Posts tagged indonesia
Ijen 100: Nakajima takes control & Tanapong scores 2nd win!
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A big and very impressive winner at Ijen 100 this year: Job Tanapong of Team Siangpure in Thailand. The 28-year-old youngster , who works as a coffee barista, scored his second ATM points race victory of the 2019 season after Moon 100. It brings his total of Championship points to 1000, and with 2 race victories out of 2 races he does better than John Ellis and Hisashi Kitamura, to name just a few. Job Tanapong will be a serious contender for the ATM Championship victory later this year! 

At Ijen 100 nobody was able to match his quick pace. Tanapong finished the 109 km (!) m and 5000 hm in 14:17 without breaking too much sweat, although he admitted the final 20km were tough. 

Central Javanese newcomer to the trail scene, Rachmat Septiyanto, who was 4th in Mantra Summits Challenge three weeks ago, scored a sold second place today in 16:50. Septiyanto is still young and certainly talented. Mantra 116 was very technical, Ijen 100 is very runable and he does great in both! Third place went to Thailand as well, with Sukrit Kaewyoun crossing the finish line together with Sri Sritabitha Wahyuni . Another fine race for Sukrit means he will cement his top five ranking in the Championship.

After four points finishes and one DNF, the surprisingly versatile Asuka Nakajima has conquered the top of the Asia Trail Master Championship ranking at the expense of Veronika Vadovicova after her 100k victory in Ijen. Based in Jakarta, the smiling Japanese runner is having a fantastic debut campaign on the trails and has already won three A-races plus a third place. She now totals 2025 ATM Championship points, 45 more than Vadovicova, who has scored four race wins but one was a B-race with fewer points. Suddenly, Nakajima is the benchmark as the women's championship is beginning to heat up! In Bondowoso, Nakajima stayed ahead of an in-form Sri Wahyuni, who scored yet another ATM podium but is still chasing that very first victory. Before the Ijen race, another contender has most chances of grabbing the points lead, but Fredlyn Alberto dropped out of the race with a twisted ankle after around 40 km. Alberto adopted a better safe than sorry approach and did not want to jeopardise the rest of her season. Another strong newcomer in the Asian women’s scene is Thailand’s Wipawee Cartoon. Second behind Vadovicova in Tsaigu 80 last April, Cartoon was an unfortunate DNF while leading Moon 100 after 80 km. At Ijen, she decided to go for the 70k rather than the 100 and smashed that one to grab her first ATM points race victory, albeit the 70K B-race. On the 100, behind Nakajima and Wahyuni there was a nice battle between Montha Suntornwit and Melanie Hingpit, decided in favour of the Thai UTCR 230 winner from last year. Hingpit did lose a lot of time by missing a key marker halfway through the race, though.

Thailand’s Job Tanapong did the job very smoothly and bagged his second ATM points race win!

Thailand’s Job Tanapong did the job very smoothly and bagged his second ATM points race win!

Asuka Nakajima is the new ATM Championship leader after winning Ijen 100

Asuka Nakajima is the new ATM Championship leader after winning Ijen 100

Rachmat Septiyanto is a welcome new face in high level Indonesian trail running. Coming from Solo.

Rachmat Septiyanto is a welcome new face in high level Indonesian trail running. Coming from Solo.

Wipawee Cartoon decided to go for the 70K B-race, which she won. Still, she misses out on important ATM Championship points

Wipawee Cartoon decided to go for the 70K B-race, which she won. Still, she misses out on important ATM Championship points

Photo: teelakow

Photo: teelakow

MSC 116: Amat and Nakajima dominate
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 Milton Amat has won the Mantra Summits Challenge 116 in 23h23! A fantastic performance by the Sabahan Uglow athlete, who scored his second career ATM race victory in Indonesia. He was the top favourite amongst all contenders, but Amat didn’t leave the others any chance and didn’t even look too tired as he crossed the finish line at the great Kaliandra Eco Resort in the middle of the night. More than ever Milton Amat is a serious ATM Championship contender, now after his third result of the season. 

Omnipresent Hisashi Kitamura scored an impressive second place in the mega tough high mountain race - a course that normally does not suit his characteristics as a trail runner. The time gap to Milton Amat was huge, though: nearly 4 hours. It's nevertheless a very sweet second place for the Uglow Malaysia runner, as he raises his ATM total points tally by 75 to 2525 points - the same as Championship leader John Ellis! The Hong Kong Ozzie remains the official number 1, however, as he beat Kitamura in their last direct confrontation, which was at Penang Eco 100 miles. Kitamura continues to amaze followers this season with his string of fine performances. A welcome rest now follows, though.

Indonesia's Ivan Iskandar, relatively unknown on the ATM tour, completed the podium of the 116k for men. Iskandar ran a very consistent pace all day and night, and actually edged closer to Kitamura in the final 20 km. His compatriot Rahmat Septiyanto came in as fourth place. Fifth was for Hadi Mustofa, also from Indonesia, in a sign that there life after Arief Wismoyono, himself absent due to professional obligations last weekend. Malaysia’s Jeffery Budin came home sixth. The Malatra runner is also quietly establishing himself as a tough ultra runner.

The 116k proved everything that was promised: no compromises, no prisoners. The hardest race on our ATM Championship calendar saw the ‘DNFs’ of none other than Mantra expert and top favourite alongside Milton Amat, Pablo Diago Gonzales. After some 50km, the Spaniard called it quits after severely hurting his ankle in the descent of the highest peak, Mount Arjuno. He was joined at the same point by ATM Champion Alessandro Sherpa, who loves this race but seems to struggle here every year. Sherpa was able to keep up with Milton Amat early on, but as the day progressed climbing Welirang and Arjuno he got too dehydrated for his own good and decided it was too risky to continue. It’s a setback for the Champion in his bid to keep the ATM title this year, but it also takes a Champion to realise when enough is enough not to risk one’s own health. Tokyo’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi also did not reach the finish after hurting his left knee. Fandhi Achmad, winner of the 50k two years ago, was keeping a relatively low profile early on in the race. Just as he began to make up ground, he took a wrong turn and ended up off course for quite a while. Achmad nevertheless managed to finish, albeit in 11 th place.

In the women’s 116 race, we had a big and actually quite unexpected dominant victory by Japan's Asuka Nakajima! It was her second ATM points race victory of the season after Tahura Trail 42km in Bandung, which proves how versatile Nakajima is. Last month she still DNFd at Penang Eco 100, but now she bounces back at Mantra. This tastes for more! Malaysia's Siokhar "Steel" Lim again had a great second half to grab her first podium of the season. Lim overtook Sri Wahyuni in the final 15 km. Surabaya's Wahyuni still held on to third place. Philippines' Cecile Wael ran a remarkable race herself. For a long time in second position, she eventually had to slow down and came home fourth just ahead of Malaysia's Fazlia Hanim. 

MSC 75: Yusuf Aprian won his first major ATM points race! The Bandung youngster was too fast for established mountain runners such as David Fontaine and Philippines’ Koi Grey. In the women’s we had a Japanese victory by Ema Nakajima ahead of Christin Mutia and Septiana Swastika

Podium men 116 with Milton Amat, Hisashi Kitamura and Ivan Iskandar

Podium men 116 with Milton Amat, Hisashi Kitamura and Ivan Iskandar

Podium women 116 with Asuka Nakajima, Siokhar Lim and Sri Wahyuni

Podium women 116 with Asuka Nakajima, Siokhar Lim and Sri Wahyuni

Gritty run by Philippines’ Cecile Wael results in a 4th place on the 116

Gritty run by Philippines’ Cecile Wael results in a 4th place on the 116

Siokhar Lim earned herself the nickname “Steel”

Siokhar Lim earned herself the nickname “Steel”

Yusuf Aprian: great winner of the 75 km

Yusuf Aprian: great winner of the 75 km

Koi Grey scored a 3rd place on the 75km “without training”

Koi Grey scored a 3rd place on the 75km “without training”

Tahira managed to get to km 80, but lack of training compelled her to call it a day then

Tahira managed to get to km 80, but lack of training compelled her to call it a day then

More big names on the DNF list: Alessandro Sherpa (dehydration) and Pablo Diago (sprained ankle)

More big names on the DNF list: Alessandro Sherpa (dehydration) and Pablo Diago (sprained ankle)

Sunrise is amazing in this race

Sunrise is amazing in this race

MSC 116: Calling all mountain goats
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On paper, the Mantra Summits Challenge is the hardest points race in the Asia Trail Master Championship series. And every year, it gets longer, too. For 2019, event organiser Heru Prabowo and race director Ivan Citraya of the Malang Trailrunners, have introduced a collossal 116km as longest distance option on top of the existing 75km from a year ago. Total elevation gain is set at approx 8800 hm. Yet, the scenery at an altitude of well above 3000m with the mountains of Welirang and Arjuno remains an attraction for trail runners from all over Asia. Mantra Summits Challenge is the Indonesia SuperTrail in 2019, and any trail runner who loves a good mountain is at the Kaliandra Eco Resort in East Java this weekend.

Interestingly enough, the last two years the long distance race for men was decided in the very last kilometres on the road towards the finish line in the resort. In 2017, Fandhi Achmad overtook an injured Jan Nilsen and last season, famously, Elias Tabac from Davao ran past Pablo Diago Gonzales in the last kilometre with his shoes torn apart and his feet a bloody mess. This weekend we can in any case expect a fantastic battle royal in the high mountains between several protagonists in the Asia Trail Master series, both in the men and women categories, and both in the relevant 116km and 75km races.

Taking a look at the points standings first, we see the inevitable Hisashi Kitamura on the start list. The KL-based Japanese runner has made a remarkable progress in his short trail running ‘career’ and currently ranks 2nd in the ATM Championship, 75 points adrift of John Ellis. Fast marathon runner Kitamura runs all the ATM SuperTrails this season, but admits that the Indonesia one suits him least. Nevertheless, he showed great maturity in Penang Eco 100 last month and if he scores a second place in Mantra Summits he equals John Ellis’ total of 2525 points. A victory would put him first.

However, for the victory he will need to get past two hot runners who have been focusing hard on this one to keep their own ATM Championship chances high. The previously mentioned Pablo Diago Gonzales is the most experienced of all top contenders in Mantra, having been there since the beginning. The Singapore-based Spaniard knows all the steps of the podium in Mantra except the top one. Gonzales has therefore made Mantra a big goal this season, indeed… The second big favourite is Milton Amat from Sabah, Malaysia. A real technical mountain trail runner, the Uglow Malaysia runner finds in Malang the perfect race for his characteristics. Another one who focuses on the SuperTrails a lot, Amat does need a victory to stay level with the Ellisses and Kitamuras. So far he got 4th in the 9 Dragons and 2nd in Moon 100 after he lost a certain victory when his teammate and friend Wilsen Singgin literally dropped down ‘heatstruck’ on the beach in the final 2 km of that race in Thailand.

There’s several more podium contenders on the 116k, even when Indonesia’s top mountain trail star Arief Wismoyono won’t be there this season. 2018 ATM Champion Alessandro Sherpa showed an excellent return to form in Penang Eco 100k, but has rather unpleasant memories of Mantra Summits last year. Sherpa can never be underestimated in any kind of race, but the topography of MSC 116 on paper is not his ‘baby’. The same applies for Tokyo’s Tomohiro Mizukoshi. It was great to see him come in 2nd in the 100 miles of Penang Eco, but MSC 116 will be a hard nut to crack for a runner like him,too. At least when we are talking podium. On the other hand, West Java’s Fandhi Achmad is a mountain specialist and could cause an upset victory again - just like in 2017 when the longest race distance was still 50km. From Yogyakarta and a hit-and-miss for sure, Dzaki Wardana is a former winner of Ijen 100 and a podium placer in other mountain races in Indonesia. On his day, Dzaki is game. Another runner who could claim the spotlights this weekend is Malaysia’s Jeffery Budin of Team Malatra. Another typical mountain goat who is currently in fine shape. Let’s also keep an eye out for Alvin Png, Aris Sopiandi Muklis and Alan Maulana. This is their terrain.

In the women’s 116k, eyes naturally will be fixed on Tahira Najmunisaa. It comes with being a former ATM champion and dominant force in the women’s trail scene in Asia. However, it must be said that Tahira has had other issues to compete with in the private atmosphere after her great 2nd place in Dalat Ultra Trail. Nothing is a must, anything is possible. There’s other women on the start list keen on a great result. Coming from Philippines with a significant trail record, yet little to unknown on the ATM tour, is Arlene Agulto. We will be watching her in the battle with Surabaya’s in-form Sri Wahyuni, who was second in this race last year and has since improved further. Sri Wahyuni will be defending the honours of her home country as ATM Champion Ruth Theresia and also Shindy Patricia are taking a sabatical this season. Tahura Trail winner Asuka Nakajima will be facing her first test on mountain trails such as Mantra, and Malaysia’s Izzah Hazirah is the dark horse this weekend as convincing winner of the very technical MMTF in Taiping last November. Also on the start list is Cecile Wael, who has been doing very well in the championship this season.

The 75K is a co-A race this weekend and has some big names as well. Koi Grey is arguably top gun on this distance, being the experienced mountain runner he is. Moreover, Koi is in excellent shape this year since he launched his comeback to the trail scene half a year ago. He can do a great job for his ATM championship ambitions, too. This will be his 4th race of the season, and a fine result will propel him back into the top five of the ranking… and Koi Grey is one of those with experience running in Taiping, the ATM championship final on 14/15 December… His main competitors in Mantra 75 will likely be Yusuf Aprian from Bandung and Trung Nguyen from Vietnam. However, there’s also Furqoni Sya’bana who can never be underestimated. In the women’s 75K, Ruth Theresia is on the start list but the ATM Champion has announced she won’t be competing this weekend after all. Home favourite from Malang, Christin Mutia, is a victory contender along with Bandung’s Novita Wulundari and Malaysia’s Fadila Binti Yusoff - another one with experience in Mantra.

Follow ATM ‘s live coverage of the event via our Facebook, twitter and Instagram channels all weekend long. With special thanks to Adventure III on the spot in Malang.

Several women are brave enough to tackle the 116K. This quartet may challenge for podium or more

Several women are brave enough to tackle the 116K. This quartet may challenge for podium or more

Third time lucky for Pablo?

Third time lucky for Pablo?

Tahira continues her return to the top of the sport

Tahira continues her return to the top of the sport

Tomohiro Mizukoshi had a great 2nd place in Penang, illustrating his return to top form

Tomohiro Mizukoshi had a great 2nd place in Penang, illustrating his return to top form

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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