Posts tagged laos
UTLP: Grandmasters and Carrie Jane Stander
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Lots of Grandmasters and runners still on the Quest for their first star in Luang Prabang this weekend for the inaugural edition of the Ultra Trail. The new event follows V-Trail as the second major international trail race in Laos, and given its location has everything to become a cracker in the future. Organising company Teelakow from Thailand in any case has big plans for the development of trail running in Laos.

Luang Prabang is quite a popular backpacker destination already in South East Asia, thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage status. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Laos until 1975, when political developments moved that title to Vientiane further south. The city actually consists of several villages linked together and has been preserved remarkably well.

Sports is still in its infancy in Laos, in particular the leisure and mass participation industry. By means of UTLP, V Trail and more races already planned for 2020, organisers aim to develop a healthy lifestyle among its citizens as well as open up the country even more to the outside world. In V Trail last year, we already had a strong Lao runner finishing not far behind Alessandro Sherpa and Salva Rambla. Let’s see who emerges this weekend!

On the start list of the 96 km - the distance that matters for the ATM Championship - we find of course current female championship leader Carrie-Jane Stander, who continues her busy schedule at the beginning of the season. UTLP will already be her fourth race, and given her consistency and solid pace over longer distances she is definitely a podium candidate as well. The Canadian in any case looks set to open up a nice points gap to her nearest competitors in the championship, which means she might stay in the leading position for quite some time with ramadan and a more quiet period from late April to mid June approaching!

Another podium candidate for the women’s race in Laos this weekend is Thailand’s Montha Suntornwit - winner of Ultra Trail Chiang Rai 230 last October - and her compatriot Natthanan Matthanang.

In the men’s, we will be looking at the announced return of Japan’s Wataru Iino. Iino was a familiar face in Thailand in 2017, when he finished on the podium of UTKC and UT Panoramic. His regular work schedule did not allow him to compete much in Asia last season, but he re-emerged on the ATM scene at Izu Trail Journey in his native Japan. This weekend he should be the top favourite, even though Iino has struggled with hotter temperatures before. Two of his main competitors will be the rejuvenated Michael McLean and Sukrit Kaewyoun, who both ran an excellent Dalat Ultra Trail a fortnight ago. Grandmasters Ohm Malaihom and Masafumi Yamamoto are on the start list, too. Both of them also ran and completed the Vietnam SuperTrail, and Yamamoto even claimed his 2nd Grandmaster star in that race! Britain’s Stephen Wiseman is on the verge of achieving his Grandmaster Quest as well this weekend.

Stay tuned for updates from Luang Prabang during the weekend.

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Wataru Iino is set to return to the ATM scene in Ultra Trail Luang Prabang

Wataru Iino is set to return to the ATM scene in Ultra Trail Luang Prabang

Masafumi Yamamoto is now a 2-star Grandmaster and starts chasing his 3rd star immediately in Laos now

Masafumi Yamamoto is now a 2-star Grandmaster and starts chasing his 3rd star immediately in Laos now

The first Thai Grandmaster: Ohm Malaihom will be in Luang Prabang for his 9th ATM race of 70+ km

The first Thai Grandmaster: Ohm Malaihom will be in Luang Prabang for his 9th ATM race of 70+ km

Montha Suntornwit was the big winner of the Ultimate 230 in Chiang Rai last October

Montha Suntornwit was the big winner of the Ultimate 230 in Chiang Rai last October

Laos enters the trail scene with V Trail!
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This weekend it is finally happening: the first major international trail running event in Laos! The V Trail in Vang Vien is organised by the established crew of Teelakow in Thailand and is the first event of a scheduled four in 2019. The V Trail offers a very selective and technical course on most distances, not in the least the 85k ultra.

As this is a new sport in a new destination, most of the runners come from outside Laos. Quite impressive therefore that the start list features almost 800 names! Among them is also Asia Trail Master Championship leader Alessandro Sherpa. The Italian returns four weeks after struggling to a place of honour in the Plataran X Trail Bali with injury. Last week, Tomohiro Mizukoshi failed to hop ahead of him in the standings at Fifty Mapawa, but Sherpa is certainly hot home yet. The men’s championship remains open with several candidates remaining for the title. In fact, due to his many SuperTrail performances this season, Sabah’s Milton Amat is in a very strong position, although he still needs to deliver one big result this season to grab his option on the championship title.

At V Trail, Sherpa will be facing competition from amongst others Salva Rambla and Michael McLean. The former had a string of podium finishes in Indonesia before a DNF due to overheating at UT Chiang Rai 2 weeks ago. The Spaniard is keen to set that straight in Laos, although on paper the course might not be as suitable for him. McLean on the other hand does well on technical trails and has something to make up after a rather unexpected early DNF at UTCR 230. Also Thailand’s Wasin Mangkholmalee is a podium candidate this weekend, after finishing fifth in that same 230 km Ultra Trail Chiang Rai race.

In the women’s, we may have a Malaysian top favourite in Siokhar Lim, who was, amongst other results, second in Penang Eco 100 last May. Lim is also ranked 9th in the current ATM championship and can move into the top five if she delivers a good performance in Laos.

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V Trail Laos opens registration next week
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The first edition of the V Trail in Laos will open registration next week on 1 May. The event is the first major trail event in the country and technically organised by the teelakow team from Thailand that also brings you UT Koh Chang and UT Chiang Rai to name just two. The race courses for V Trail are now also 100% confirmed and it was decided to have a 85 km course as main race, and a 52 km as middle race. Shorter distances are also available, but the two longest matter for the Asia Trail Master Championship. 

Laos is a new destination on the trail map and of course will be characterised by jungle and mountains, and lots of technical single trail. The 85 km features nearly 5200 hm, but in the fine teelakow tradition you get 30 hours for that - which is still no walk in the park given the terrain, though. Runners should be prepared for a tough technical race in hot conditions. 

Participants can best get to the event via the international airport in Vientiane. From there it's a bus drive north to Vang Vien. 

Below are the profile maps for the 85 km and 52 km. 

Registration will be open via 

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Welcome Laos!
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Pencil in now: V-TRAIL in LAOS! We are happy to announce a brand new entry in the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship, as well as a new destination: V-Trail will be taking place in Vang Vien, north of Vientiane, in Laos on the weekend of 3/4 November 2018! 

On the programme will be a 100K and a 60K with 4500 hm and 2400 Hm respectively. V-Trail will be run almost entirely on natural trails and will be a true adventure for all participants. Effectively, this will be the first high-profile trail race in Laos. The technical organisation is in the hands of Thai company Teelakow, known for several other ATM points races such as UTKC in February. 

Registration for the V-Trail will open soon.