Posts tagged indonesia
Affindi grabs 1st ATM race victory at Tahura!
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Malaysian powerhouse Mohamad Affindi grabbed his maiden win on the Asia Trail Master tour with a masterful run at Tahura Trail in Bandung, Indonesia, last Saturday. Taking the bull by the horns from the get-go, Affindi still had enough dash left in the tank to fend off the late charge by the surprisingly quick Pablo Diago Gonzales. Tomohiro Mizukoshi was a great third, while his Japanese compatriot Asuka Nakajima controlled the women’s 42k trail race and made a perfect ATM debut.

The 7th edition of Tahura Trail was one for the record books with over 2700 people registered for the four races that took place during the weekend. 480 of them appeared on the start list of the 42k trail marathon, which for the third year in succession was the opener of the Asia Trail Master Championship season. As per tradition, the current ATM champions were present at the Tahura Park. However, Alessandro Sherpa (recovering from a surgical procedure two weeks ago) and Ruth Theresia (in training for her first goal, the 9 Dragons Ultra) did not compete in the main event. Bandung in January is often hit by heavy rain showers, but for the first time in three years, the race was dry from start to finish.

Whenever a new season kicks off, we look forward to seeing new names appear on the boards, but this time in the men’s it was the established guard who controlled proceedings. Mohamad Affindi had been chasing a race win in ATM for one-and-a-half years, scoring multiple second places in the process, and finally got it right in Bandung. The 34-year-old Malaysian typically started fast and went solo after local youngster Yusuf Aprian, Ari Masrudi and Japan’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi were overheating. Seasoned long distance trail runner Mizukoshi was able to maintain a high pace, though, and didn’t allow Affindi to lose focus. Aprian lost a bit more terrain, yet would finish eventually as fourth and that is a visual improvement from last season, when he got eighth. Aprian, only in his mid-twenties, was the top Indonesian runner on the weekend and increasingly looks like the man who could challenge Arief Wismoyono - unable to run in Tahura due to work obligations - for the number one spot in his country. On the other hand, Masrudi didn’t have the best of runs as he slipped from second (2017), fifth (2018) to sixth this year. He was the one who resisted most to Affindi’s early attack. Another local trail veteran, Rudi Iskandar, managed to pass Masrudi at the end to score fifth place. Christovik Simatupang and Fandhi Achmad were the next finishers.

And where was Pablo Diago Gonzales all that time? At some point, the Singapore-based Spaniard was down in tenth place! However, he is not a three-time race winner and two-time top five ATM championship finisher for nothing. Diago Gonzales left the early battles to the others, and gradually began to up his pace in the second half of the race. One by one he collected and overtook, and in the final five kilometre he even passed Tomohiro Mizukoshi going into second place. Eventually, he even approached Affindi, which made the latter so nervous he shifted back up a gear and powered over the final hill to the finish line in 4:27. The top trio arrived relatively close together they all got into the live video broadcast that you can see below. By all means an excellent start of the season for all three protagonists.

The women’s race was perhaps less spectacular as Asuka Nakajima’s pace was just a little too high for Surabaya’s Sri Wahyuni, who collected yet another podium place in an ATM points race. Wahyuni will take comfort in Affindi’s victory, as it also took him a long time before finally taking the podium’s top step. Nakajima is based in Jakarta, runs a 3:14 road marathon, and will be someone to be reckoned with in the next months, as she is poised to compete in several ATM points races, including even the super tough Indonesia SuperTrail, Mantra Summits Challenge in Malang in July.

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Debby Meylia won the 21K race ahead of Ruth Theresia, who was ‘in training’. Still, a remarkable run by the road runner from Jakarta

Debby Meylia won the 21K race ahead of Ruth Theresia, who was ‘in training’. Still, a remarkable run by the road runner from Jakarta

Tahura Trail: How the race unfolded
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Below is the video summary of the live broadcasts on the Asia Trail Master facebook page during the Tahura Trail 42K race.

 

Tahura Trail 42K - FInish of the Men’s Winner Mohammad Affindi

Tahura Trail 42K - Finish of Women’s Race Winner Asaku Nakajima

Tahura Trail 21K - Finish of the race winners

Tahura Trail : Broadcast of the race start

Tahura Trail: wide open race for the first victory of the new campaign!
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It’s 2019 and it’s tabula rasa! A clean sheet for all runners at the start of the 5th Asia Trail Master Championship series, which kicks off tomorrow in Indonesia with the 7th Tahura Trail in Bandung, West Java. Who will rise to the top in the next 11 months to compete with the established guard on the challenging trails of Asia? The five-best-count rule remains in effect, and runners can score championship points in 30 races across at least 13 countries before the big new final in Taiping, the Malaysia Mountain Trail Festival on 14/15 December! By then we know who the successors are of 2018 ATM Champions Alessandro Sherpa and Ruth Theresia. 

The two defending champions will be honoured at the beautiful Tahura Hutan Raya on Sunday morning, as has become custom. Tahura Trail has indeed been the opening event of the Asia Trail Master series since three years and we love it. The 42k trail marathon is a concise summary of everything what trail running is about, and given the moderate race distance the ideal start of anyone’s campaign after the new year’s break. Sherpa and Theresia will not be eyeing the victory on Saturday, however. The Singapore-based Italian underwent long-postponed surgery two weeks ago and is currently unable to race, let alone on the potentially wet and slippery trails of Tahura Trail’s mid-section. Homerunner Theresia opts for the 21K non-ATM distance, as she did last season. Her focus is on the 9 Dragons Ultra in Hong Kong in two weeks’ time, the first SuperTrail in the 2019 ATM Championship, for which she wants to be in top form. 

Ari Masrudi (above) and Yusuf Aprian (right)

Ari Masrudi (above) and Yusuf Aprian (right)

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The trail marathon in and around the park in Bandung has a wide open competition, at least on paper. Six to eight runners have a logical chance to emerge victorious in the men’s. Without Jeff Campbell (winner last year) and Abdullah Mitiche (winner 2016, 2017), it could be the big day of Ari Masrudi. The fast Indonesian has been second and fifth in this race and therefore has the experience to time his efforts perhaps better than his rivals. Masrudi has been knocking on the ATM door for some time, and a big win in the season opener would be the protagonist entry he has been looking for. The same applies to BDG youngster Yusuf Aprian. A raw talent who has notched up wins already, but not yet at the level of ATM’s A races. His second place behind Salva Rambla at Ijen 70 just a few months ago does indicate that it is only a matter of time. Aprian making that final step forward in his development would be fantastic. Last year he was 8th in this race. What can we expect from Jakarta’s Christovik Simatupang? A specialist of the shorter trail races, Simatupang is arguably the dark horse of the weekend. If he can keep his pace over the full distance of 42 km, he won’t be far off the podium, which means top 5 in Tahura. Aiming for that will also be Rudy Iskandar. A strong competitor who crossed the finish line in 6th place a year ago. Japan’s Akihede Ando was behind him in 7th, and is also returning on Saturday. But Ando will not be the only Japanese runner with ambition at the starting line: ATM’s Trailmate of the Year, Tomohiro Mizukoshi is making the journey from Tokyo to Tahura to launch his 2019 campaign in the best possible way: a win. Not taking a long rest after a heavy 2018 season in which he took 3rd place in the Championship, Mizukoshi has tasted victory before in Indonesia, winning the Plataran X Trail in Bali last October. His running speed is quick and he knows how to cope with mud and technical sections, yet is 42 km long enough for Mizukoshi to make the difference? For Malaysia’s Mohammad Affindi the marathon distance may be just right. Always quick out of the blocks, Affindi may find a trail course made for his characteristics and yes, he is motivated to launch his new ATM campaign with a bang. Finally, what can Spaniard Pablo Diago Gonzales do at Tahura? Everyone knows who strong he is on the most technical and toughest of races - see Mantra Summits Challenge - but he is actually also a fast road runner on a good day. Diago Gonzales won three ATM races over 70 km in 2017, two of them in Indonesia, and finished 4th and 5th in the Championship in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Never underestimate him! Another born European who will feature up front is Wilhelmus Van Vliet, winner of the 21K race last year and now moving up to the A-race of 42 km. 

The participation of Margono, the Indonesian speed-walker who was second behind Campbell and ahead of Sherpa last year, is still in doubt. If he turns up, Margono of course becomes a top contender for the race win as well. What is certain, however, is that Bandung’s number one Arief Wismoyono won’t be competing this weekend as work duties prevent him from doing so. 

In the women’s race all eyes will be cast on Sri Wahyuni, the number 3 of the 2018 ATM Championship and of this race as well. The Surabayan runner often made races a bit harder than anticipated for Ruth Theresia last year, and could grab her first career ATM race win. Already a Grandmaster as well, Wahyuni has incredible grit and always gives it her all. Of course, a maiden victory won’t be given to her on a silver platter. On paper, she may receive the sternest challenge from a Japanese runner who has a 3:20 pace on the road marathon: Asuka Nakajima. Based in Indonesia, Nakajima is making her debut in ATM and it will be fascinating to see how she fares in Tahura Trail. Others eyeing a podium result will be Mila Marlina, Novita Wulandari, Ping Yanti and Siti Nuraini. 

Asia Trail Master will be covering the opening race of the new season extensively via social media as usual. As of 6 am on Saturday, Jakarta time, we will start with our multimedia coverage, including live video broadcasts. Just go to our Facebook ATM page to follow the event. 

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Sri Wahyuni could take her first ATM race win this weekend

Sri Wahyuni could take her first ATM race win this weekend

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Bali: Tomohiro the King of Plataran X Trail 2018
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After the 30-minute time penalty for Kenya’s Samson Kamau for not having the mandatory gear, Japan’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi from Tokyo wins the 2nd edition of the Plataran X Trail in West Bali in 7:58:47! It’s his first ever race victory in the ATM Championship series after many places of honour. After all the elites ran together for the first 20 km, the Tokyo runner upped the pace. Only the Kenyan and also Spain's Salva Rambla were able to keep up. However, the winner of Ijen 70 had to let go after 50km and came into the finish at the Octagon Beach Club as third in 8:04. Hisashi Kitamura produced another strong performance to claim the final step on the podium in 8:20! 

The 2nd edition of Plataran X Trail in L' Harmonie and West Bali National Park developed into a very hot edition as noon temperatures reached 35 degrees.. Participants were treated with blue skies on the new running course, good views and vibes, and a fantastic entertainment and cultural programme at the finish area. Strictly technical, the 70 km race was among the most hard-fought races in the Asia Trail Master Championship series this season.

Kuddos to last year's winner Manolito Divina . The Filippino ace crossed the line in fifth place in 8:30, showing he still had something left in the tank in the latter part of the race. Divina, coming back from a long period of inactivity as he set up his new business in Manila,  could not match the speed of the others but proved his resilience as he started to catch up again in the final 15 km. ATM Championship leader Alessandro Sherpawas sixth in 8:46. The Italian stayed with Divina, suffering from his knee. He did well to complete the distance. Another finish and a marginal ATM total points increase for him, as he eliminates his 11th place of Sungai Menyala earlier this season from the five-best-count total. All in all, despite being "only" sixth, Sherpa's ATM lead increases!

Davao's Elias Tabac was going well in the first half of the race, until he had to let the fastest trio go. The difference was never big as Tabac kept fighting, until he missed a marking sign and lost time. Demotivated, he decided to DNF. Malaysia's Steven Ong, who was always going to find the X Trail course very quick for his characteristics as a runner, did a good job initially to keep up with the front pack of young fast runners. Unfortunately, as Sherpa, Ong could not run painlessly and opted to DNF at the 40 km mark, while in 8th place.

In the women's race, Ruth Theresiascored another important victory, her 10th career ATM victory - tying with Tahira Aliyaas most successful runner in the Asia Trail Master series ever. Ruth still looked remarkably fresh at the end of scorchingly hot 70k, considering she ran Bandung Ultra 100 and Ijen Trailrunning in the past three weeks as well! A new win in Bali does not add to her points total, but it doesn't make it easier for her competitors to still use the theoretical possibility of tying with her on points for the 2018 ATM Championship title. Sabah's Jassica Lintanga ( Jess Boubie) came in as second, after running fourth for most of the day. A well-managed effort by Jess, who takes another ATM podium. Sri Wahyuni was third, after another courageous race and fast start. Although totally spent, another podium is her reward.

Both Sri Wahyuni and Manila’s Joeffery Camara also fulfilled the Grandmaster Quest by completing the 70km of Plataran X Trail!

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Bali: fantastic line-up for the Plataran X Trail!
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Plataran X Trail concludes a heavy Indonesian trail campaign in Asia Trail Master, with three championship points races in four weeks. And what a finale it will be tomorrow! A stellar line-up has been announced for the 70 km long Grandmaster course in and around West Bali National Park and the Sumberkima Hills, topped off by last year’s winner Manolito Divina is his first ATM race of the 2018 season and Ruth Theresia, who is 99% sure of being the new women’s Asia Trail Master Champion after her victory at Ijen 100 last week.

The race courses for the Plataran X Trail Bali event have been completely redesigned for this year. The 70 km course (previously 50km) now also measures 1000m of elevation gain. Not a whole lot, it is still a race for good runners, but the often steep Sumberkima Hills in the first half of the course will test some of the participants’ resilience. In the second half, the sun may be the toughest opponent as temperatures in West Bali do rise highly during the day after a relatively cool early morning.

The 70k starts at 4:30 a.m. and features last year’s winner, Manolito Divina, 2017 Asia Trail Master Champion Steven Ong, current Championship points leader Alessandro Sherpa, numbers 4 and 5 in the points standings Hisashi Kitamura and Tomohiro Mizukoshi from Japan, up-and-coming double race winner this year Elias Tabac, and last week’s Ijen 70 champion Salva Rambla! Arguably these are the top picks for the podum, but there’s also Yogyakarta’s Dzaki Wardana, who on a good day is always a candidate, just like Surabaya’s Yohanis Hiareij. And let’s not forget Germany’s Thimo Kilberth, third at this race last year and second in the 42km Ijen race last weekend. With such a cast, we are bound to have a fantastic race for the podium. It will be interesting to see also who has the mental wherewithal to cope with the possibility of being distanced during the race by the others… In any case, Plataran X Trail is a race with decent prizemoney for the top performers, which is unusual in trail in South East Asia.

The women’s 70k race will see Ruth Theresia at the start, who just returned from her fantastic win at Ijen 100. The female face of the Bandung Explorer Team is almost guaranteed of the Asia Trail Master Championship title, and therefore it remains to be see how motivated she is to go full power this weekend again. There’s Sri Wahyuni, who was second in Ijen 100, and based on her performance in Brunei earlier this season someone who could score her maiden ATM race victory in Bali. However, there’s also Grandmaster Jassica Lintanga, who always does well on runable terrain and has been in fine shape the last few months with two race victories in Malaysia over 50 km, including Borneo TMBT 50.

You can follow the action live online via the leaderboard of Race Timing Solutions, as well as via our social media networks instagram, twitter and facebook.

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Ijen: Ruth Theresia almost the new ATM champion!
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The 4th edition of East Java’s iconic Ijen Trailrunning was held in excellent weather conditions in Bondowoso, Sempol, last weekend, although runners had to cope with a lot of dust at the end of the region’s dry season. While we were in the east, it was a western Javanese runner who claimed most of the spotlights as she won the women’s 100k in a nearly perfect manner: Ruth Theresia. Feeling recovered enough from an ankle injury and the gruelling Bandung Ultra 100 just two weekends ago, Theresia was a last-minute addition to the 100k start list and her gamble paid off in gold. With five ATM points race victories this season, Ruth Theresia has accumulated 2650 total points and it is hard to phantom anyone else still beating that in the remaining ten races of the 2018 championship season. However, purely mathematically it is still possible for other race and SuperTrail winners such as Carole Fuchs, Corinne Williams and even Evelyn Lek, so the celebration in Ruth’s home base in Bandung is still on hold.

Ruth ran a very smart 100k at Ijen - a race she also won last year in a sprint against Shindy Patricia. She allowed Surabaya’s Sri Wahyuni - returning from prolonged inactivity due to injury - to set the pace and followed a minutes behind. She knew she had had the better of Sri Wahyuni already on a few occasions earlier this season. The only objective was to win the race and pocket the 500 ATM points, in order to eliminate her off-day at Cordillera Mountain Ultra from the total points ranking under the five-best-count rule. In the last 25 km, Ruth began to accelerate a bit, caught and overtook Sri Wahyuni. Her last 10 km to the finish in Bondowoso were faster than the leading men, so she clearly had a lot of reserves still in the tank. Her winning time was 18:39. Ruth Theresia was visibly delighted with what-could-be the championship-winning race victory. After ending the 2017 title race in third place but very close behind Kim Matthews and Tahira Najmunisaa, it will be a textbook example of determination when Ruth Theresia is mathematically certain of the ATM Championship title in November. Indonesian women continue to flock podiums of ultra distance races in the region, because behind Sri Wahyuni (20:36) Bali’s Grandmaster Lily Suryani grabbed third place, also coming back from injury and a multi-day stage race in Europe.

The 70k women’s race - a B-race for the ATM championship but also a Grandmaster Quest qualifier - was won by Canada’s Carrie Stander. It is her second podium of the season after finishing second in the Tengri Ultra Trail in Kazakhstan last May. Stander keeps getting better on the trails, and is also entering the top 10 of the women’s championship. Her finishing time of 10:34 is a fine feat! Septiana Nia swastika took second and Philippines’ Ira Hernandez third.

Over to the men, where we witnessed a remarkable upset on the 100k. South Korea’s Sungsik Joh had the run of his 2018 campaign as he took a surprising victory over the likes of Laurent Tuffi, Suparmin and Rexell Aguirre. Experience certainly seemed to have aided him, along with basic running speed. At the first checkpoints, Sungsik was always in fourth or fifth position behind fast starters Shashwat Rao (India) and then Rexell Aguirre (Davao, Philippines). Bali-based Frenchman Laurent Tuffi was just behind along with Surabaya’s Suparmin. Halfway-through, Rao had to throw in the towel citing a few missed markings and feeling unwell. The same occurred to Aguirre. Alone up front, the Filipino mountain runner suddenly became dizzy and even briefly collapsed around km 70. Very wisely he decided to respect his body’s emergency signal and waived a motorcycle rider to bring him to the nearest aid station. Laurent Tuffi inherited the race lead, but was unable to hold off the charge of Sungsik Joh in the final stages of the race. The South Korean crossed the line as winner in a time of 16:46. Tuffi got second in 17:04. Suparmin was third male in 18: 57. Sungsik enters the top 10 of the ATM Championship ranking with his 6th result of the season, eliminating his worst result, 76th in Echigo Country Trail in Japan last June.

The men’s 70km had a lot of talent at the start. 22-year-old Bandung runner Yusuff Aprian was able to keep up with Spain’s Salva Rambla until the Ijen summit climb halfway through the race. As dawn set in, Rambla shifted to a higher gear and left Aprian in his wake, yet it was another strong run by the young Indonesian who earlier this season won Mantra Summits 50k, amongst others. At last a new top gun for male Indonesian trail running? In third place, also promising, was Thomy Wibawa, only 3 minutes behind Aprian. Salva Rambla set a blistering winning time of 8:01:39. After struggling to third place in the more technical BDG 100 two weeks ago, Rambla clearly seems to be at his best on more runable terrain. The participants in the upcoming Plataran X Trail in Bali better take note…

South Korea’s Sungsik Joh scored a great first ATM race win on the 100k

South Korea’s Sungsik Joh scored a great first ATM race win on the 100k

3rd In BDG 100, now a win for Salva Rambla on Ijen 70

3rd In BDG 100, now a win for Salva Rambla on Ijen 70

Based in South Korea, Canada’s Carrie Stander also claimed her first ever ATM race victory on the 70K

Based in South Korea, Canada’s Carrie Stander also claimed her first ever ATM race victory on the 70K

Indonesian women are still outstanding on the ultra distance: Ruth Theresia, Sri Wahyuni and Lily Suryani occupy all the steps on the podium of the 100k

Indonesian women are still outstanding on the ultra distance: Ruth Theresia, Sri Wahyuni and Lily Suryani occupy all the steps on the podium of the 100k

The men’s 70k podium with Salva, Yusuff and Thomy

The men’s 70k podium with Salva, Yusuff and Thomy

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Ijen: Ruth Theresia aims for the ATM title
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The 4th edition of Ijen Trailrunning takes place this weekend in Bondowoso, close to Banyuwangi in East Java. It has become one of Indonesia’s iconic ultra races with a good share of international participation, yet has very much retained its local east javanese feel. Ijen is still a remote place, and while the newly opened Banyuwangi airstrip hosts flights from Jakarta and Surabaya, participants do need to bring a good sense of adventure when they attend the event. Having said that, Ijen offers cut-off times (e.g. 32 hours for 100k, 4300 hm) according to common international best-practice and that gives many domestic runners also an opportunity to complete their first 100k race. The event offers four race distances in total, of which the 100k and 70k provide ATM Championship points and Grandmaster Quest points.

As last week in Vietnam, most attention will go to the women’s 100k race at Ijen. Indonesia’s leading lady in trail running, Ruth Theresia, will attempt to win her fifth ATM race of the season and lay claim to the 2018 Asia Trail Master title. It has only been two weeks since Theresia won her home race in Bandung. A narrow victory, one should say, as plagued by an ankle injury Theresia was not at her peak level and received a stern challenge by Jocelyn Cheung. However, this week she feels recovered enough to give it a go. Should it not work out this weekend, Theresia has another chance for a 5th win at Plataran X Trail Bali next week.

A fifth race victory would mean she eliminates her off-day at Cordillera Mountain Ultra last March from the ATM total points ranking. The five-best-count system is in place, and with five victories - including two SuperTrails with 50 bonus points each - Ruth Theresia would raise her score from 2388 to a massive 2650 points. Mathematically speaking, that boost her chances of becoming the 2018 Asia Trail Master Champion to over 90%. In sports, however, it is not over until it is over and - even when unlikely - a few other race winners this season could potentially still tie with her… or overtake her on points. There’s still quite a few points races left on the calendar, including the Japan SuperTrail - Izu Trail Journey - and a 100 miles race - HK 168 - both of which offer 50 bonus points on top of the regular 500 for the race winner. Theresia needs to keep an eye out in the next weeks what other race winners this season such as Carole Fuchs, Corinne Williams and Evelyn Lek will still do. Fuchs, who recently moved from Thailand to Japan, won the Philippines SuperTrail and needs 4 more race wins, including at least Izu Trail and HK 168 to jump ahead of the Indonesian. She got injured in Hakuba earlier this month, though. Corinne Williams won the Hong Kong SuperTrail, 9 Dragons, and Borneo TMBT Ultra 100 last month. She needs 3 more race wins, including Izu Trail and HK 168. In Sabah, however, Williams indicated other life priorities may prevent her from racing again this season. Singapore’s newcomer-on-the-scene Evelyn Lek needs 3 more wins, including the two abovementioned key races to tie with Theresia. Bottom line: mathematically-speaking, Ruth Theresia will only be 100% sure of having won the ATM title after the CM 50 Ultra and Compressport Trail Blazer race weekend on 25 November, but the stars look bright for the always smiling trail runner, who - let’s not forget - only became competitive two years ago. Last year, she missed the ATM title only by a small points margin and after putting up a great fight with Kim Matthews at CM 50 Ultra. If she wins this year’s championship, it will be truly well-deserved!

Bandung’s Ruth Theresia has scored 4 ATM points race victories so far in 2018

Bandung’s Ruth Theresia has scored 4 ATM points race victories so far in 2018

Back to the race-at-hand: Ijen Trailrunning. Ruth Theresia will of course not run by herself, and she also needs to win again if the scenario described above were to unfold. This weekend she may be pushed ahead by Surabaya’s Sri Wahyuni as in Mantra Summits last July. Sri Wahyuni had to forfeit from Bandung Ultra with injury, but feels strong enough to start on the 100k tonight. Also Bali’s Grandmaster Lily Suryani returns to the Asian scene after a long excursion to Europe mid-year. Given the beauty of the Ijen volcano and its famous blue fire, the event every year attracts runners from other parts of the world who may turn out to be podium or even victory contenders as well. Let’s see if that is the case also now on the 100k, but it certainly is for the 70km. On the second Grandmaster distance, Spain’s Salva Rambla will be a serious candidate. Rambla came third in the more technical Bandung Ultra 100 and will find Ijen closer to his characteristics as a trail runner coming from Europe. A lot of international runners like Rambla will be at the starting line for the 70k, including from Japan, Malaysia, China and South Korea. Yohanis Hiareij from East Java was second on the 100k in this home race of his, but will now try to achieve one podium step higher on the 70 km. For all the internationals, Hiareij could be the benchmark. The 100 km is wide open could see the emergence of new names. Surabaya’s Suparmin will be a contender, but Davao’s Rexell Aguirre will be a serious opponent. Aguirre has been preparing very well for this race, which reminds him of his home area and Mount Apo. Let’s not forget: Aguirre finished second in the Mt Apo Sky Race last year.

Stay tuned all weekend for the action from Ijen!

Both the 100k and 70k start at midnight time

Both the 100k and 70k start at midnight time

Tahura Trail opens 2019 Asia Trail Master Championship series
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As in the past two years, Tahura Trail will once again open the new Asia Trail Master Championship season in 2019 at the Taman Hutan Raya on 19-20 January. It is one of the most popular events of the entire calendar, as a matter of fact, and ideal to begin a new year of trail running as the long distance remains wisely restricted to the meanwhile classic course of 42 km, or a marathon distance. Registrations for the event are already open.

Mr Agung Adijani from IBA is the organising force behind Tahura Trail, an event that is a bit atypical for Indonesia, a country renowned for its many monster ultras. Convinced there’s a place for less challenging trail races on the domestic calendar, he has seen Tahura grow to one of the biggest trail events in the country, if not the biggest. Other than the ATM Championship distance of 42 km, there’s also a 21 km, 17k night run and more ‘family-targeted’ races. Close to 2000 runners will be visiting the beautiful surroundings of Taman Hutan Raya. Mind you, less challenging does not imply it is an easy race. Tahura Trail is often wet in parts, causing a few trails to be muddy and slippery, and 1600 metres of elevation gain in 42 km still needs to be conquered first before you can relax your muscles in of the several spas and relaxation resorts in the area.

It being the opening race of the season, the Asia Trail Master champions usually join Tahura Trail to open their new campaign. Many other international stars do likewise. This year, global medium distance trail star Jeff Campbell traveled to Bandung, and it was great to see how he was being pushed by a.o. local Bandung runner Margono. Kim Matthews was outstanding in the women’s race. Unfortunately, it would prove to be her only ATM race of the 2018 season, as the Australian is plagued by a delicate and persisting hip injury.

There’s direct flights to Bandung from a few Asian cities, notably Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur. You can also fly into Jakarta, and arrange bus/minivan/car transport (Grab) from the airport to Bandung. Travel time fluctuates a bit depending on road traffic, but the distance isn’t that far.

You can sign up for the 2019 Tahura Trail via the official website.

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The ATM Champions always enjoy coming to Tahura Trail to begin another campaign

The ATM Champions always enjoy coming to Tahura Trail to begin another campaign

 
BDG 100: Milton Amat outruns Arief Wismoyono!
Home star Ruth Theresia won the women’s 100k and extends her ATM points lead

Home star Ruth Theresia won the women’s 100k and extends her ATM points lead

While Bandung’s own home star Ruth Theresia managed - narrowly, though - to score an important victory on the 100 km last weekend, Arief Wismoyono had to accept Sabah’s Milton Amat was the faster man. The Bandung Ultra 100, also the Indonesian SuperTrail in the Asia Trail Master Championship series, was the first ever ATM points race win for Amat, after three four places earlier this season including Borneo TMBT 100 just two weeks ago. His success in Bandung propels Amat into the top five of the Championship and with a genuine chance to compete for this year’s title during the final stage of the 2018 season.

As usual, Milton Amat took off fast. But contrary to the 9 Dragons and Borneo TMBT, he managed to keep a consistent high pace and did not allow anyone to come back. He crossed the finish line in 15:10:41, also indicating how tough this race course is. In his home race 2 weeks ago, Amat came 4th in 13:37 and that after breaking down in the final kilometers. Arief Wismoyono spent most of the race in the company of Spain’s Salva Rambla. A newcomer on the ATM scene who has come straight from his home country and will be living and running in ATM points races for almost six months, gathering intelligence for the trail market in Spain. Rambla was surprised of the technical difficulty of the Bandung race, but nevertheless satisfied with his first result. Even when he had to let Wismoyono go in the last part. Brunei-based Canadian Michael McLean grabbed fourth place in 18:03, or just over 2 hours slower than when he took 6th in Borneo TMBT. Last year’s winner Fandhi Achmad finished in 7th place in 23:16.

Ten minutes later Ruth Theresia entered the finish arena as winner of the women’s race, and therefore extends her points lead in the Asia Trail Master Championship. It is her fourth victory of the season, which means the championship crown is very much within reach. She could wrap things up with another - fifth - strong result, which would eliminate her off-day at CMU in Philippines (33th place). One of her biggest contenders for the title, Aggy Sabanal, is running this weekend’s Vietnam Mountain Marathon.

However, Ruh Theresia had to struggle to obtain this success last weekend. Having injured her ankle during training two weeks ago, the local Bandung star was unable to run full power. As such, Hong Kong’s Jocelyn Cheung kept up with Theresia nearly all the way to the finish! Cheung - third in Magnificent Merapoh Trail in August - found a trail course much to her liking in Bandung, being a great technical runner. She arrived just four minutes behind Theresia in second place. The podium was completed by Poh Suan Pah. Shindy Patricia decided she needs more recovery time after UTMB and did not take part in the race.

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Arief flanked by his wife comes in 2nd

Arief flanked by his wife comes in 2nd

Spain’s Salva Rambla opens his ATM account with a 3rd place

Spain’s Salva Rambla opens his ATM account with a 3rd place

BDG 100: home races for Wismoyono & Theresia
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It has been a while since the last one in Malaysia, but this weekend is SuperTrail weekend in the Asia Trail Master Championship. Bandung Ultra 100 is the Indonesia SuperTrail, which means all finishers on the 100k distance score 50 bonus points for the points championship. Important also for home runners Arief Wismoyono and Ruth Theresia, who will be giving it their all on familiar terrain.

Bandung Ultra 100 entered the scene with a bang last year. Along with Mantra Summits Challenge in East Java, the event captured the imagination of hardcore technical trail runners especially. The 100k has well over 6500 metres of elevation gain and a tight cut-off time of 32 hours. Twelve months ago, Fandhi Ahmad won both new races. He is back at the starting line tomorrow and will certainly act. as the benchmark for Arief Wismoyono and others with victory ambitions. One of those is Spaniard Salva Rambla. Having arrived in Asia just a week ago, Salva Rambla will be competing in at least six ATM races in the second part of this season with a mission to increase understanding and spread awareness of our events in his home country Spain, which is of course one of the top nations in global trail running. Salva and his partner will also be working on a TV documentary, and he will of course also run the races for what he is worth. Spain is not Asia, and Bandung Ultra 100 is definitely not the easiest race to start an Asian campaign, but he is no rookie neither.

It will be interesting to see where Abdul Aziz Dermawan ends up this weekend. A talented young runner who scored great results even on the steps of Hong Kong a few years ago, but it has been a while he has competed at top level in Indonesia. Aris Sopiandi Muklis is a podium candidate, having done well in this race last season as well.

There’s a few Japanese runners who could cause an upset, and there’s also Rexell Aguirre from Davao in Philippines who always does well on technical terrain, having placed second on Mt Apo last year as an example. Brunei-based Canadian Michael McLean was a very impressive finisher at Borneo TMBT Ultra 100 only two weeks ago. McLean passed six runners in the final 10 km to end up 6th in the race result. In Sabah, McLean looked surprisingly fresh at the finish compared to all others and can certainly be regarded as the dark horse for this weekend’s race in Bandung. Amazingly, there’s another top performer of Borneo TMBT Ultra on the start list: Malaysia’s Milton Amat! The sympathetic Sabahan was running in front together with Daved Simpat for most of the race, until he got. a knock of the hammer and slided down the order to arrive in fourth place at the finish. Earlier this season, Amat scored 4th in the 9 Dragons Ultra in Hong Kong and 4th in Penang Eco 100 miles. He is indeed the highest-ranked Malaysian in the current Asia Trail Master points standings in 8th place with 1400 points. Let’s hope for him he can do one rank better in BDG 100 and finally get a podium. He would be knocking on the door of the ATM Fab Five as well then.

In the women’s race, championship leader Ruth Theresia is the clear favourite on paper. Competiting smart and much less than in 2017, Ruth is eyeing a championship win, indeed. Surabaya’s Sri Wahyuni has come closest to pushing Ruth in ultra races this season, yet overtaking her has not been on the cards so far. Wahyuni is on the start list again for Bandung, however reports indicate she is injured and won’t be competing for a few weeks - denting her chances in the championship. Ruth may therefore receive most pressure from another East Javan, Shindy Patricia. Riding the wave of her success in Chamonix, Shindy is a highly skilled technical runner who will find herself at ease on the trails in Bandung. If Ruth doesn’t find her fastest legs, Shindy won’t be far away. And neither will Eni Rosita be. Rosita might not have the sheer trail speed as the likes of Ruth and Shindy, but her stamina counts for two. When the going gets tough, Rosita could be competing for more than just the podium. Hong Kong’s Jocelyn Cheung will be another podium candidate, as she showed again last month with a third place in the Magnificent Merapoh Trail in Malaysia.

Arief Wismoyono is currently in 6th place in the ATM Championship

Arief Wismoyono is currently in 6th place in the ATM Championship

Ruth Theresia: on the way to her first ATM Championship title?

Ruth Theresia: on the way to her first ATM Championship title?

An incredible finish at Borneo TMBT Ultra 100 2 weeks ago: Michael McLean

An incredible finish at Borneo TMBT Ultra 100 2 weeks ago: Michael McLean

3 times 4th: can Milton Amat score an ATM podium this weekend?

3 times 4th: can Milton Amat score an ATM podium this weekend?

Impressive winner last year: Fandhi Achmad

Impressive winner last year: Fandhi Achmad