FOR the first time, Mt. Apo is the venue for the final race of an Asia-wide mountain trail running race this coming December 17, 2022.

The Mt. Apo Sky Race will be the last leg and championship race of the Asia Trail Master (ATM) Championship Series, which has a total of 26 races in 2022.

ATM founder Kris Van de Velde said during the Wednesdays Media Forum on November 2 that the Mt. Apo Sky Race is usually held in April but was postponed for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the revival of the ATM race this year, the Mt. Apo Sky Race became available as the final race for the event.

Aside from being the highest peak in the country, Van de Velde said that the Mt. Apo trail is one of the most enjoyable and exciting trails in Asia.

Doi Calbes, race director of Mt. Apo Sky and Vertical Race added that Mt. Apo and other Mindanao trails are more challenging compared to other countries since trails in the country are mostly natural and unpaved.

“For example in Hong Kong, the trails are very established. In Mindanao, we have a great advantage because we have boulders and forests, making Filipino runners strong,” Calbes said.

The competition will have one team from each country composed of the five best male and five best female runners with the most points garnered throughout the ATM race. Some of the countries represented are the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, among others.

The organizers are expecting a successful race especially since the participating runners are among the best in Asia.

“The level of trail running in Asia has actually gone up after the pandemic. A lot of people have had more time to train,” Van de Velde said. ICM