Meet the Filipino Finishers of the World’s Toughest Ultra Trail Festival

This is a late post, but it’s taken me a while to think of how best to write about these exceptional people. The world of trail running is something I am content to get peeks at through the stories of friends who participate in these sorts of races, but it takes a special kind of crazy to go into ultra distance trail racing. Many thanks to Race Yaya for introducing me and fellow members of the media to the Filipinos who finished their respective events at the UTMB Festival in Chamonix, France this year.

The UTMB or Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc is a world-reknowned single-stage mountain ultramarathon. The UTMB proper is 166 kilometers long with a 9,600-meter total elevation gain held in the Alps traversing the countries of Switzerland, Italy, and France. There are also sister races linked to the week-long UTMB Festival: TDS or Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (119 km +7,250 m), the CCC or Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix (101 km +6,100 m), the OCC or Orsières-Champex-Chamonix (53 km +3,300 m), as well as the non-competitive team event known as La Petite Trotte à Léon (approx. 300 km +28,000 m).

While this isn’t the first year the local trail community has fielded participants to the UTMB Festival, it was a particularly bumper-crop year with entrants to all the individual categories. Continue reading “Meet the Filipino Finishers of the World’s Toughest Ultra Trail Festival”

GRiT All-Women Trail Run on August 13

*Last 26 slots for 6K and 30 slots for 15K!

Want to try trail running, or want to challenge your trail running skills? Get down and dirty with the girls of GRiT (Girls Running in Trails) at their first event: an All-Women Trail Run happening on August 13 at Basekamp, Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal. Participants will be running in the rough, rugged, and scenic trails of Rizal while enjoying the camaraderie of
fellow women runners.

The event aims to raise funds for GRiT ambassador, Sandi Menchi Abahan in her quest to represent the Philippines in one of the toughest ultramarathon mountain races in Europe, the TDS. Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie or TDS is a 119-kilometer ultra mountain race in France with about 7,200 metres height gain.

Sandi is the undisputed leading Filipina elite trail runner. Baguio-born, she has been a runner since high school and consistently bags awards in both road and trail races and duathlons and triathlons. She has won the International Skyathlon event and other big name international races. Sandi is the first Filipina who stands to grab a top spot at the TDS.

Do your part in supporting Sandi by either racing the Sweet 6K (priced at P600) which will take runners through the manicured bike trails of Basekamp, or the Fierce 15K (priced at P800) which will head into the untamed trails of Pintong Bukawe.

While this is an all-women run, there is actually a men’s event: the Sub-Sandi Challenge (priced at P600). Beat Sandi in a 6K race and win special tokens. Whether your goal is to beat Sandi, run beside her, or just be able to support her by joining the run, this race is for you to support GRiT.

There is also a Kiddie Uphill Miler (priced at P250) open to kids ages two to 13 years old, with age-appropriate distances from 1/4 mile to 2 miles.

Register at raceyaya.com. Slots are limited! For updates, follow the RaceYaya Facebook Page.