Posts tagged rizal
John Ray Onifa unstoppable in Rizal Mountains
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The 3rd edition of Rizal Mountain Run in Basekamp, San Mateo, in the rugged mountainous suburbs of Manila goes into the history books as the toughest so far. Not only was the total race distance and elevation gain increased to 53km and 3100 hm, the hard rainfall in the days leading up to the event made the trails slippery and technical to the extreme. As a result, the DNF rate was high for the 50K athletes at 40%. Rizal Mountain Run delivered two outstanding winners of whom we can be expected to see a lot more still this season. 

John Ray Onifa burst onto the trail scene last October when he defeated Manolito Divina by half an hour in Ultra-Trail Mapawa 50k, and since then many have wondered if the 24-year-old from Visayas could repeat that performance. The answer is yes. Onifa took the bullet by the horns from the start, and opened up a gap in the first, technical and even dangerous 10K of the race. Onifa never looked back. Local boy Elmer Retolado was going fast behind him until he twisted his ankle in the very muddy conditions. As such, Rizal expert Kristian Joergensen inherited second place and was the only one who kept Onifa within potential striking range until the km 45 mark. Joergensen trains in the Rizal mountains and was very familiar with the course, which he ran entirely in training a fortnight ago. When Joergensen crossed the finish line in 7:04 (six minutes faster than during his training session in dry weather!), he could not believe he was nearly half an hour behind Onifa: “I was 10 minutes behind before the last checkpoint, so how did I lose 20 minutes in the last 8 km?” The answer was as straight as it was overwhelming: Onifa still had the strength and energy to run up the whole last climb of 4 km while others were walking up. An impressive run by the youngster, who could become another serious ATM title contender from the Philippines this season. 

JR Onifa is still new to trail running, coming from a few solid road run performances, and has never gone beyond 50 km in racing conditions. Interestingly, that is a characteristic he shares with Jeff Campbell, who won last week’s Tahura Trail in Indonesia. They now both top the 2018 ATM Championship ranking with 500 points. 

At the end of the tough 53K race, Onifa was still running up the last long climb!

At the end of the tough 53K race, Onifa was still running up the last long climb!

Aggy Sabanal Smith was the strongest woman

Aggy Sabanal Smith was the strongest woman

The third place on the podium was occupied by Filippino Dean Perez, who did very well by staying ahead of Pablo Diago Gonzales. Last year’s winner of RMR, Manolito Divina, was present at the event, but only as a sweeper for the short distance race. “Tolitz” confirmed he suffered a lot from his stomach cramps in UT Panoramic early December and, combined with the demands of a new business initiative, his 2018 trail running campaign will only begin in March. 

At CP1 after a tough 10km, the women’s race looked like it would be a dual between Agostoralin Sabanal, also known as Aggy Smith, and Melanie Hingpit. Only a minute or two separated both runners at that point, but eventually Sabanal turned out to have too much power on the day and completed the 53 km as 8th overall in just over 10 hours. Hingpit held onto second place, and another Filippino runner, Maricar Hiponia, completed the podium in third place.

The third points race in the 2018 ATM Championship is set for next weekend and it is again in the Philippines. We move further north to the Cordillera area, where on Sunday the Pilipinas Akyathlon 46k takes place with some of the country’s finest expected to be at the start. 

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Rizal Mountain Run with Onifa, Diago & Joergensen
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The 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship series continues in Philippines for the next two weekends. First the Rizal Mountain Run in the mountains east of Manila, and second the Pilipinas Akyathlon in the Cordillera region. Two crispy points races that offer the local pinoy runners, especially, an excellent opportunity to put themselves in the spotlights early in the season. The 3rd edition of the Rizal Mountain Run, organised and directed by experienced trail runners Dean Lim and Majo Liao, takes place this Sunday with start and finish in Basekamp, San Mateo, and is a bit of an underestimated race. The 50k course - the one that matters for ATM championship points - has over 3000m of elevation and that requires an effort. Four athletes have shaped the race in the last two years by occupying the podium on both occasions. Kristian Joergensen won the inaugural race in 2016 and came second behind Manolito Divina last year, while Diorella Cerujano achieved the same but the other way around: 2nd in 2016 behind Cheryl Bihag, victory last season. In fact, Bihag took bronze last year as well, and in the men’s Mark ‘Koi’ Grey fought great battles with Joergensen in both editions to score second and third place respectively. Joergensen and Cerujano return to Rizal this weekend so it’s fair to say that anyone who wants to win this race will need to get passed them. 

There is competition for them, though. Danish-born Joergensen is expected to be at the top of his game as he has been preparing for an extreme ultra in Hong Kong next month, and that may be needed to repeat his triumph of 2016. On the start list we find top runners such as Pablo Diago Gonzales and John Ray Onifa. Diago Gonzales was fourth in the 2017 ATM championship and has scored 4 career race wins in the ATM series so far. Most notably in the Philippines, the Singapore-based Spaniard was the best on Mount Apo last season. Diago Gonzales likes the 50 to 70K distance, yet in the last direct confrontation he finished behind Joergensen at CM50 Ultra last November… The big question for many trail insiders is whether the two European expats are a match for hot Filippino rookie John Ray Onifa. Onifa raised many people’s eyebrows at UT Mapawa last October when he ran away from Manolito Divina and gave him nearly half an hour at the finish of a 50K race! Onifa is a young talent who comes from the road but has developed a taste for trail. Coming from a modest background, it is great to see him return to the ATM scene so early in the new season and it will be interesting to see if he could repeat that exhillirating Mapawa performance at Rizal this Sunday. While these three are expected to challenge for the podium spots, it is a new season so there’s always the possibility for new names, new faces.

The same goes for the women’s race, where Cerujano is expected to compete with her compatriot Melanie Hingpit - third at CM50 Ultra recently - and Grandmaster Ina Budiyarni from Indonesia, the latter having seemingly recovered from quite a bad fall on her hip halfway through Tahura Trail last week. Budiyarni brings a lot of trail experience to this event compared to the others, will that be sufficient for her to claim the win on this technical course? 

In conclusion it is worthwhile mentioning that local hero Manolito Divina has opted to function as as an official this weekend rather than run the race. The 2016 ATM champion feels not recovered enough from his unpleasant DNF due to bad stomach cramps at UT Panoramic early December. Divina is on the start list of Pilipinas Akyathlon next week, though.

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John Ray Onifa: can he repeat what he accomplished at UT Mapawa last season?

John Ray Onifa: can he repeat what he accomplished at UT Mapawa last season?

2017 ATM #4 Pablo Diago Gonzales launches his 2018 campaign at Rizal

2017 ATM #4 Pablo Diago Gonzales launches his 2018 campaign at Rizal

Grandmaster Ina Budiyarni is a podium candidate in the women's 50K race this Sunday

Grandmaster Ina Budiyarni is a podium candidate in the women's 50K race this Sunday

Melanie Hingpit was third in CM50 last November and will challenge for the win this weekend

Melanie Hingpit was third in CM50 last November and will challenge for the win this weekend

Manolito Divina returns to victory in Rizal

One week after his surprise DNF at Tahura Trail in Indonesia, the 2016 Asia Trail Master champion Manolito Divina has bounced back during the Rizal Mountain Run in his native country of Philippines. Divina won the tough 50 km race in just under 6h30 and joins Abdoullah Mitiche at the top of the 2017 ATM championship with 500 points. He beat some prime runners in the process yesterday: last year's winner of this race Kristian Joergensen was able to resist for a while but eventually still lost 17 minutes to the champion. Still, Joergensen himself did a fantastic run, as he was almost an hour ahead of Mark Koi Grey, with whom he battled so fiercely for victory in this race last year! Another great performance was delivered by Thumbie Remigio, who despite significant rib injuries succumbed before the start made it to fourth place today! Kyle Antolin and Ernani Occiano were next up, followed by Malaysia's Abang Jamadi Rosli. 

Diorella Cerujano was fastest woman, seventeen minutes ahead of Patricia Morota and last year's winner Cheryl Bihag. Majo Liao opted not to start this year and instead help out with the race organisation, which received praise from the participants. In particular and to note were the excellent marshals and markings, and the adequate medical staff which made runners feel safe and secure on the sometimes quite technical parts of the race course. 

The men's podium.  Credit: D. Salongo dela Cruz

The men's podium. Credit: D. Salongo dela Cruz

Manolito solo in the lead.  Credit: MGM productions

Manolito solo in the lead. Credit: MGM productions

Rizal Mountain Run - 2nd chance for Manolito Divina
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Just one week after the Tahura Trail, the 2017 Asia Trail Master tour already pitches its tents in the Philippines for the second points race. As last week's event in Indonesia, the Rizal Mountain Run is another Candidate Race that has moved up to our championship calendar this year. The 50 km in the Rizal mountains east of Manila is a tough rollercoaster with 2800 hm that seems to favour punchy runners. Kristian Joergensen, Danish but residing in the country, and Koi Grey fought a great battle last year and are back this weekend to open their 2017 campaign. However, one cannot look past Asia Trail Master champion Manolito Divina as top favourite for the men's race. Especially since Divina has something to make up. A DNF at Tahura by getting lost was an unexpected non-result last week! Instead of taking the new championship by the horns straightaway with two potential top points hauls, the pinoy star will have to make do with the Rizal Mountain Run this Sunday to get in the mix. At least one thing was obvious in Bandung: Manolito Divina is on the pace again. Race winner Abdoullah Mitiche was not finished with him yet, but that's trail running for you. 

The women's race will see Majo Liao competing more or less on home soil. Liao was second in the Asia Trail Master championship last year despite suffering from an injury for a large part of the season. Tahira Najmunisaa already showed everyone how strong she is again last week, can Liao do the same this weekend? Last year's winner Cheryl Bihag will also return to Rizal. 

Via our social media channels you can stay tuned to the race developments this weekend. 

A nice but tough 50 km loop in the Rizal Mountain area

A nice but tough 50 km loop in the Rizal Mountain area

2016 Asia Trail Master runner-up Majo Liao is the top favourite in the women's race

2016 Asia Trail Master runner-up Majo Liao is the top favourite in the women's race

Kristian Joergensen won last year's edition after a splendid dual with Koi Grey

Kristian Joergensen won last year's edition after a splendid dual with Koi Grey

Rizal Mountain Run opens registrations

The 2nd race on the 2017 Asia Trail Master calendar is the Rizal Mountain Run in the Philippines, and the registrations open this Monday, 17 October. RMR, as the abbreviated name goes, is a tough 50k, not too far from Manila, that moves up from Candidate Race this year to a genuine points race in the Asia Trail Master championship. 

Organised by the team of Ahon, the local brand known for its gaiters and trail socks, the race received great feedback from runners last February. The competition in itself was a thriller with Danish-born Kristian Joergensen and Koi Grey going head-to-head for victory. The women's race was won by the experienced international trail runner Cheryl Bihag. 

Rizal Mountain Run 50k will offer the standard points total of 500 for the race winners (100 finisher points, 400 performance points for the winners). Remember that in 2017, each runner's best five points results will count for the final classification at the end of the year, as opposed to the best three this year. 

Please see below more details on the Rizal Mountain Run, a video trailer as well as the link to the registration portal

ATM cover page on Rizal Mountain Run

http://www.asiatrailmaster.com/#/rizal/

Event website & registration

http://rizalmountainrun.com/

 

This year Kristian Joergensen defeated Koi Grey in a fantastic man-to-man dual

This year Kristian Joergensen defeated Koi Grey in a fantastic man-to-man dual

2017 - Rizal Mountain Run

After Thailand and Indonesia, the 2017 Asia Trail Master series will move to Luzon in the Philippines on 29 January. That's the day of the 2nd Rizal Mountain Run! The 50km race was a Candidate Race last February and received excellent feedback from runners. Pintong Bukawe in San Mateo, Rizal Province is not too far from Manila and RMR becomes the first points race in the country next year.

The race offers a mix of terrain, including hills like Mount Purro and Mount Parawagan, and you will be running along rivers like Wawa River. At times you will also need to cross rivers. Enough technical sections thus to please every genuine trail runner. Winners of the inaugural edition this year were Kristian Joergensen from Denmark in 6:14:47 for 50km, and Cheryl Bihag in 9:33:05. 

The event is organised by the Ahon team, all of whose members are highly experienced runners themselves.

Rizal Mountain Run 2017 will be open for registration soon. 

2017 Asia Trail Master series : Race Calendar

14/01/17 - Thailand - The Dirt Track

22/01/17 - Indonesia - Tahura Trail

29/01/17 - Philippines - Rizal Mountain Run

Kristian Joergenson won the RMR as our Candidate Race this year in February

Kristian Joergenson won the RMR as our Candidate Race this year in February

2017 Candidate Race: Rizal Mountain Run

The 1st Rizal Mountain Run took place in Pintong Bukawe on Luzon in the Philippines and saw many happy faces at the end of a 50km, 30km or 15km mountainous race. Organised by the people behind the specialised gaiter & socks brand Ahon, the longest distance even witness a tremendous battle for victory between Kristian Joergensen and Koy Grey. The event was held as a 2017 Asia Trail Master Candidate Race.

Joergensen, from Denmark but living in the Philippines, and Grey, fourth in last year's CM 50, set the pace and were well ahead of  Juan Sofia in third place. At the end of a tough but beautiful trail run, Joergensen edged out Grey by just over two minutes, showing how closely matched they were. The winner's time was 6:14:47. 

In the women's race, Cheryl Bihag finished ahead of Diorella Cerujano and Alexandria Ahongon in a time of 9:33:05. Mark Sison (men) and Pen Nepomuceno (women) were quickest in the 30km race. 

Afterwards, participants had many great things to say about the Rizal Mountain Run. Not only about the organisation, but also about the beautiful course in what is essentially a spoilt trail running area with already many events. Hailed a successful first edition therefore, the organisers are keen to build on the maiden experience. The 2017 edition is planned for late January or mid-February. Stay tuned for more infos! 

The men's 50k podium

The men's 50k podium