THE country's top sky marathoners are expected to suit up in the 2018 staging of the Pilipinas Akyathlon that will be spiced up by foreigners come February 3 to 4 in Itogon, Benguet.
Beginning this year, the running event will be part of the Asia Trail Master Championship Series, an annual series of trail running races which takes place in the continent where each runner earns points.
Expected to suit up is men’s defending champion Marcelino Sana-oy and women’s reigning titlist Sandi Menchi Abahan.
Also seeing action are Bukidnon runner Jemarvin Cabilan who was the top Filipino finisher in 2014 and Bakun, Benguet’s Jason Kevin Lipa.
Abahan will have another stiff competition against local Gretchen Felipe who place second last year and Majo Liao.
Aside from Filipinos, Iris Torculas of the Philippine Skyrunning Association said runners from Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea, among others are also seen to suit up.
The event will feature the lung busting 46-kilometer sky marathon, 25-km mountain run, 10-km trail run, vertical kilometer and kiddie akyathlon.
Registration is available at raceyaya.com. For Baguio residents they may visit the Lagalag Baguio store at Upper Session Road. Registration is until January 15.
The 46K sky marathon starts at the Binga Indigenous People’s Cultural Heritage Site in Barangay Tinongdan and goes up the traditional footpath that connects Binga to Sitio Lusod. It then follows the trail leading up to the summit of Mt. Ugo and then retraces the same path back to the Lusod and descends via the Tinongdan trail back to the finish line.
The 25K mountain run, it uses the same route as the sky marathon but makes an earlier turn and descends via Mangkising and then rejoins the 46K course at Cayoco Bridge leading to the finish line.
10K trail run is an introductory course into trail running but gives the participants a taste of skyrunning with steep ascents and technical descents. Meanwhile the vertical kilometer run is a 5K uphill race with 1,000-meter elevation gain, which will challenge participants from start to finish.
The kiddie akyathlon is designed for kids set in a safe and controlled environment but it comes with a 70-meter elevation gain. Roderick Osis