner of the then-70K Mt Apo Sky Race, Pablo Diago Gonzales, was therefore right in his pre-race warnings: this was going to be a shocker. 

The new route added three more peaks to the course and those proved to be extremely technical with virtually no running possible for the first 25K following the flag off at midnight. It took David Gianelli and a local road runner 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete those 25K. Gianelli, the Italian winner of the Indonesia SuperTrail last year, was the fastest man in the race also last weekend. As soon as they hit Mount Apo he was by himself in the lead and by km 75 he held an advantage of over 1 hour over the very strong Jag Lanante. The Thailand-based Filippino overtook Pablo Diago Gonzales just a few kilometres before the improvised finish line. Gianelli completed the 75K in 14 hours and 44 minutes,  and now being temporarily based in Philippines will also travel to Penang in 3 weeks for the Malaysia SuperTrail race, Penang Eco 100, where he will compete on the 100K. Pablo Diago is a busy bee this spring as well, as he is lined up for Tengri Ultra Trail in Kazakhstan and the same Penang Eco 100K. Local Mindanao runner Rexell Aguirre was 4th in Mount Apo, preceeding Joseph Gentoleo. 

Rizal Mountain Run winner Aggy Smith Sabanal was the only female finisher and scored her second ATM race victory of the season. Definitely in her element on the most technical of trails, Sabanal overtakes Majo Liao in the Asia Trail Master Championship with this new success by 65 points. Still very young for an ultra trail runner, it will be interesting to see her compete on the tough mountains of Mantra Summits Challenge in Malang, East Java, Indonesia this July. 

All other women, including Hong Kong’s Tanya Bennet, last year’s winner Manilyn Mamugay and Cheryl Bihag were all cut-off at km 43. 

Over in South Korea, there was local success as Kim Jisub took the victory ahead of Austria's Michael Kabicher and Japan's Hiragi Taichi. Jisub finished in 6:33, 14 minutes ahead of the European. The difference between numbers 1 and 2 in the women's was similar with France's Laetitia Pibis staying ahead of Yasuko Natsume of Japan, and her compatriot Sae Enaka completing the podium.

Rene Amigleo is a new Asia Trail Grandmaster

Rene Amigleo is a new Asia Trail Grandmaster

Aggy Smith Sabanal leads the ATM championship after her second victory of the season

Aggy Smith Sabanal leads the ATM championship after her second victory of the season

Laetitia Pibis was the fastest woman in South Korea during the Korea 50k

Laetitia Pibis was the fastest woman in South Korea during the Korea 50k

Kim Jesub was the great home winner of Korea 50k

Kim Jesub was the great home winner of Korea 50k

Hot stuff in Korea and Davao this weekend!
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This weekend the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship series continues with another doubleheader. Korea 50K in Northern Asia and the Mount Apo Sky Race in Southeast Asia. Both events meanwhile have established a tradition and will see the participation of a strong set of runners. 

Mount Apo is the highest mountain of the Philippines at an altitude of nearly 3000m, located near Davao on Mindanao Island. Race director Doi Calbes has further upgraded his A-race from last year’s 70K to a full 100K this weekend. This is a technical and challenging trail that appeals to experienced trail runners. It should be noted that last year’s winner and 2nd placer Pablo Diago Gonzales and Rexell Aguirre are both coming back. They will face the challenge of some other good runners such as David Gianelli, the Italian who impressively won the Indonesia SuperTrail last season. For Pablo Diago Gonzales, a top 2 result would place him in 2nd place of the ATM ranking behind leader Harry Jones. Also on the start list but a question mark is the other Singapore-based Italian Alessandro Sherpa. Still struggling with a foot injury, it is not sure he will be tackling Mount Apo. Thailand-based pinoy runners Joeffrey Camara and Jorge Lanante should be considered for a podium finish, as well as a number of local runners who can always create a surprise. 

Manilyn Mamugay was the women's race winner last year and she also will defend her title. Shindy Patricia from Indonesia was scheduled to be a main competitor, but a passport visa application took a longer time than envisaged and Shindy is unfortunately unable to travel this weekend. Hong Kong's Tanya Bennet and Grandmaster Cheryl Bihag are podium candidates. 

In Dongducheon, near Seoul, in South Korea the country’s biggest trail race is entering its 4th edition on Saturday. Forest hills characterise this tough 58K that will see Takashi Doi from Japan face local top runners such as Sim Jaeduk. 

We will be reporting live from both events on Saturday, as usual subject to connectivity. 

Pablo Diago Gonzales (1) and Rexell Aguirre (2) return to Mt Apo this weekend

Pablo Diago Gonzales (1) and Rexell Aguirre (2) return to Mt Apo this weekend

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Gonzales wins on Apo as Capili claims his 2nd Grandmaster Star
Aleksis Capili

Aleksis Capili

The race to the summit of the highest mountain in the Philippines lived up to its reputation. The Mount Apo Sky Race on Mindanao Island was hailed as a tough and technical 70 km course, and the winning time of seasoned trail runner Pablo Diago Gonzales  sums it up nicely: 12 hours and 6 minutes. The 35-year-old Spaniard, who lives in Singapore, was even an hour and 40 seconds faster than the second man on the podium, local runner Rexel Aguirre. Gonzales hereby scored the maximum of 500 points in his second ATM points race of the season after being 4th at Sungai Menyala Forest Trail in Malaysia a few weeks ago. He's now 7th in the current ATM Championship ranking with 900 points in his bag, and Gonzales is aiming for more. As the season moves on, he could indeed become a dangerman for this year's Asia Trail Master championship crown. 

Another protagonist in Davao last weekend, in more than one way again, was Aleksis Capili. Born in the Philippines, but living in Bangkok, he scored his second Grandmaster star by finishing Mount APo, his tenth ATM Grandmaster distance race in his career! Capili is undoubtedly the epitome of endurance runners. And not only does he continue to show grit and perseverance, he is also running faster and faster. Last Sunday, the 39-year-old Capili crossed the finish line in third place in 14:46 and therefore claimed the final step on the podium. That means an additional 425 championship points in his bag as well, which propels Capili up to 3rd place with 1155 points, ten more than Yim Heng Fatt. 

The women's race on Apo was decided in favour of Manilyn Mamugay (time 17:26), who was roughly two-and-a-half an hours faster than Mary Kristines Hernandez (19:54). Daisy Linas scored third place. For Mamugay it was the second career ATM race win, after also grabbing The Punisher 50 miles last December. 

Pablo Gonzales and organiser Doi Calbes

Pablo Gonzales and organiser Doi Calbes

The men's top 3 of the Mt Apo Sky Race

The men's top 3 of the Mt Apo Sky Race

Aleksis Capili now is also the first trail runner to have scored this shield

Aleksis Capili now is also the first trail runner to have scored this shield

Mt Apo Sky Race: Aleksis Capili to earn his 2nd Grandmaster Star

This Saturday trail runners have a unique chance to climb Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines at 2954m above sea level. Race organisers Vertical 2 Sky have managed to get an exception from local authorities to allow runners to enter the Park area, which has been closed for mass tourism following the big El Nino-inspired bush fire from a year ago. The Mount Apo Sky Race is a technical out-and-back trail of 70 km - Grandmaster Quest distance - and the first of two ATM points races on Mindanao Island this season (Ultra Trail Mapawa follows on 29 October). 

As last year's Mapawa and The Punisher events showed, races on Mindanao seem to open a new can of great runners every time. The established names on the current start list should therefore remain on guard. However, spotlights will shine in any case on Aleksis Capili. The Thailand-based Filipino is going for his second Grandmaster star this weekend at the Apo Sky Race. It's almost a year ago since he became the first ever Asia Trail Grandmaster by finishing six ATM races of 70+ kilometres within two years, and now he has reached 10 - provided he crosses the finish line, of course. What is amazing is that Capili's running speed and results have been improving as well in the course of the past twelve months. Even to the extent that Capili is currently sixth in the 2017 ATM points championship and can move firmly into the top 5 this weekend. Arief Wismoyono and Gaspard Dessy are beyond reach, but Capili could split the Malaysian duo of Steven Oong and Yim Heng Fatt. 

Almost a year ago, Aleksis Capili became the first ever ATM Grandmaster in Malaysia

Almost a year ago, Aleksis Capili became the first ever ATM Grandmaster in Malaysia

One of the race favourites on paper is certainly Singapore-based Spaniard Pablo Diago Gonzales. Fourth a few weeks ago in the Sungai Menyala Forest Trail in Malaysia, Gonzales can move up to the top 10 in his second ATM race of the season. He is not only a fast-paced runner, he climbs well, too, making him perfectly adapted to the course of the Mt Apo Sky Race. A local runner to watch out for is Rene Amigleo, who was second in The Punisher 50 miles last December. Finally, a quintet of women will also attempt to do the big 70k race this weekend. 

Stay tuned this weekend on our social media channels for updates on the Mt Apo Sky Race! 

The summit of Mt Apo

The summit of Mt Apo

The Grandmaster Shield featuring 2 stars

The Grandmaster Shield featuring 2 stars

Introducing the Mount Apo Sky Race on Mindanao

We are happy to announce a new addition to the 2016 Asia Trail Master series with the 2nd Mount Apo Sky Race.  A 70km run to the summit of the highest mountain, also a volcano, in the Philippines. Scheduled for 23 April, the event near Davao on Mindanao is the third points-scoring race in the Philippines on our calendar. 

Runners will start from almost sea level (the beach is not far from the start), and should consider the elevation gain is very relevant: Mount Apo is 2954m high, and total elevation gain for the 70km race has been measured as 4000hm. Less ambitious runners can aim for a 32km option. As an interesting add-on, the start and finish of the race is next to the San Miguel Brewery. 

This is a young race in a very young running community. Whereas running events on Luzon Island have become quite numerous the last few years, on Mindanao they are still rare. Race organiser Doi Calbes is a fervent trail runner and hiker himself and knows his home region inside out. Davao City is not far from the event venue, and neither are the famous beaches and hotel resorts in case participants wish to relax and extend their stay in the area following the ascent of Mount Apo

The main race measures 70km and so qualifies for 1 point in the Grandmaster Quest

Registration for international runners will open this week via the Asia Trail Master platform. 

Pioneers of the debut race in 2015

Pioneers of the debut race in 2015

Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines

Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines