Posts tagged tamdao
Tam Dao Mountain Trail postponed to later date
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The organisers of the Tam Dao Mountain Trail in Vietnam, scheduled for 23/24 June, have regretfully informed us that their event has to be postponed for political reasons. A new event date is still being discussed, and is likely to be mid-October or mid-November. 

The 70K trail race nearby Hanoi was a successful newcomer on the ATM scene last year. Course modifications have been planned to reduce the road sections even more. Stay tuned for more details to come soon. 

Race report: Steven Ong takes option on championship

Steven Soonseng Ong and Kim Matthews are the celebrated winners of the Tam Dao Mountain Trail in Vietnam, one hour northwest of capital city Hanoi. Malaysian Ong already took his third Asia Trail Master race victory of the season and jumps ahead of Indonesia's Arief Wismoyono in the championship ranking. After last weekend, it has become obvious that anyone with ambition should get passed the sympathetic ULTRON runner from Malacca, yet there are still plenty of races on the programme this year, including three SuperTrails with bonus points, as well as a few 100 milers, also with bonus points. 

Tam Dao is the name of the old French mountaintop retreat, now popular with tourists and cyclists keen on a genuine long and hard climb. Trail runners probably have mixed feelings, as the climb - on tarmac - makes up the final 9 km of the races. Participants scored championship points on the 70 and 42 km distances. Finishers of the 70 also collected a point on their individual Grandmaster Quests. In general the course was a mixture of fast runable sections and technical single trail jungle sections. A number of hills tired the legs out, but as in an alpine stage in the Tour de France that ends on top of the mountain, nothing is decided until you cross that finish line. 

Unfortunately, for the local Vietnamese fans that is what hero Cao Ngoc Ha discovered as well. The always-smiling new face on the Asia Trail Master circuit this year was running as strong as ever and was leading the race solo at the halfway point. That was no mean feat, given the strong line up of this race. However, things did not go as smoothly for some of the other favourites and ATM Championship contenders. Singapore-based Spaniard Pablo Diago Gonzales set a solid pace in the early stages and was still running with the leaders at km 35, when he twisted his knee in a descent. In his post-race interview (see facebook), Diago Gonzales said he was feeling unwell after a long and tough working week, and twisting his knee broke his morale. A DNF and no points for the winner of Mt Apo Skyrace and Ijen Trailrunning 70 this time around. He will be back for minimum the three remaining SuperTrail races in Indonesia, Philippines and Japan later this season. 

Given his incredible pace during the first 100km of the Penang Eco last month, Hong Kong's Isaac Yuen Wan Ho was arguably the top favourite for Tam Dao. But things turned sour for him early on, as he chose a wrong trail and lost a lot of time in getting back on the right course. Halfway through the race he was nearly half an hour behind leader Cao Ngoc Ha and down in 9th place. Nevertheless, Yuen Wan Ho is not one to resign. In the second part of the race he chased down runner by runner, set the fastest time on the final mountain climb (allegedly, he ran all the way up!) and overtook a shocked Nguyen Duc Quang in the final 4 km to still grab the third spot on the podium! Yuen Wan Ho finished 41 minutes behind the race winner. What if? "No, " said the honest-or-modest Hong Kong runner, who also became a Grandmaster for finishing his sixth 70+ km race within two years. "Steven Ong was very strong in the second part of the race, I doubt I could have beaten him." 

Steven Ong is building a reputation for being a tactical mastermind, or is it just down to experience? At CP 7 after approx 55 km, the gap to leader Cao Ngoc Ha had increased to five minutes. But then things got more technical again, and as the trails started to go up he caught the Vietnamese star already before the last CP 9! On the final mountain climb, Ong continued his rush to the finish and the victory. The verdict: still 23 minutes advantage over Cao Ngoc Ha. Despite his second place, Cao Ngoc Ha was full of admiration for Steven Ong and had no problem admitting the strongest man had won. 

Ong only lost one ATM race this season: at the very runable Sungai Menyala Forest Trail in Malaysia last April, current ATM champion Manolito Divina proved too fast. For sure, these two will meet again at the end of the season, CM 50 or Izu Trail, with maybe even the championship on the line. Throw the dice on who will win then! 

Conditions at Tam Dao were very hot and humid, which made it extremely tough for a lot of runners. The women's champion Kim Matthews from Australia had to give everything on the final climb to reach the finish, despite being comfortably in front. Matthews, who won UTKC 70 in February but also struggled with the heat to lose Penang Eco 100 in the final 10k, fell down - with a smile, though - from exhaustion right after the finish line. She had suffered a minor heatstroke. It looked a bit worrying at first, but she turned out to be okay. With this second race victory of the season, plus the second place at the previously mentioned Malaysia SuperTrail, Kim Matthews has become a serious contender for the women's ATM Championship. Now 4th, but with one or two races less than the three women ahead of her, it is significant she has 20 points more than defending ATM champion Tahira Najmunisaa. Most definitely, the women's championship is anyone's guess at this moment! 

Second and third place in the women's 70km went to Vietnamese runners Nguen Thi Duong and fast starter Nguyen Chi. While in the shadow of Matthews, it should be noted that trail running is very new to Vietnam and both young women showed remarkable grit. More to come, for sure! 

The 42 km races were won by Singapore-based Britain Timothy Kelsall in the men's and

Up next week is the Altai Ultra Trail in Russia's Siberia, followed by a resting month, in which there are nevertheless two Indonesian Candidate Races in East Java (Mantra Summits Challenge) and Bali (BNI Plataran X Trail). Early August we have the trail classic Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset and the new classic Magnificent Merapoh Trail in Malaysia. 

Clash on the Tam Dao!

One month after the Jungle Marathon, Vietnam is again in the spotlight this weekend as the Tam Dao Mountain Trail is on the Asia Trail Master Championship programme. Hosted by the Belvedere Resort 1,5 hours northwest of capital city Hanoi, the 70 km race is highly anticipated and has the potential to grow into a classic. The race course is very interesting and quite unique, with the big climb of Tam Dao coming at the very end of what is otherwise  a runable course. The 70k starting field sees several big names, and two runners can even become the new leader in the male Asia Trail Master Championship ranking. Four runners of the current male top 10 will be competing this Saturday! 

Vietnam is increasingly establishing itself in the Asian trail scene, and this second of three points races in the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship can also count on the participation of the first local star Cao Ngoc Ha. Third in UTKC (Thailand SuperTrail) and winner of the Vietnam Jungle Marathon, Cao Ngoc Ha can make a statement this weekend. One of his main competitors will be Malaysia's Steven Ong, who finished ahead of him at UTKC, but being a real endurance athlete may find 70 km a little too short. In any case, Ong will not be able to afford himself an easy start this time around. It's a big occasion for the ULTRON athlete, as he can take over the lead in the ATM championship from Arief Wismoyono. Tam Dao will also be his 4th ATM race of the season already. But were Ong to have an off-day, Spain's Pablo Diago Gonzales can take over also! Residing in Singapore, Pablo Diago is on a winning streak with victories at Mt Apo in the Philippines and at the Ijen volcano in Indonesia in the past two months. Can he add Tam Dao to that list? Note that both those races were also.... 70 km. 

And in the end there is also Hong Kong's Isaac Yuen Wan Ho, who showed at Penang Eco six weeks ago he is absolutely flying at the moment. Although also a typical 100 miles runner, Yuen Wan Ho has the speed to put all the others on the backfoot from the get-go. All things considered, he may have the key to victory this weekend and propel himself into a  championship-winning position later this year. For him, it will be the third race of the season. One peculiar characteristic of Yuen Wan Ho, though, is that he has a subscription on second places. 

In the women's the outspoken race favourite appears to be Australia's Kim Matthews. The rather unfortunate runner-up at Penang Eco 100k (Matthews led the whole race until she fell asleep at the final checkpoint and then saw China's Dong Minfei pass by to grab the win), has recently moved to south Vietnam and is another fast-paced runner who can be expected to open up a gap in the early stages and hang on during the Tam Dao climb. Matthews, after all, won UTKC 70 k last February. In her third race of the ATM season, she can hop over Tahira Najmunisaa to fourth place in the championship. The same applies to Siawhua Lim from Malaysia, albeit in her 4th race already. 

As usual we may encounter a few new names as well this weekend. After all, this is trail running and even in a new trail country. 

We will be reporting live from the event - signal permitting - via our social media channels.

Steven Ong: new potential ATM leader

Steven Ong: new potential ATM leader

Isaac Yuen Wan Ho: the man to beat? 

Isaac Yuen Wan Ho: the man to beat? 

Kim Matthews is one of the favourites in the women's race

Kim Matthews is one of the favourites in the women's race

Welcome to Tam Dao Mountain Trail !

We are delighted to announce the entry of the Tam Dao Mountain Trail in the 2017 Asia Trail Master Championship. It is the second event in Vietnam in our series and takes place on 24 and 25 June with start and finish at the Belvedere Resort in Tam Dao town, approximately 70 km from capital city Hanoi. The event is organised by the local running community BPM and features races for all levels of trail runners. The two longest races are 70 km and 42 km, on which all finishers will score points for the Asia Trail Master championship ranking. In addition, 70 km is of course also a Grandmaster Quest distance. 

The 70 km race features a great mix of technical trail and runnable terrain. Total elevation gain will be just above 2000 hm. The finale is exciting: the last 10k are virtually all the way up, which means potential race winners will need to time their final effort well! 

Tam Dao mountain town for long has been named the green oasis of the northern Vietnam. With the altitude of 900m, it is a popular tourist site with three summits poking out from the ocean of cloud above – Thach Ban, Thien Thi, Phu Nghia. Tam Dao mountain range also holds many famous cultural and historical sites like Tay Thien pagoda and Tay Thien temple (also known as Den Mau) worshiping Quoc Mau Tay Thien (the Queen) Lang Thi Tieu, Dia Nguc pagoda, television cable tower, stone church, and ancient villas built during the French colony of 1900s. Tam Dao national park of 36.883 ha land is wrapped around by these Tam Dao mountain range with a diverse biological ecosystem varying by the altitude. Many pinophyta species of the temperate forest also reside here in Tam Dao. 

Running among the cool shadow of old forest in Tam Dao national park, crossing the trails, or wading through clear creeks, and climbing the highest summits with amazing view, breathing in the crisp air – you can enjoy all that feeling of freedom and wildness nature brings. Tamdao Mountain Trail 2017 is honored to put aside a small part from registration fee to support Yen Duong commune, Tam Dao district – the poorest commune in Vinh Phuc province, in hope to help those families in need. 

To participate in the Tam dao Mountain Trail race, it only takes approximately 2 hours to drive from Hanoi.  More information on logistics can be found on the event website and on our cover page.