Hong Kong’s John Ellis was a sensational winner of the men’s Vietnam SuperTrail in Dalat in the Central Highlands. He ran past Hisashi Kitamura from Japan in the final uphill of the last 4 km on sheer determination! Ellis’ came in in a time of 7:03, a new course record. Early leader and last year’s winner Quang Tran lost the right trail after approx 55 km and dropped back behind his closest chasers. Shortly afterwards he decided to DNF.
Hong Kong-based Australian Ellis had taken a typical conservative start, before turning on his engine just before halfway. As ATM Championship leader Ander Iza Rekakoetxea retired at Checkpoint 2 with an upset stomach, Ellis and Kitamura have also become 1-2 in the updated ATM Championship ranking. Kitamura can’t be far away from his first ATM race victory now! For Ellis it was his second and first of the 2019 season.
The third step on the podium was for Malaysia’s Mohamed Affindi, the winner of Tahura Trail in Bandung. Excellent for his ATM Championship ambitions. Fourth came the rejuvenated Michael McLean, the Brunei-based Canadian who has had a tough few months on the trails with DNFs in UTCR and 9 Dragons. Gone Running’s Henri Lehkonen took fifth in his ATM debut , followed by Thailand’s Sukrit and Guillaume Degoulet from France. T8’s Mark Green was 8th and Ho Chi Minh City based Britain Grant Bowdery was next in 9th place followed by Vietnam’s Ngo Quoc Duong 10th, first runner of the home country.
The women’s race (finish video scroll down or go to our video section on Facebook) developed into the big dual between Tahira Najmunisaa and Kim Matthews, after all. Both former ATM Champions came into the Dalat race with legitimate fitness concerns, but they delivered a great running pace and honest competition. Tahira was leading until just over halfway, when Kim Matthews caught her and passed her. The Australian made it a double victory for her country after John Ellis won the men’s. Tahira crossed the finish line in second place about seven minutes behind. Another Malaysian, Christine Loh, scored her second third place of the season after 9 Dragons. Both SuperTrail podiums, also. Korea-based Carrie Jane Stander was fourth, her best race result of the season and certainly good enought to regain the ATM Championship lead ahead of Christine Loh.