Posts tagged vjm
VJM: Fantastic Vadovicova propels Kitamura to 1st win!
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Hisashi Kitamura has done it! In last Saturday’s Vietnam Jungle Marathon the flamboyant Japanese runner scored his first career ATM race victory after numerous podium places and places of honour. But the Uglow runner had to give it all in the final 10km to keep the outstanding Veronika Vadovica behind him and arrived totally dehydrated at the finish. He fell down from exhaustion as he crossed the line, but recovered in the medical tent quite quickly. On the podium later in the afternoon, Kitamura was his usual self with a bit of show and clearly relief that he finally pocketed that elusive race victory. On top of that, he grabbed the points lead in the Asia Trail Master Championship at the expense of John Ellis.

Earlier on in the 70km race, which commenced at 4 am, Kitamura adopted the “John Ellis tactic” of not worrying too much about the early dozens of kilometres. Vietnam’s Hung Hai, winner of the 100k Vietnam Mountain Marathon last September and a character himself, took off like a rocket but ran out of steam come halfway. Kitamura first and then Vadovicova caught up and dropped Hung Hai in the next uphill section. Meanwhile, Quang Nguyen Duc stayed in the mix up front as well, but eventually couldn’t keep the high pace set  by the Japanese and the Slovakian. The experienced Quang Nguyen Duc ran a smart race and probably could have dropped Hung Hai for second, but refrained from doing so. Coming into CP8, the last checkpoint with 10k to go, it sounded like Veronika Vadovicova had the better of Kitamura, amazingly enough. However, Hisashi Kitamura was not going to let her spoil his first ATM race victory and ran the last kilometres downhill with his mind switched off. Vadovica realised that his downhill pace was a bit too high and decided not “to dude” or “to chick” him and settled for second. Second overall that is, because she was two hours ahead of the next woman!

Hisashi Kitamura is also the new points leader in the ATM Championship, taking over from John Ellis who has one race less so far. For Uglow’s latest protégé, now it already becomes a tactical game of trying to improve on his worst result of the season (7th in CMU) to score additional points as he already has five results in the bag. Both Kitamura and Ellis have planned to run in Penang Eco 100 miles on 22/23 June, which will be a very significant dual. Remember: Kitamura got the Hong Kong star last time out in Sungai Menyala already…

Veronica Vadovica was not in a rush anymore once she realised the big stunt of beating all men was not going to happen and finished seemingly fresh seven minutes later than Kitamura. The Shanghai-based Slovakian admitted herself that this was probably the best trail run of her still very young running career. She takes over the points lead from Carrie Jane Stander in the ATM Championship as well. Her next race is still undecided, but any female who wants to have a shot at the ATM title this season better plan their races carefully. Yet, it’s a five best count system, and the SuperTrails are important, as well as the final race in Taiping, the TNF Mountain Trail Festival in Malaysia on 14/15 December, and that might - we do say “might” - not be Veronika’s favourite course…

The podium in the men’s race was completed by the two Vietnamese aces Hong Hai, who probably learnt an important lesson this race and by Quang Nguyen Duc. They decided not to compete and were given a joint second place. ATM regulations, however, stipulate that as of Q2 (=April) a distinction must be made according to the last checkpoints. This puts Hung Hai in second and Quang Nguyen Duc in third. This obviously to ensure fairness for the Championship. Spain’s Ander Iza Rekakoetxea made it up to fourth place at the finish, despite being plagued by a sprained ankle during the race. Ander Iza’s ankle was massively swollen after the race. Still, important championship points for him and he is aiming for a shot at the title indeed. Tomohiro Mizukoshi managed to hold on to the top five. He had a hard time in the second part of the race, also still not 100% fit following achilles tendon injury and a bad cold. David Longo from Canberra, Australia, arrived in sixth place. France ‘s Valentin Orange was seventh. Sam McGrath continued his fine form of late with eight place.

Belgium’s Vanya Cnobs was second in the women’s race. The Belgian runner is now living in Singapore and is a former national champion cross country running in the U19 category. It was her debut on the ultra distance and admitted it was “long”. Considering she finished well inside the top ten overall, Cnobs ran a great race. it is just that Vadovicova is developing into world class material. The same applies for Philippines’ Fredlyn Alberto. By all means a solid run by the known runner based in Hong Kong, who scored her second ATM podium of the season after the 9 Dragons. Alberto’s journey to VJM was tiring already, and if one considers that runners such as Laura Hulgaard, Nathalie Cochet, Siokhar Lim and Evelyn Lek were behind her… in some races that would be a victory.


Tired but delighted with his first win and the ATM Championship lead: Hisashi Kitamura

Tired but delighted with his first win and the ATM Championship lead: Hisashi Kitamura

On the way to the last checkpoint with Vadovicova applying pressure on Kitamura uphill

On the way to the last checkpoint with Vadovicova applying pressure on Kitamura uphill

Kitamura and Hung Hai already knew each other as they battled in VMM last season, that time with the Vietnamese as winner

Kitamura and Hung Hai already knew each other as they battled in VMM last season, that time with the Vietnamese as winner

A great debut on the 70k distance for talented Vanya Cnobs from Belgium, but Vadovicova was running in her own league

A great debut on the 70k distance for talented Vanya Cnobs from Belgium, but Vadovicova was running in her own league

Fredlyn Alberto grabbed another podium with a solid run too. The women’s competition was outstanding

Fredlyn Alberto grabbed another podium with a solid run too. The women’s competition was outstanding

Tomohiro Mizukoshi suffered from a serious cold, but fifth is a great result and a sign of much more to come again!

Tomohiro Mizukoshi suffered from a serious cold, but fifth is a great result and a sign of much more to come again!

Australia’s David Longo of the T8 Team ran consistently and that resulted in a fine sixth place

Australia’s David Longo of the T8 Team ran consistently and that resulted in a fine sixth place

Grandmaster Masafumi Yamamoto finished another 70k distance in his resident country Vietnam

Grandmaster Masafumi Yamamoto finished another 70k distance in his resident country Vietnam

A Miss Vietnam in the VJM: Bellissima Thuy finished the 42 km race

A Miss Vietnam in the VJM: Bellissima Thuy finished the 42 km race

Vietnam Jungle Marathon opens registration for 25 May
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VJM may be the sister event of the classic Vietnam Mountain Marathon that just took place again in Sapa, but insiders and those who have done it know that Vietnam Jungle Marathon can more than put its foot next to VMM. The Trails of Po Luong feature astonishingly beautiful scenery over a main race distance of 70 km. The 3rd edition of the event organised by Topas Travel is scheduled for 25 May 2019 and will be one of few points races in the Asia Trail Master Championship series that month. May is the Holy Month in several Southeast Asian countries, but if you are keen on a solid trail exercise, VJM is just what you want.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve near Mai Chau lies around 140km south west of Hanoi. It is an area where time stands still. Pu Luong is home to ancient jungle, soaring limestone peaks, vibrant rice paddy fields and small villages where life goes on as it has for generations.

Many of these remote villages are still connected by dirt trails and singletrack with plenty of challenging climbing to conquer in between. You will share the route with buffaloes and people from the minority communities, although some of the more remote sections you are not likely to see anybody on race day except another runner. Many of the villages here see little or no tourism, meaning this race is an opportunity to discover truly untouched Vietnam.

The 70 km is the race that matters for the ATM Championship and it has 3100 metres of elevation gain to be conquered in 18 hours. If that is too big an ask, you can also opt for the 42km or 25 km.

Registration is open now via the event website:

https://vietnamjunglemarathon.com/join-vjm/

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Ultimate Tsaigu & VJM this weekend!
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After a one week break, the busy spring campaign in the 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship continues this Saturday on two different locations. In China, we have the return to ATM of Ultimate Tsaigu in China, aka Tsaigu Tangsi Plus. In Po Luong, we have the second Vietnamese points race of the season: the Vietnam Jungle Marathon.

From a championship point of view, eyes will be set on Filippino runner Majo Liao, who is competing in the tough 100K in Linhai, China. Never afraid of a mountain challenge, Majo Liao is one of several Filippinos who will tackle the rough Kuocang mountain range. For Majo, it will be the 3rd ATM points race of the year, and a top 4 result would put her back in the lead in the points standings. Liao is 398 points behind Indonesia’s Ruth Theresia at the moment. Ultimate Tsaigu is one of China’s leading international trail races and has never ceased to grow since its conception in 2014. As part of the ATM calendar since 2015, some of the country’s top runners such as Yan Longfei and Ma Yanxing have won the  A-race, which began as a 58km but since a few years measures 100K. This weekend, there’s also  a 65K B-race that will provide points for the championship. Malaysia’s Azuan Asmuni is expected to be a challenger for the local runners on that distance. 

The 100K will see China’s elite versus a number of international elite runners from Europe, such as Spain’s  Juanjo Larrotcha   . Very interesting will be the dual between the two protagonists Qi Min and of the UTWT race in Hong Kong last January:    . 

In Vietnam, local trail hero Quang Tran can score his second victory of the season on the 70km. Dominator in Dalat Ultra Trail in March, Quang Tran will be keen to win in Po Luong, as last year he still had to accept defeat against his compatriot Cao Ngoc Ha, who himself has  his focus on triathlon at the moment. If he wins, Quang Tran collects another 500 points and that would place him in the top 5 of the championship. He’s the kind of runner who can play a major role in the title battle later this year. On paper, Quang Tran is the fastest runner on the ultra distance of 70k. For the remaining podium spots it will be an open competition with Quang Nguyen a prime pick, having scored several podia before in trail races. 

Also the women’s race is quite open but with several runners who already have quite a pedigree on the tour. Nguyen Thi Duong and Phuong Vy Le, for example, or also Sara Valentina. The local race director also expects a good performance by Bangkok-based Kylie Jane Ayson. 

We will be reporting live from both events this Saturday, subject to connectivity. The latter - as most of you know - is not guaranteed in China due to restrictions on the use of social media such as facebook, twitter and instagram. 

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

Quang Tran set for his second ATM race victory of the season

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Warning: Vietnam Jungle Marathon moved forward!
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We have just received the information from the local organisers of the Vietnam Jungle Marathon that the event has been moved forward from end of May to 14/15 April 2018. Registrations have also been opened this week, so you can start planning this beautiful 70K race in northern Vietnam. The event venue remains the Po Luong Nature Reserve, roughly 140 km southwest of Hanoi. The course is expected to remain largely the same as in 2017, with 3100 hm. This year, victory went to local hero Cao Ngoc Ha, ahead of Quang Tran. 

You can find more details of the race via our cover page, from where you can also link to the official event website and sign up. 

 

 

Ngoc Ha and Nicole Ng win Vietnam Jungle Marathon

The first Vietnam Jungle Marathon in and around the Po Luong Nature Reserve was held in very hot and humid conditions, making the race tougher than it already was on paper. Local hero Cao Ngoc Ha dropped his compatriot Duy Quang Tran in the final sector to win the race  in 8:22, nearly four minutes ahead. After a great third place at UTKC in February, the first ATM race win for Cao Ngoc Ha, who now totals 975 championship points. Cao Ngoc Ha and Duy Quang Tran ran most of the trail together, but in the end Ngoc Ha had the upper hand. He will also compete at Tam Dao Mountain Trail next month and can become a dangerman for the Asia Trail Master Championship. 

United States' Kent Luu completed the men's podium with a third place in 9:45 after a tight battle with Singapore-based Fabien Billaud, who came in 12 minutes later and who suffered from cramps towards the end. Stephen Hargrave finished fifth, Ric Stockfis sixth, closely followed by Paul Nicholas of France. Duncan Wilson, Myanmar-based Kiwi, has arrived in 8th place.

Malaysia's Nicole Ng won the women's race! She finished ahead of local Vietnamese runner Thi Thieu Phuong Nguyen and Phuong Vy Le. Nicole Ng likes Vietnam, as last year she also completed the 70k race of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon. Pre-race favourite Ann-Mari Lillejord unfortunately did not start the race. 

A photo album by our house photographer Adventure III will be uploaded in the course of this week. 

Winner: Cao Ngoc Ha

Winner: Cao Ngoc Ha

Winner: Nicole Ng 

Winner: Nicole Ng 

The men's podium last Saturday

The men's podium last Saturday

The 70k race started at night time

The 70k race started at night time

Preview: Vietnam and Japan begin ATM season

Two races on the agenda for this weekend in the 2017 Asia Trail Master championship. On Saturday we have the first of three events in Vietnam this season, the Vietnam Jungle Marathon. On Sunday, the shortest but crispiest race of 2017 will be held in western Japan, the Kushigata Wind Trail - also the first of three in the Land of the Rising Sun. 

In fact, both races share quite a few similarities. Vietnam Jungle Marathon and Kushigata Wind Trail are events that have been set up following the success of two other events by the same organisers. VJM is the new race by the Vietnam Mountain Marathon team, and Kushigata is produced by the team that brings you Echigo Country Trail. It is a clearcut sign of how trail running has been developing in Asia. Mind you, these two races are no simples warm-up runs, they are tough and challenging in their own right. 

According to race director David Lloyd, VJM offers probably the best trail running scenery Vietnam can offer. The 70k race goes through the Po Luong Nature Reserve, a wild, hilly, adventurous and natural rainforest area about two hours from country capital Hanoi. Trail running in Vietnam has started to flourish and this year's three points races for the Asia Trail Master Championship are testimony to that. Not only do runners from Asia and the rest of the world get a chance to visit and experience Vietnam in a different way, but Vietnamese runners also get a chance to learn, develop and be part of the ever growing Asian trail scene. Already this year in February, we go to know Ngoc Ha at UTKC in Thailand. The Vietnamese runner scored a great third place in the SuperTrail race behind Steven Ong and Wataru Iino, proving the potential he has. Ngoc Ha will be in action this weekend, and also in the next Vietnamese race in a month's time, the Tam Dao Mountain Trail. In the women's race, the top favourite is arguably the Singapore-based Norwegian Ann-Mari Lillejord, winner of last year's Ijen Trailrunning 70 in Indonesia. 

In Japan, the 30km race with 2500 hm is open on paper, and we are likely to discover some new names and talents at Kushigata. 

Our Asia Trail Master team is present at both events as usual, and will be reporting from the field - signal permitting. 

Profile of the VJM 70

Profile of the VJM 70

Welcome to Vietnam Jungle Marathon!

We are happy to announce our latest new entry in the 2017 and 2018 Asia Trail Master Championship series: the Vietnam Jungle Marathon! The event will be held on 27/28 May and features a 70 km as main distance that offers points for the ATM championship and for the Grandmaster Quest. It is the third event in Vietnam on our calendar, which proves the growth of trail running now also in this exciting South-East Asian country. 

The Vietnam Jungle Marathon is organised by Topas Travel and the same crew who bring you the reputed Vietnam Mountain Marathon in September. The registration is already open and for this year's edition it is better not to wait too long anymore to ensure you get in. The venue is called Pu Luong Nature Reserve near Mai Chau, a well-known place on the Vietnamese backpacker and travellers trail. It is approximately 140 km southwest of capital city Hanoi. 

The 70 km course is considered very demanding with several climbs and descents for a total elevation gain of 3100 hm. After the start, runners will immediately tackle the longest climb to Bo Dieu village at just over 900m above sea level. The finish follows a lengthy descent. On the way you will cross impressive valleys and pass through local villages. 

Find out everything about the event via the website, or get a quick view via our cover page on the ATM website. 

Cover page of the VJM