Yading Skyrun – China
The first Skyrunning race of the year was held in Yading also known as Shangri-La in the Sichuan province, China near the border with Tibet on Saturday with some of the world’s top male and female athletes in attendance. This unique race that was added to the Skyrunning calendar and the only Skyrunning race to feature in Asia this year saw competitors start their 29km journey at the Holyland hotel at 2,946m in Shangri-La running through the town cheered on by the whole community that had turned out to watch the event. From there runners ran for 4km along a dirt road down to the start of the Valley banked in steep cliffs criss-crossing across wooden bridges with beautiful views of the river running below and towards the end of the valley views of the 6,000m mountains in the background.
At the end of the valley section it was a 2km climb up on the road and then back onto the trail climbing towards the imposing mountains in the distance at the 4,008m check point. Runners were then treated to the most spectacular scenery of the course with beautiful mountains providing the back drop and clear blue sky’s but also the most challenging section of the course with the climb up to the 4,700m final timing point at a gap in the ridge line surrounded by prayer flags making for a stunning scene. From the top it was 5km back down to the finish line at the Chonggu Temple at 4,008m for a total of 2,900m of altitude gain for the race.
It was a tight tussle at the top for the men’s race with several runners competing for first place with Bhim Gurung from Nepal, Tadei Pivk from Italy and current Sky Running world champion and Marc Casal Mir from Andorra all reaching the 4,700m final timing point at the same time. Coming down from the top to the finish line at 4,008m Bhim Gurung started to open up a lead over Tadei Pivk and managed to finish first in a time of 3:08:30 with Tadei in second place in a time of 3:10:18. Marc Casal Mir was a further minute behind in 3:11:28 with his brother Oscar Casal Mir coming fourth and Pere Rullan From Spain finishing fifth.
In the women’s race it was business as usual for Megan Kimmel From the USA who won three races in the Sky Running World Championship last year and finished runner up in the series as she powered home to a comfortable win in the ladies race in a time of 3:20:39 and sixth overall. Chinese runner Wenrong Zhen came second in a time of 3:56:17 with Ragna Debate from the Netherlands finishing in a time of 3:57:39 claiming third place in the ladies race. Dong Li from China finished fourth with Bishu Maya Budha from Nepal finishing fifth.
Overall winner Bhim Gurung commented that “Living in Nepal and going to 5,000m regularly the altitude was no problem for me in this race. Megan Kimmel who lives at 2,800 meters in Colorado also commented that “living at altitude really helped with this race and I didn’t feel the effects of the altitude to much, it was an amazing course and very well designed.”
Top 5 overall:
1. Bhim Gurung (NEP) – 3:08:30
2. Tadei Pivk (ITA) – 3:10:18
3. Marc Casal Mir (AND) – 3:11:28
4. Oscar Casal Mir (AND) – 3:14:08
5. Pere Rullan (ESP) – 3:19:39
1. Megan Kimmel (USA) – 3:20:39
2. Wenrong Zhen (CHN) – 3:56:17
3. Ragna Debats (NED) – 3:57:39
4. Dong Li (CHN) – 4:32:33
5. Bishu Maya Budha (NEP) – 4:42:28
More results: HERE
Hard as Nayles – Hong Kong
The second edition of the Hard As Nayls Andy Naylor Memorial Race memorial race was held on Sunday in Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay Country Park which is one of the most scenic areas of Hong Kong, offering amazing trails, steep hills and sweeping, open vistas of the South China Sea.
With a number of different distances on offer including a full marathon distance of 42km and 15km trail races, a new Tough Ten race consisting of an out and back 10km race as well as a 4km and 8km family race to cater for children of 5+ and 8+ respectively.
In the full 42km marathon it was a tight finish between the top two as Henri Lehkonen and John Ellis both from Australia were separated by a mere 31 seconds with Henri taking the title in 4:39:15 with John behind in second place in a time of 4:39:46. Thomas Robertshaw from the UK was third male across the line in a time of 4:47:52.
In the womens 42km race Nia Cooper came home in a comfortable winning time of 5:13:19 to take the women’s title and placing sixth overall with Katia Kutcher finishing second in 5:32:18 and Elsa Jean De Dieu taking third spot on the podium in a time of 5:35:27.
Borneo Deathmarch 250km – Malaysia
The Borneo Dearthmarch is a 250km 6 stage 7 day race that takes runners across the original World War II death march route of 1945 in Sabah, Malaysia where prisoners of war use to walk 250km to a Japanese airfield at the foot of Mount Kinabalu.
The course offered runners mix gravel road, asphalt road sections and jungle sections with temperatures exceeding 37 degrees on some days with runners being self-sufficient with water at checkpoints and their drop bag at one location along the course each day and one rest day on day 4 of the race.
The race was dominated by locals with the top ten male finishers being Malaysians. Chong Kian Voon finishing the 6 days in a total time of 32:02:37. Lim Yew Khuay who ran most of time with the overall winner finished second in a combined time of 32:48:53. Ewegene Tan Eu Jin finished third overall in 34:25:25. In the women’s race the top five finishers were all Malaysian with Rusinah Soligi finishing first in a combined time of 35:50:46. Linda Poong came second in a time of 37:16:36 with Erlinda Rustico third in 41:25:32.
More results: HERE
The North Face Philippines – Philippines
The North Face Philippines was held over the weekend with runners choosing between the traditional 100km and 50km course’s as well as a 22km and 11km course. With a total elevation gain of 5541m in the 100km and an elevation gain of 2591m in the 50km
In the men’s 100km race Jan Nilsen from Norway but who lives in Thailand took the title in a time 13:40:09 followed by Hong Kong’s Champion System Adventure runner Wong Ho Chung in 13:52:29 with local Filipino ultra running star James Tellias finishing third in 14:36:22.
In the womens’s 100km race Sandy Abajan finished an impressive thirteen overall and first female in a time of 17:56:58 with Maria Josephine Liao finishing second female in 19:14:34 and Fredelyn Ramos coming third in 24:03:47.
More results: HERE