Posts tagged thailand
UTCM: Christine Loh wins, but Fredelyn Alberto takes points lead
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Japan’s Yuta Matsuyama Matsuyama has won the inaugural edition of Ultra Trail Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. He reached the finish line after a very wet race with a few section shortcuts due to flooding between CP6 and CP9 ahead of Sabah’s Milton Amat, for whom the course was probably a tick too runable, despite the foul conditions. Matsuyama this season already scored a 7th place in Echigo Country Trail in Niigata last June. Japanese runners are doing very well in Asia Trail Master races this season, and we are looking forward to seeing more from Matsuyama as well! For Sabahan Milton Amat, that’s another 450 points for his championship ambitions, but he will be looking to win his next few races to stay within range of Kitamura and Ellis. His Uglow teammate Wilsen Singgin started the rain race very well, but then missed a marking and lost terrain to the front runners.

Sukrit Kaewyoun ran a superb race and stayed ahead of his teammate and race favourite Job Tanapong. Sukrit Kaewyoun is third in the finish and boosts his ATM Championship total points tally. Job Tanapong had to be content with a fourth place today and probably had hoped for more. Much to his credit, he was not looking for excuses and just stated “it was not my day today, I will be back stronger”. His Thai compatriot Yotchai Chaipromma came in closely behind him in fifth. 

As stated above, just like last week in Merapoh in Malaysia, pouring rain caused havoc on the trails around Chiang Mai. Just like then, the organiser in Thailand did very well in quickly setting up a re-route halfway through the 100k race when running conditions became too risky. However, yesterday in Chiang Mai a lot more runners had already passed CP 6, where the shortcut got implemented, and including the first six women of the race...

It is unfortunate that no immediate action was undertaken to correct or at least clearly establish the ranking order of the women’s race at that point in time. This caused a lot of unnecessary confusion and even anger at the finish.

What we know from the checkpoint e-data is that six women passed CP 6 and all six also arrived in the finish in Chiang Mai later on. Christine Loh was first and logically therefore the real winner of the women’s race. Early leader Fredelyn Alberto was second and acknowledged that Christine passed her in the late stage of the race. Alberto, who has previously said to run ‘only’ the 62 km race category, is the new Asia Trail Master Championship leader as a result of this second place in her fifth points result of the season. She takes over from Asuka Nakajima, who has four results so far. Hong Kong-based French woman Habiba Benahmed completed the podium ahead of Siokhar Lim and Natthanan Matthanang. Jassica Lintanga was running third halfway through the race, but eventually came into the finish as number six.

A group with lots of Thai runners actually were the first women to reach the finish, among whom Montha Suntornwit. But these all ran the shorter course after the re-route.

Let’s emphasise that no woman made any error or mistake. It is just an unfortunate circumstance.

The same applies for some men such as Nikom Tongjai. A very solid runner himself, he ran the original non-shortcut course but for some reason finds himself down in 26th place in the race result. Guillaume Degoulet is another one suffering the same fait. Please note that while the top six for women was quite easily for us to assess, ATM is not responsible for the race result. Runners who feel they deserve or should have a better race result should get in touch with the local organiser. We thank you for your understanding.

Yuta Matsuyama is yet another Japanese runner scoring headlines in ATM this season

Yuta Matsuyama is yet another Japanese runner scoring headlines in ATM this season

Sukrit Kaewyoun felt like a fish in the water in Chiang Mai; third place and ahead of Job Tanapong!

Sukrit Kaewyoun felt like a fish in the water in Chiang Mai; third place and ahead of Job Tanapong!

Local hero Cartoon Wipawee is struggling with an injury, yet comfortably won the 62k category

Local hero Cartoon Wipawee is struggling with an injury, yet comfortably won the 62k category

UT Chiang Mai: Amat & Singgin vs Tanapong, part 2
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Ultra Trail Chiang Mai is the second of the 4 Trails Thailand this year and promises a continuation of the battle between the Thai Siangpure Team and Team Uglow Malaysia from Sabah. Over two months ago, Milton Amat and Wilsen Singgin controlled The Moon 100 seemingly easily, until the lights went out for SInggin with less than 3km to go before the finish on the beach of Koh Phangan. Milton showed his sportsmanship in that race to protect and take care of his struggling buddy, but had to accept that Job Tanapong still managed to catch and pass them to take the win. In the context of the Asia Trail Master Championship, we will still need to see how that may or may not affect the eventual outcome in December, yet there is no doubt that Milton Amat did the right thing that day. In any case, Amat already rebounded by dominating Mantra Summits Challenge 116 in Indonesia last month. Moreover, Milton Amat has never looked stronger than this year and some already call him the ‘real’ ATM Championship favourite. He still has some catching up to do on points compared to Hisashi Kitamura or John Ellis, but remember in the end only the best five results count anyway. For the young and upcoming talent Job Tanapong the unexpected victory at Moon 100 seemed to have also provided a boost of confidence. Whereas he was happy to stick with his Siangpure teammates for almost 80km during Moon, Tanapong did not wait for anybody during the Ijen 100 race four weeks ago. It was an impressive and interesting win because Moon 100 and Ijen 100 are completely different kinds of trail races: the former is extremely technical, the other almost entirely runable. This weekend, Sukrit Kaewyoun is also at the start in Chiang Mai. Best-placed Thai in the ATM Championship so far -4th- he will for sure his experience to try and score another podium. More contenders for that are Wasin Monghkolmalee, Mads Louring, and Guillaume Degoulet. There’s also several Japanese runners as yet unfamiliar to ATM - so let’s wait and see!

Wipawee ‘Cartoon’ is the woman to beat this weekend. Also for her it’s a real home race and unless there is someone we don’t know it is hard to see who can keep her away from victory. But of course, to finish first you first need to finish and that is something she failed to do in Moon 100, despite being in the lead after 80 km. Fredelyn Alberto went home with the honours that day and the Filipino is also competing in Chiang Mai, albeit on the 60 km distance. Remember Alberto suffered an ankle injury at Ijen 100 a month ago and she does not want to jeopardise the rest of her season. Uglow’s Jassica Lintanga is a podium candidate wherever she starts, but the Sabahan has always been more competitive on the medium than on the long distances. Montha Suntornwit is exactly the opposite: it cannot be long enough for her - winner of UTCR 230 last year and already two third places in ATM races this season. Two more Malaysians certainly also will be in the mix for the podium: Christine Loh, who should find Chiang Mai better suited to her running characteristics than Koh Phangan, and Siokhar ‘Steel’ Lim - currently fifth in the ATM Championship. Last but not least, we shoudld certainly mention Habiba Benahmed. Originally from France and now residing in Hong Kong, Benahmed has been getting back to her best form throughout the past months and it will be interesting to see what she can do in Chiang Mai. Another Hong Kong ace, Jcy Ho, will stick to the 60km as well this weekend.

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Cartoon Wipawee won the 70km at Ijen Trail last month

Cartoon Wipawee won the 70km at Ijen Trail last month

Team Uglow Malaysia with Milton, Jess and Wilsen

Team Uglow Malaysia with Milton, Jess and Wilsen

Jcy Ho from Hong Kong will be one of the favourites on the 62km this weekend

Jcy Ho from Hong Kong will be one of the favourites on the 62km this weekend




MOON 100: Dramas unfold on Koh Phangan!
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The first edition of The Moon 100 on Koh Phangan, the small island close to Koh Samui that is famous for its full moon beach parties, will be remembered for a long time. This was a very tough course! Of the approx 240 starters on the longest distance of 103km and 5200 hm, 94 made it to the line within the cut-off time of 36 hours. The winner’s time was 18 hours and 31 minutes, and the guys at the top of the board are no snails. Combined with the heat of day, the Koh Phangan hilly jungle trails proved to be even more technical than those on Koh Chang (UTKC). Plenty of protagonists called it a day at some point, and both the men’s and women’s race had some dramatic turnabouts towards the very end.

Finally, we saw an almost miraculous comeback from Chiang Mai’s Job Tanapong on the beaches of Koh Phangan, after a gruelling day of trail running. The coming-man from Chiang Mai was still over 50 minutes behind the Sabahan duo of Milton Amat and Wilsen Singgin at km 70. But the youngster had juice left in the tank, dropped his Thai running mates (they were in a group of five, six most of the day) and began to chase the Malaysians. Milton Amat had looked like the strongest runner of all, but he decided to wait and run together with his teammate Wilsen Singgin. That proved to be a good tactic as together they developed a big gap on the rest, even when Thailand’s Supachuk Papetthong kept on lurking in the shadows. However, what nobody realised at the time - not even at the last checkpoint with 10 flat km left to the finish - was that Wilsen Singgin got increasingly dehydrated. This slowed the duo down so much that all of a sudden Job Tanapong and Supachok Pappethong were back within under 10 minutes of the leaders.

What happened then was sheer drama. With just 1,5 km left to go on the beach to the finish, Job Tanapong caught the leaders and Wilsen Singgin sank down to the ground. Heatstroke, dehydrated, hyponatremia. Milton Amat stopped himself to assist his suffering friend while asking for medical assistance. By the time the medical staff arrived at the spot, Supachok was there as well and Milton went with him together to the finish line. Wilsen never made it. His race ended at km 101,5. He was hospitalised and following a spell of heavy hallucinations was transfered even to a bigger hospital in Koh Samui, where he stayed the night. The runner from Sabah recovered to his full senses later at night but remained under observation on Sunday. If anyone still thought a heatstroke is nothing serious, think again.

Milton Amat showed genuine friendship and sportsmanship after the race by publicly congratulating Job Tanapong on his race victory without “ifs” or “buts”. Amat is gunning for the ATM Championship this year, and second place means he lost 50 points compared to if he had won. The price for fair-play can not escape him anymore. Video interviews with Job Tanapong and Milton Amat are available on our ATM facebook page.

Thailand’s other emerging trail star Sukrit Kaewyoun was fourth more than an hour later, and moves up to 3rd place in the Asia Trail Master Championship points standings. Thongsai Wongsaard and Suvatana were five and six. 

Also the women’s race had its fair share of drama today. Sri Wahyuni decided to DNF after she and her six male companions at the time unwillingly missed a hillclimb between checkpoints 2 and 3. As nobody else made that mistake, race direction had no other choice but to tell them to return to the section. The Indonesian from Surabaya, third in last year’s ATM Championship, was running very strongly - as even indicated by Fredelyn Alberto. Had she done what was asked, she could have still ended up on the podium. Meanwhile, the inspiring Phitchanan Mahachot lost her way during the night, too, and never came back to the front. Then, mid-race leader Wipawee Cartoon also turned into a shocking DNF at CP 8 with major stomach issues. Hong Kong based Filipino Fredelyn Alberto had already caught Cartoon very quickly all of a sudden and looked set for her first ATM race victory. Alberto managed it in style, and in so doing also climbs to 2nd place in the Asia Trail Master Championship points ranking. Video of her race finish is below this post.

Been Lee from South Korea had a great late pace and scored a second place she probably had not expected herself when she started and said smilingly “there’s too many women in this race” . The podium was completed by Thailand’s experienced ultra favourite Montha Suntornwit . Malaysian Siokhar Lim arrived in fourth place, only four minutes behind Suntornwit. Both the Thai and the Malaysian proved once again that nothing seems to hurt them in trail. Jassica Lintanga dropped to sixth place but finished, after she had looked like a potential winner at halfway distance. This Moon 100 shocked many runners, indeed.

Job Tanapong: new trail star from Chiang Mai

Job Tanapong: new trail star from Chiang Mai

Milton, Jess and Wilsen: the three Sabahans from Team Uglow Malaysia were omnipresent last weekend

Milton, Jess and Wilsen: the three Sabahans from Team Uglow Malaysia were omnipresent last weekend

The two big winners of the weekend: Job Tanapong and Fredelyn Alberto

The two big winners of the weekend: Job Tanapong and Fredelyn Alberto

Sri Wahyuni had a great pace, but a judgemental error cost her a place on the podium

Sri Wahyuni had a great pace, but a judgemental error cost her a place on the podium

One could not drink enough during the very hot race, but salt tables were just as necessary!

One could not drink enough during the very hot race, but salt tables were just as necessary!


Moon 100: Thai runners start the chase
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The 2019 Asia Trail Master Championship series has been underway for almost half a year now, but this weekend is only the first of four points races in Thailand. A big country with a massive running population of which several elites will be opening their ATM accounts at Moon 100 on Koh Phangan island. The new event, organised by the reputed teelakow team of UT Koh Chang and UT Chiang Rai, features a 100k and 60k as main races on the southern island famous for its monthly full moon beach parties…. hence The Moon 100. As it happens, the moon will only be full on Monday night and not on race weekend, but there’ll be plenty of stars shining nevertheless, in all meanings of the word.

One Thai trail runner has been very active already this season as well. Sukrit Kaewyoun has already done three races abroad with fine results. Sukrit, as he is commonly referred to, can leap to third place in the Asia Trail Master Championship ranking this weekend. He is for sure a podium candidate for the 103 km long race that goes almost entirely around Koh Phangan island. If Sukrit wants to win, he will need to get passed a long list of fellow-contenders. Let’s begin with Sabahan Milton Amat. The young Malaysian was. surprise force last year in the championship, which ended a bit on a sour note as severe viral illness prevented him from challenging Sherpa, Rambla, Mizukoshi and co for the championship in December. However, Milton has already bounced back this season with another 4th place in the 9 Dragons 50/50. Now under Team Uglow Malaysia, Amat is a technical ultra runner who is definitely going to be prominent again in the championship later this season. The same applies for Thai runner Job Tanapong and Brunei-based Canadian Michael McLean. Also from Sabah, Malaysia, comes Wilsen Singgin - 3rd in the classic Borneo TMBT Ultra last year. And from Philippines, Jared Teves is never to be underestimated.

The women’s Moon 100k race is likewise quite open with many very good runners who match each other in terms of overall performance level. A lot will depend on the shape of the day. Hong Kong-based Filipino Fredelyn Alberto continues her busy ATM schedule just three weeks after scoring third in the Vietnam Jungle Marathon 70. How well has she recovered from that very hot race? If the always smiling Alberto delivers another strong result, the T8 ambassador will be moving up to second place in the ATM Championship ranking behind Veronika Vadovicova. Her main competitors this weekend are likely to be coming from the home nation Thailand, but possibly even more so from Malaysia. Uglow runner Jassica Lintanga, 4th in last year’s ATM Championship, will be competing in her first points race of 2019. Athough the Sabahan Grandmaster is known to be faster on the 50 to 70km distance range, she has proved many times 100k is not a big issue for her neither when in form. Usually, “pocket rocket” Christine Loh moves up the leaderboard the longer a race lasts. Loh has started the ATM season very well with podium performances in two SuperTrails: the 9 Dragons 50/50 and the Dalat Ultra Trail. Loh has reportedly set her eyes on winning the 4 Trails Thailand series (Moon 100, Ultra Trail Chiang Mai, Ultra Trail Chiang Rai and Ultra Trail Panoramic —> all points races in ATM as well). The Malaysian who now lives in Singapore will therefore one to watch very closely. Also from Malaysia and never to be underestimated is V Trail Laos winner Siokhar Lim. 

From Surabaya in Indonesia comes Sri Wahyuni. Number 3 in last year’s Asia Trail Master Championship and a Grandmaster as well, Wahyuni has become more selective in her races this season and that should boost her speed even more. Wahyuni is a typical female Indonesian trail runner, renowned for their toughness over the ultra distance. But Sri Wahyuni also has a fast pace, which she showed again in Tahura Trail 42 at the start of the ATM season, where she finished second behind Asuka Nakajima. With fellow Indonesian runners Ruth Theresia and Shindy Patricia currently pursuing other goals, Sri Wahyuni is currently a bit carrying the flag. It will be interesting to see what she can do in her first race in Thailand. 

The home runners will obviously aim not to disappoint on Koh Phangan. Montha Suntornwit has become known in ATM over the years, and not in the least by winning the Ultimate 230 of UTCR last October. Her compatriot Wipawee “Cartoon” Pratumsuwan delivered an outstanding second place in Ultimate Tsaigu 80 last April, behind the almighty Vadovicova but ahead of Paulina Svoboda and some top Chinese runners. Coming from Chiang Mai, Cartoon is very determined to imrpove as a runner and will be close to victory this weekend. Another Thai runner will be as well: Phitchanan Mahachot. Impressive winner of UTN 100 in 2017, Mahachot has not run in ATM points races since and as such has been flying a bit under the radar, but if she can copy that performance of Nan here in Koh Phangan she could arguably be the best bet for victory. 

Moon 100 is of course the A-race for the Championship, but runners will also score points on the 62km B-race according to our usual points distribution table. 

Asia Trail Master will be reporting live from Moon 100 on Koh Phangan all weekend via our usual social media channels, facebook and instagram. Stay tuned for updates on the 103km and 62km races. 

Wipawee Cartoon is one of the local women to watch this weekend in Moon 100

Wipawee Cartoon is one of the local women to watch this weekend in Moon 100

Michael McLean: dangerman on the 100km

Michael McLean: dangerman on the 100km

Sukrit Kaewyoun: 7th in the current ATM standings after 3 races abroad: what can he do at home?

Sukrit Kaewyoun: 7th in the current ATM standings after 3 races abroad: what can he do at home?

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Thailand: 4 pay 3 special promotion
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A great deal awaits trail runners who wish to compete in the Thailand events organised by teelakow of the 2019 Asia Trail Master Championship series. Get four entries when paying for three! This is a limited offer valid for just two weeks online and at the official press conference in Bangkok on 19 January.

Four Trails Thailand connects four ultra trail races together: The Moon 100 on Kho Phangan (June), Ultra Trail Chiang Mai (August), Ultra Trail Chiang Rai (October) and Ultra Trail Panoramic (December). The latter two are established events already, of which Chiang Rai also receives the Asia Trail Master SuperTrail label for Thailand. All four events have points races for the ATM Championship.

Check the poster and plan your Thai races!

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Great runs in Thailand's blockbuster weekend!
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Two amazing events on the same weekend is always a tough choice for runners and event contributors, but in Thailand it is a particularly hard nut to crack. Both Singha Ultra Trail Chiang Rai and Compressport Ultra Train Nan rank among the very best events in the Asia Trail Master Championship and together bring more than 3000 runners to the trails of northern Thailand. A sign of the great possibilities for the development of the trail scene in the country. All the known Thai protagonists took part in one of the two events. Sanya Khancai won the 122km race in Chiang Rai, Pharait Varesin was unchallenged in winning the 109 km in Nan and Jay Jantaraboon opted for a solid 38k training run in Chiang Rai as preparation for a main goal of his coming next month.

In Nan, a lot of attention went to the ladies’ race featuring Ruth Theresia from Indonesia, who could beat the all-time ATM victories record set by Tahira Najmunisaa. But Theresia will need to wait a bit longer for her 11th race win. As it happens, Ruth is a woman and Nan’s race day was on that one day a month. The Bandung Explorer runner who is about to be crowned ATM champion when it is a mathematical certainty end of November, still tried to compete with Thailand’s emerging Waroonluk Chuenjit at first. As she struggled with pains more and more, she let go and just focused on finishing the 109k distance - another Grandmaster point for her. And guess what: it’s her 15th Grandmaster point - more than anyone else in the ATM circuit - and that’s another level completed. Ruth Theresia is any case the first three-star Asia Trail Grandmaster!

One of Ruth’s contenders for the ATM Championship, Carole Fuchs, virtually admitted it will be very hard to still catch her on points this season. Fuchs has recently moved to Tokyo, which has had a serious impact on her training and as such she opted for the 50k in Nan. She won comfortably, but the 50k offers no championship points.

The men’s race in Nan was won by Pharait Varesin, after his DNF last year when Sanya Khancai proved to be a little too fast. As the latter ran Chiang Rai this season, Varesin had no match on the tough 109k race. It was his first ever ATM race win as a matter of fact. His winning time was:13:48:56. The podium was competed by his Thai compatriots Perawat Silapaariya and Karan Popaichayon. After Theresia let go, Thailand’s Waroonluk Chuenjit stormed to a by all means impressive victory in the women’s in 19:46:16. That was two hours faster than Duangruethai Pakdeevanissukho in second and Sukanya Tongma.

Over in Chiang Rai, Sanya Khancai actually returned to the ATM scene after a long period of forced inactivity due to managerial issues. However, he certainly had not lost his speed in the process as he put the hammer down from the flag-off. Spain’s Salva Rambla, coming off three podium finishes including a race win at Ijen 70k, was immediately put on the back foot in a race that suits his characteristics. The pace was fast initially and no fewer than 9 runners were staying close to each other for about 30 to 40k until gaps began to widen. Khancai wasn’t waiting for anyone and Rambla began to suffer from the heat on what was indeed turning out to be a smoking hot day in Chiang Rai’s huge nature park. Meanwhile, Singapore-based Britain Gordon Parkinson was keeping a consistent pace and gradually moved up the leaderboard as others, such as South Korea’s Sungsik Joh, were fading away. Also the 100k winner at Ijen last month struggled with the extreme temperatures. Late in the afternoon, Salva Rambla even decided to retire. He had just been passed by Parkinson and suffering not only from heat but also from a nasty blister. With Rambla out, Khancai had an hour advantage over Parkinson with 27k to go to the finish. The British runner, in his second Asian outing, did remarkably well to maintain more or less the same pace as the Thai leader. But coming closer seemed impossible. Khancai grabbed his third career ATM victory ahead of Parkinson and the Thai duo of Narin Kongsiri and Thongcai Wonsgaard. The women’s 122k race was won by Hong Kong’s Cheng Yinkwan, ahead of Singapore’s Janelle Seet and Thailand’s Pakanee Burutphakdee. The DNF rate on the 122km was very high with just 17 official finishers out of 110 starters. It is testimony to the underestimated nature of the course, which has 5500m of elevation gain. Not nothing, but not out-of-the-ordinary for Asian standards neither.

It was in any case interesting given that there was also an extreme trail race on the UTCR programme with a higher finisher rate percentage-wise. The Ultimate 230 km made a huge loop around the Singha Nature Park with a large section along the Myanmar border in the north of it. A unique challenge that was taken up by 40 registered runners, of whom 34 effectively started. It was perhaps no coincidence that two 2-star Grandmasters were among them: Aleksis Capili and Lily Suryani. Capili hadn’t been seen on the ATM tour since last year’s UT Panoramic (which won’t take place in 2018 but returns re-designed in 2019) as the Thailand-based Filipino shifted his focus to better and targeted training rather than more racing. Capili’s race positions have indeed been improving since he adopted this approach, and in Chiang Rai he was taking the bull by the horns in the early part of the double ultra race. Capili was joined at the front by his compatriot Jag Lanante, Brunei-based Canadian Michael McLean and a local black dog, who accompanied the front runners for 86 kilometres! The dog became a star during the event, as the day after he also ran the 38 km race (as Jag Lanante would do as well…).At around km 55, Capili began to feel pain in his knee, and had to slow down the pace. McLean also had his issues. Severe stomach and belly cramps forced him to even retire in the evening of the first day. All that meant Jag Lanante was able to take over and control the race from then on. Also from Philippines originally, Lanante is known as an ultra runner for whom no distance is too long. He actually kept on moving all the way and finished back in Singha Park in just over 37 hours! Capili walked and struggled his way to the finish twelve hours later. In third and fourth were Thailand’s Supeeraphan Sreeduangjan and Korea’s Kwanghoo Lee.

Two fantastic events.

The big question trail runners have: will they again be on the same weekend in 2019?

Jag Lanante measured his effort perfectly. The Ultimate 230K is of course something made for him

Jag Lanante measured his effort perfectly. The Ultimate 230K is of course something made for him

2-star Grandmaster Lily Suryani completed the Ultimate 230k, but unfortunately outside the COT.

2-star Grandmaster Lily Suryani completed the Ultimate 230k, but unfortunately outside the COT.

Ruth Theresia is a woman and UT Nan was on that one day of the month.. Still, she completed the course and became the first 3-star Grandmaster!

Ruth Theresia is a woman and UT Nan was on that one day of the month.. Still, she completed the course and became the first 3-star Grandmaster!

New name from Thailand to watch out for: Waroonluk Chuenjit!

New name from Thailand to watch out for: Waroonluk Chuenjit!

Jag Lanante was unstoppable on the 230km and even did the 38K the day after as well

Jag Lanante was unstoppable on the 230km and even did the 38K the day after as well

Ruth to surpass Tahira in Nan?
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Bandung’s Ruth Theresia just keeps on running these weeks. In Nan, Thailand, she will start her fourth ATM ultra in five weeks tomorrow and it is again a special one. The likely new female Asia Trail Master Champion can surpass Malaysia’s trail icon Tahira Najmunisaa in total career ATM race victories! Winning in Nan would be Ruth Theresia’s 11th and would be the cherry on the pie of what has been a fantastic and mature season of the Indonesian number one.

“Normally, Nan will be my last big race of the season, though,” she says a day before the start. Understandably so, as her biggest rival for the Championship, Frenchwoman Carole Fuchs, has opted to downgrade to 50km in Nan citing lack of training following her recent move from Thailand to Japan. Fuchs needs at least three more race victories, including the Izu Trail Journey as Japan SuperTrail with its 50 bonus points, to still have a shot at Ruth Theresia’s points lead in the ranking. “Only if necessary, I will do HK 168 early December,” Ruth adds. Mathematically speaking, she will be guaranteed of having won the ATM championship at the end of November following the Trail Blazer race in Singapore and the CM 50 Ultra in Philippines. Other runners who could in theory still spit in her soup are Corinne Williams (winner 9 Dragons Ultra Hong Kong and Borneo TMBT Ultra) and Evelyn Lek (winner Magnificent Merapoh Trail Malaysia and Vietnam Mountain Marathon). Ruth does not need to win in Nan, as it would not increase her total points tally under the five-best-count system.

There are many local runners, currently little known, who may or may not make life difficult for Ruth in trying to win her 11th ATM race. Let’s find out how it all unfolds as of tomorrow. A video interview with Ruth Theresia will also be uploaded on our facebook page later today.

In the men’s 100km, which is actually 107km, Thailand arguably has the fastest runner on the start list with Pharait Varesin. However, as always to finish first you first need to finish. Varesin ran Nan last season as well, but retired half way leaving Sanya Khancai to run solo to the victory. Among all known people on the start list, Varesin is the top favourite, perhaps with France’s Emmanuel Abadie close behind. Abadie has scored good results in Malaysia and Thailand before. To note is also the 7th ATM race of the season of Malaysia’s Grandmaster Muhammad Shahrin Faiz Bin Roslan. The busy runner has made it into the top 10 of the ATM championship as 9th thanks to his string of finishes in tough races including two SuperTrails.

Stay tuned all weekend for updates from Ultra Trail Nan in Thailand via our social media pages.

Ruth Theresia can score her 11th ATM race victory in Nan, Thailand, this weekend

Ruth Theresia can score her 11th ATM race victory in Nan, Thailand, this weekend

Beautiful scenery all along the 107 km long course of UTN 100

Beautiful scenery all along the 107 km long course of UTN 100

Ultra Trail Chiang Rai opens with 230 km double ultra!
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The 2nd edition of Ultra Trail Chiang Rai in Thailand already begins on Friday early morning. Reason is a novelty, and also a one-off, according to race organisers Teelakow. The Ultimate 230 km features a giant loop around the big Singha Nature Reserve in the north of the country. Perhaps surprisingly enough, 40 runners of whom more than 1/3 foreigners feel attracted to this double ultra. Several are well-known in Asia Trail Master circles, such as 2-star Grandmasters Aleksis Capili and Lily Suryani, who both live up to their reputations as being the champions of ultra trail finishes. Both the Filipino and the Indonesian also have a realistic chance to score a podium result in the race. Capili has reduced his racing regime significantly this season, but after his European excursion has prepared himself for this colossal 230 km undertaking in the dry heat of Chiang Rai. Suryani returned from injury over summer to score a third place on the Ijen 100k a month ago.

Aleksis Capili will face another strong Filipino runner, Jag Lanante, who is no stranger to these distances. Among the known other starters we find Canada’s in-form Michael McLean, who scored great results at Borneo TMBT and Bandung Ultra 100 recently, as well as Robert Butcher from Great Britain, who was 2nd on the 122 km race distance of UT Chiang Rai last year. Malaysia’s Lau Say Niong is here, as well as many runners we still need to get to know, among which six Japanese. At present, it is still unclear if ATM Champion Steven Ong will run this weekend or not. He is on the start list, but indicated in Bali two weeks ago it is time for his injuries to heal first. Rumours have it that Steven is nevertheless on his way to Thailand.

As the Ultimate 230 km is of course an odd-one out, the 122 km race of this event has also been labelled an A-race for the Asia Trail Master Championship. Concretely, this means both the 230 km and 122 km score 500 points. The 230 km victor gets 50 bonus points, however, as 230 is more than 100 miles (the so-called 100 miles bonus for all finishers).

Therefore, the 122 km also has a competitive field even when current ATM Championship leader Alessandro Sherpa has pulled out. The Italian also has to allow his body, particularly his ankle, to rest for a while before resuming the ATM championship chase at the V Trail in Laos in two weeks. Sherpa leads the championship, but several others are still well within striking range. The men’s championship is more open than ever, and even Spain’s Salva Rambla can still join the title debate. A newcomer on the scene since a month, Salva finished on the podium of each of his three Indonesian races. Now running the 122k in Chiang Rai, the Catalan is certainly a man to watch. His main rival for the win is likely to be Thai: Sanya Khancai returns to the ATM scene eight months after his fantastic dual and second place in UTKC. Khancai has had to cope with management issues in the past months, and is keen to put all that behind him in Chiang Rai. His main challenger in Thailand, and winner of UTCR last year, Jay Jantaraboon will be running a shorter distance this season.

Another remarkable name on the start list since his victory at Ijen 100 is South Korea’s Sungsik Joh. For many it was an upset victory, but look at the course characteristics and his previous good result in Sungai Menyala, and one realised that Sungsik Joh had been flying under the radar for many months. In Chiang Rai, he also finds a course that should be to his advantage. Based on Ijen, the sympathetic South Korean could run to the podium this weekend as well.

It will be interesting to see if there’s any Thai runners making the jump to the top of the leaderboard this weekend, besides Sanya Khancai.

We will be reporting live from Chiang Rai throughout the weekend.

The race preview of the second Thai race this weekend, Ultra Train Nan, follows tomorrow.

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Ultra Trail Panoramic postponed to 2019
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A rather unfortunate service message: this year's ULTRON Ultra Trail Panoramic in Thailand cannot take place on the envisaged date of 7-9 December. The event, which was also being entirely redesigned and centred around Pai only, will return in 2019 on the same second weekend of December. Recent elections in the area have reportedly caused a change in governance and in this context it has proven to be too difficult to guarantee a quality event for the many runners who come to this one. 

Organiser Teelakow apologises for any inconvenience this cancellation may cause, and emphasizes Ultra Trail Panoramic is not dead and will return next year. 

In the context of Asia Trail Master, it means the final race weekend is now entirely focused on Izu Trail Journey in Japan, where the new champions will be crowned. For the lovers of 100 miles races, it means that HK 168 in Hong Kong on 1/2 December is now the final ultra trail on our calendar this season. Registrations for that event are open.

100 miles finishers score 50 bonus points for the championship, which puts winning HK 168 on the same level as winning the Japanese SuperTrail, Izu Trail Journey, on 9 December. 

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New points regulations for ATM Championship final weekend
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The final weekend of the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship will again consist of two events where the final points for this season can be gathered: Ultra Trail Panoramic in Pai, Thailand on 7/8 December, followed by Izu Trail Journey on the Izu Peninsula in Japan on Sunday, 9 December. Upon conclusion of these two events, we know who succeed Steven Ong and Kim Matthews as the male and female champion in the Asia Trail Master Championship. 

Different from last year, we are introducing an added rule to the points distribution at these two events to allow for a fair conclusion to the championship and to offer runners a fair choice between the two events. The new rule is:

“Only runners who have scored points in minimum two ATM races during the 2018 season will receive ATM Championship points for their respective result in UT Panoramic 100 miles or 100k,  or Izu Trail Journey 72k.” 

In other words, the total race results of both Thai and Japanese events will be filtered, and only runners for whom UT Panoramic or Izu Trail Journey is the third ATM points race of the season will be retained and given championship points. 

Practical example: runner A finishes 9th in Izu Trail Journey. However, the runners in 2nd and 4th place have not done any other race in ATM this year, and the runner in 5th place has only done one before Izu Trail Journey. They are taken out of the list, and runner A gets points equivalent to 5th place. 

By introducing this added rule, runners in contention for the  ATM championship title can freely choose their final race without worrying about the competitive level of the potential local participants. 

Please note that Izu Trail Journey is of course the Japan SuperTrail, meaning 50 bonus points for the relevant finishers. Relevant finishers on the 100 miles of UT Panoramic likewise score the 100-miles bonus, i.e. also 50 points. 

To be clear, this concerns the ATM Championship only and not the Grandmaster Quest. All finishers of the UT Panoramic 100 miles and 100k races, as well as Izu Trail Journey 72k will score a point for their individual Grandmaster challenge. 

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