Posts tagged china
Tsaigu: Vadovicova also wins in rain and mud
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The 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu was once again made significantly harder by wet weather conditions. As if cursed, the skies opened on race day just like last year, albeit not to the extent that the event organisers got compelled to shorten and stop the race. Yet, a DNF rate of over 60% says enough, and among those were reputed ultrarunners in Asia. Many China stars flocked to Linhai in Zhejiang province for one of the country’s biggest trail events, but as previously mentioned they were spread out over three race distance categories. While the 110K was the so-called A-race, perhaps more attention went to the 80K and US star Hayden Hawks who was scheduled to compete against both Qi Min and Deng Guomin. In the women’s, we were all curious if Veronika Vadovicova could also make the technical Tsaigu look easy, in what is still the early days of her trail career.

First, on the 110K, China’s Luo Canhua, who was first on top of Mount Kuocang in extreme conditions (see videoon our facebook page), was caught by You Peiquan before CP7, but the pair then decided to stay together until the finish at the old town in Linhai. Perhaps unfortunately, there was no dual as they crossed the line in front of a big crowd in the old town together in a time of approx 14:39. Another Chinese, Zhao Jiajiu came in third with well-known Li Kuo as fourth. Liang Jing was a surprising DNF. In the morning it was very wet, foggy and cold during the 110K and 80K races. Afterwards, the persistent rain luckily stopped around noon to be replaced by consistent drizzle.

Xu Meiling was the first woman early on, but she would not make it to the finish. Experienced Zheng Liping took over and won relatively comfortably in 22:26, half an hour ahead of Qu Shangwei. Xie Wenfei completed the podium. Hong Kong's Chingling Lo was running third halfway through, but also failed to finish. French, but also based in Hong Kong and a race winner there, Habiba Benahmed was apparently really enjoying herself and finished 10th in what was essentially her come back ultra trail after an extended period of rest due to injury.

On the 80 km, American star Hayden Hawks won in splendid fashion after China’s Qi Min DNFd following a fall after CP2. That was a shocker as Qi Min was really taking the fight to Hawks. Shenzhen’s busy bee Deng Guomin inherited second but ran an excellent and smart race only some 20 minutes down on Hawks at the finish. Zhang Jiao finished third ahead of Li Kuo.

Shanghai-based Veronika Vadovicova continues to dominate the women’s races in ATM this year. She won basically unthreatened by anyone today in 12:45, proving that even extreme conditions do not necessarily slow her down. Vadovicova is the trail discovery of these early months of 2019. Thailand’s Cartoon Pratumsuwa ran a strategically smart race in a tough battle for the remaining podium places against locals Tan Rongqing, the returning Paulina Svoboda and Chen Erfen. For Chiang Mai-based “Cartoon” Wipawee, it is her first podium in an ATM race and there’s more bound to follow!

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

US trail star Hayden Hawks truly lived up to his international elite status and won the 80K

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

Shenzhen’s Deng Guoming in the end finished only 20 minutes behind Hawks!

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

The Tsaigu finish line in front of the old city wall is truly impressive

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

She is beginning to dominate: Veronika shows she can also win in the wet and the mud

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Fantastic second place on the 80K for Thailand’s Cartoon Wipawee

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Paulina Svoboda aka Freedom was sick leading up to race weekend but still scored fourth place on the 80k

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Habiba Benahmed really enjoyed it despite the very tough weather conditions

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu is sold out with 2000 runners at the starting line: it’s at the top of China’s trail scene

Tsaigu: Stellar field including Vadovicova
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This Saturday we already have the 5th edition of Ultimate Tsaigu, today one of China’s premier trail events in the mountainous forests around Linhai in the eastern province of Zheijiang. It’s a very technical and scenic natural trail that tests the reslience of participants each year again - not in the least as rain or moist can never be excluded. Almost all Chinese top trail runners and an international elite runner from the USA named Hayden Hawks are on the event start list, which reached maximum capacity of 2000 very quickly again. However, the big names are spread out over three race distance categories and won’t all be facing off against each other - something that is becoming an unfortunate trend in elite trail running, a bit similar to professional boxing. So we have Liang Jing (winner in 2018) and Luo Canhua on the 110K, Hayden Hawks, Qi Min and Deng Guomin on the 80K (arguably the most exciting race) and Yan Longfei, Jia Erenjia and Shen Jiasheng on the 50k. In the women’s, China’s new star Yao Miao is also on the 50k, along with Dong Minfei, Paulina Svoboda and Xiang Fuzhao. But Veronika Vadovicova is on the 80k, and Zheng Liping, Nicole Leung and Ching Ling Lo on the 100k - just to name a few. Let’s be honest, imagine what a race it would be if they are all in the same race distance category!

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In the context of the ATM Championship, the 110K was assigned long ago as the A-points race with 500 for the winner and the 80K as the B-race with 380 points for the winner. The 50k does not offer any points. China’s top performers are all sponsored professionals not known to travel a lot beyond their country’s borders to the rest of Asia, and traditonally do no feature much in our championship. On the other hand, more and more Asian runners are finding their way to China as Tsaigu continues to receive rave reviews. Race director Cai Yu has also always opened the doors wide open for regional athletes and the new partnership with Ultra Trail Chiang Rai - the Thailand SuperTrail in October - could foster even more exchange. There’s quite a large group of Thai runnes competing in Tsaigu this weekend, including Montha Suntornwit, winner of Ultimate Chiang Rai 230 last autumn, and Sukrit Kaewyoun, who has been doing well in our championship so far with 6th in Dalat and 2nd in Luang Prabang. A good result on the 110k can propel Sukrit into the fab five of the men’s championship standings before the break. Due to the holy month in several countries there are no points races until Vietnam Jungle Marathon on 25 May. Another one to look out for in the context of the ATM championship is Finland’s Henri Lehkonen. Coming off a great 5th place in Dalat, he is also on the 110K start list for his second points race of the season. 

Veronika Vadovicova has been the surprise of the women’s season so far. Maybe not because she has been winning - she already won the 90K of HK168 last December - but because of her sheer speed on the trails. Making the switch from triathlon, Vadovicova dominated Cordillera Mountain Ultra and Sungai Menyala Forest Trail and starts as race favourite for the 80K on Saturday as well. Tsaigu will again be new territory for her: this race is arguably the most technical of her trail career. In that context, Thailand’s Wipawee “Cartoon” Pratumsuwa could see an opportunity to upset the Shanghai-based Slovakian. Also Hong Kong’s Wai Yin Chiu could be in the mix for the podium. Xu Meiling from China will be up against three strong women from Hong Kong on the 110K longest distance. Ching Ling Lo, Nicole Leung and also former HK168 winner Habiba Benahmed. 

Stay tuned for updates of the event all day on Saturday via our social media channels!

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

The Thailand group for Tsaigu featuring Sukrit Kaewyoun and Montha Suntornwit

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

Dong Minfei, winner of Penang Eco 100k in 2017, is one of many local top runners at Tsaigu this weekend

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Long Ji Terraces Ultra Trail: solid debut
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China's Liang Jing, who in April also won the points race Ultimate Tsaigu in Linhai, Zhejiang, proved to be also the fastest trail runner in the Long Ji Terraces Ultra Trail in Guangxi in the Southwest of China. A race that requested and received the label of 2019 ATM Candidate Race. Liang Jing was 40 minutes ahead of Li Quang in the tough 100k race to finish in a time of 11:45:38. 

Similarly, Xie Wenfei is beginning to make a name for herself in the trail scene as she captured the women's victory in 15:45:50. Xie Wenfei was second in the Ultimate Tsaigu race earlier this year, after overtaking Philippines' Majo Liao just before halfway. In second place behind her was Wei Yanping, who outsprinted Li Na coming into the finish. 

The Long Ji Terraces Ultra Trail is taking place in one of the province's most significant tourism hotspots. The rice terraces and fields are famous throughout China and are a chapter in every backpacker guidebook for Guangxi. The event was well-appreciated by the participants and we are looking forward to formally entering the 100k race to our 2019 Asia Trail Master Championship calendar! 

 

Fantastic viewpoints along the course of the Long Ji Terrace Ultra Trail

Fantastic viewpoints along the course of the Long Ji Terrace Ultra Trail

Xie Wenfei wins the women's 100k

Xie Wenfei wins the women's 100k

Liang Jing also number 1 in Guangxi

Liang Jing also number 1 in Guangxi

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Runners get unexpected extra support during the race

Runners get unexpected extra support during the race

Ultimate Tsaigu & VJM this weekend!
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After a one week break, the busy spring campaign in the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship continues this Saturday on two different locations. In China, we have the return to ATM of Ultimate Tsaigu in China, aka Tsaigu Tangsi Plus. In Po Luong, we have the second Vietnamese points race of the season: the Vietnam Jungle Marathon.

From a championship point of view, eyes will be set on Filippino runner Majo Liao, who is competing in the tough 100K in Linhai, China. Never afraid of a mountain challenge, Majo Liao is one of several Filippinos who will tackle the rough Kuocang mountain range. For Majo, it will be the 3rd ATM points race of the year, and a top 4 result would put her back in the lead in the points standings. Liao is 398 points behind Indonesia’s Ruth Theresia at the moment. Ultimate Tsaigu is one of China’s leading international trail races and has never ceased to grow since its conception in 2014. As part of the ATM calendar since 2015, some of the country’s top runners such as Yan Longfei and Ma Yanxing have won the  A-race, which began as a 58km but since a few years measures 100K. This weekend, there’s also  a 65K B-race that will provide points for the championship. Malaysia’s Azuan Asmuni is expected to be a challenger for the local runners on that distance. 

The 100K will see China’s elite versus a number of international elite runners from Europe, such as Spain’s  Juanjo Larrotcha   . Very interesting will be the dual between the two protagonists Qi Min and of the UTWT race in Hong Kong last January:    . 

In Vietnam, local trail hero Quang Tran can score his second victory of the season on the 70km. Dominator in Dalat Ultra Trail in March, Quang Tran will be keen to win in Po Luong, as last year he still had to accept defeat against his compatriot Cao Ngoc Ha, who himself has  his focus on triathlon at the moment. If he wins, Quang Tran collects another 500 points and that would place him in the top 5 of the championship. He’s the kind of runner who can play a major role in the title battle later this year. On paper, Quang Tran is the fastest runner on the ultra distance of 70k. For the remaining podium spots it will be an open competition with Quang Nguyen a prime pick, having scored several podia before in trail races. 

Also the women’s race is quite open but with several runners who already have quite a pedigree on the tour. Nguyen Thi Duong and Phuong Vy Le, for example, or also Sara Valentina. The local race director also expects a good performance by Bangkok-based Kylie Jane Ayson. 

We will be reporting live from both events this Saturday, subject to connectivity. The latter - as most of you know - is not guaranteed in China due to restrictions on the use of social media such as facebook, twitter and instagram. 

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

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Ultimate Tsaigu opens the books!
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Next year on 14/15 April we have the return of a meanwhile classic Chinese trail race in Asia Trail Master: Ultimate Tsaigu, previously known as Tsaigu Tangsi Plus. The event features a tough 100K and 65K courses through tea plantations, bamboo forests and rugged mountains. While there are also shorter distances available, the two main races require adequate preparation. The event location is Linhai, a nice tourist place not too far and easily accessible from major cities Hangzhou, Ningbo and even Shanghai. 

There is plenty of English language assistance for this event, which is very international-minded and welcoming to non-Chinese participants. For more details you can go to the summary cover page below. Registration goes via Iranshao:

http://iranshao.com/register/reg_races/TsaiGuTrail2018?locale=en

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UT Wenchuan returns on 29 April!

The event date for the 2017 edition for Ultra Tu Wenchuan has now been confirmed by the local authorities and it is going to be on 29 April, which allows for a long weekend trip to this majestic mountain area in Sichuan, Southwest China. The race itself will see significant modifications compared to last season, with the main event now a 60 km tough mountain run of approx. 5000 Hm of elevation gain! That implies the race is also valid for the Grandmaster Quest. 

"We happily present you an escalating course with the distance of 60km and 5000+ hm of climbing," says race director Ji Yang. "Apart from that challenging 60km race in individual or mixed duo team format, we also offer a shorter 30k (individual/mixed dual team), a 15k(individual) and a 5k LNT(Leave No Trace group for the family members and kids) group. So more diversity in choices this year! Note that the 60k is estimated to gain 4 ITRA points and 35k 2points as well."

Precise maps and profiles are available in due course. 

While the race day is on Saturday, the ceremony will be held on Sunday. "In addition, 'says Ji Yang, "we offer short sightseeing trip options for runners to delve into the Qiang culture of our Wenchuan area."

Wenchuan is of course the location of the big earthquake that devastated the area in 2008. A lot of work has been done in the region to reconstruct the villages and main town, showing the resilience of the people in this area close to Tibet. 

Last year the 50k race was won by Beijing's Bi Duanyang and Zhou Dongmei. You can read our extensive race report of that event here. All details of this year's upcoming edition will be posted on our cover page as they become available. 

Event announcement: China Ultra 100: Pu'Er joins ATM!

We are happy to announce another addition to the race calendar of the 2017 Asia Trail Master championship series. China Ultra 100 Pu'Er in China's Southwestern Yunnan Province joins on 18/19 February with its second edition of the event that features 100 and 50 km race distance options. Elevation gain for the 100km is around 4800 hm. 

Stay tuned in the next week for more details. 

UT Xinxian in Henan postponed due to landslides

The heavy rainfall in many parts of Asia, specifically northern Asia, over the past weeks is causing problems for plenty of trail running organisations. Unfortunately, we have been informed that UT X, short for Ultra Trail XinXian in Henan Province, China, is also affected. The event - scheduled in November - cannot take place for safety reasons. Please see below's statement from the local race director on behalf of the Organisation Committee of UT X. 

On behalf of the organizer of UTX, we are very apologetic to make today's  statement that due to severe geological developments of landslides and mud flows caused by  recent heavy rainfall in the Xinxian area, we are obliged to postpone our race, UTX,  from its originally scheduled date, 12/13 November 2016, to 4/5 April 2017. It is a very difficult decision for us to make, but we need to ensure the safety of the trail course and all the runners and working crew. We are sorry for the change of race date, and we will be responsible to take care of reimbursements of registration fees, or forward your race entry automatically to the new date 4/5 April 2017. 

We humbly apologise for the inconvenience caused by the change of date, and please note we have deepest appreciation for your support.
--- Race Director of UTX

Please note that UT X keeps its spot on the Asia Trail Master race calendar, and has thus been added on 4/5 April 2017. 

More info on the event via our cover page

2017 Candidate Race: Baturu Trail: A journey of warriors

The 1st Baturu Trail is a race held in a place with the most weird name for racing in Chinese. It is a race with the most unique of old Manchuria features. It is a race with grueling challenges to test the warrior inside you. It is the 2017 Asia Trail Master candidate race, the Baturu Guanmenshan 50km in the Guanmenshan Scenery Zone of Benxi City, Liaoning Province, one of the main cradles and bases of the legendary Manchus, which established its own state and reigned China as the Qing Dynasty for 268 years with 12 emperors.

By Xiaozhao Zhao
 
The organiser of the Baturu Trail was honest: “We like making things harder, so runners will have an impressive and worthy tour and cherish their opportunity to race here with us more than in other places. Perhaps it is the most difficult 50 km in mainland China. The course is inspired by the selection of the Eight Brigades elite warriors under the direct command of the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Only the lucky soldiers with extreme physical and mental competence were to be enlisted into the Eight Brigades in the early years of the Post-Jin state (Qing dynasty, later). Baturu is a Manchurian word referring to these ferocious soldiers. We also set an additional special time-trial reward for the runners who run the 50k: to every man finishing in 10 hours and woman smashing 11 hours, a big jade ring will be awarded. This jade ring was first used as a tool to drag the string of a bow, then it became gradually a symbol of bravery and power of the very influential Manchuria military leaders including the emperor himself. Of course, all race finishers will also be given an arrowhead-shaped medal, which is another feature of military traditions of the Manchus. ” 
 
The hot debate of the race's difficulty, along with the tale of the big jade ring had attracted lots of attention in the Chinese running community. How tough is the race? There is a joke about the name of the event's venue called “Guanmenshan” (关门山 in Chinese, pinyin: guan-men-shan). In Chinese, Guanmen (关门 in Chinese, pinyin-guan-men) stands for closed door, while the first priority in any race for trail runners is to avoid being cut off by struggling to the finish line before the deadline. Probably the weird venue name alone suggested the nature of the challenge. Judging from the basic data, we find 50 km, 3800m elevation gain, 800m drop (1100m highest/300m lowest) and 85% of the route natural trail. However, this is not the whole story about its toughness. There are 7 major steep ascents/descents. Runners have to climb up and down among big stones in woods, cut though creeks by jumping along the narrow and wet boulders and endure the scratches of bushes with thrones as well as scorching sunshine of nearly 30 degrees Celsius in daytime. What’s more, all these are supposed to be done in a pressing 14.5 hours with 5 checkpoints that each have their own time limit.
 
Benxi is a famous city in the history of Chinese industrialization because of its abundance in coal and iron mines etc. It had been regarded as The Steel City for a long time. Being a Baturu is the best way to find the nature around such a city with its full spectrum of heavy industry.
 
The race is not only an exploration of your limit of persistence, but also a discovery of natural beauty. The Guanmenshan Scenery Zone is a great museum of geology. There are many spectacular landscapes sculpted by the forces of nature over millions of years ago, such as peaks, caves and cliffs. A variety of animals also live in this area with dense plants. It boasts 50 kinds of Class II protected animals and 120 kinds of maples alone.

The race course was well marked overall. However, in the dense forest, finding the marks still required patience and good feeling at times. A handheld GPS with pre-load track and ISO height curves will help a lot in some parts to increase your confidence in orienteering.

Logistics were great and well-organised. Abundant nutrition was piled up at checkpoints with smiling volunteers waiting for runners. Delicious local food such as hot mutton soup was offered as well. What's more, in the rest zone at the finish, roasted strings soups noodles and beer were entirely free for runners!
 
143 runners took part in the 50km race, top 3 of each gender group as follow:
 
Male (123 in all with 58 finisher in gender group)
Bo CHEN 07:42:03
Fuyue LI 08:00:51
Chunfu WANG 08:52:54
 
Female (20 in all with 6 finisher in gender group) 
1Qian ZHANG 10:26:18
2Lihong ZHANG 11:13:21
3Yufen XIA 12:06:04

From the dawn to the dusk, in the end, around 10 males finished within 10 hrs and 11 females within 11 hrs. The total number of finisher is 64, that is to say, 45%. 
 
Among all the runners, the low-profiled and old-school local semi-pro Qian ZHANG is a familiar prize hunter in many Chinese races, from the toughest 100km to the 1500m on the track. Even in her fifties now, she still scores podium places and collects money from races frequently thanks to her exceptional endurance. In daily life, she is an ordinary worker in a big steel company with her beloved family. Qian Zhang was clear about the Baturu Trail afterwards: “It is the most challenging 50 km I have ever run! But the organizer did an almost perfect job to make such an amazing race possible!"

Fuyue Li, second in the men's race,  is also a familiar face on the podium of ultra trail races in Mainland China with a bunch of achievements such as winning the 2014 TNF 100 in Beijing in rain and mist. Running and taking care of his mother are all part of his very limited spare time as a plumber in Beijing Normal University. His kindness and his attitude of never complaining about harsh life conditions, has also built him a great reputation in  the running community along with solid results in races. In late 2014, he made his debut in a very inspiring short film about the promotion of the BNU.
 
Another local runner, Hao Chen, ranked 4th in Asia Trail Master’s Ultra Trail Tu Wenchuan in the middle of May. “I am very happy with my race here. I helped the organizer with field jobs during preparation. During the 9.5 hrs route recon we estimated it might cost around 8 hrs for the top runners. In the end the winner came in 7 hours 42 minutes!"
 
The Baturu Trail may have a focus on the toughness of its 50km, but the organisation also offers 30km and 5km categories for beginning or less ambitious runners. 
 
The campfire ceremony after the race added a great extra social element for all new running Baturus! 

The new Baturus with the big jade ring! 

The new Baturus with the big jade ring! 

That's the jade ring

That's the jade ring

Campfire, roasted meat and beer at the finish of the Baturu Trail! 

Campfire, roasted meat and beer at the finish of the Baturu Trail! 

Check out these upcoming 2017 Candidate Races !
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While this year's Asia Trail Master series is in full swing, we are already beginning to look ahead to 2017 as well. The following three events taking place in June and July have applied to be points scoring races next year and thus are labelled Candidate Races. We will be providing a race report on each of those three events, and of course also welcome comments from participants.  

Stay up-to-date on our 2017 Candidate Races, races Beyond Asia, and great road running events in our designated section.

BATURU TRAIL - Liaoning Province, Northeastern China on 5 June. The event features a tough 50km with approx 3500 Hm in the beautiful hills of Benxi near Shenyang. 

BATURU TRAIL - Liaoning Province, Northeastern China on 5 June. The event features a tough 50km with approx 3500 Hm in the beautiful hills of Benxi near Shenyang. 

Mount Hamiguitan Trail, Mindanao Island in Philippines on 26 June. Another 50km on a famous mountain that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enter the area via Davao. 

Mount Hamiguitan Trail, Mindanao Island in Philippines on 26 June. Another 50km on a famous mountain that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enter the area via Davao. 

Altai Ultra Trail, Siberia in Russia on 15 to 17 July. A new event for adventurers with three race distances. Altai borders Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan and is a remote mountain region. You need time to get there (via Novosibirsk, ideally) but your perseverance will certainly be rewarded! 

Altai Ultra Trail, Siberia in Russia on 15 to 17 July. A new event for adventurers with three race distances. Altai borders Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan and is a remote mountain region. You need time to get there (via Novosibirsk, ideally) but your perseverance will certainly be rewarded!