Asia Trail Master Series: New 2016 Race Calendar Preview
Following this year's successful launch, the Asia Trail Master series return in 2016 with a race calendar that's even larger and more diverse.
Choosing from race venues in over a dozen Asian countries, runners will be competing against one another for points. The aim? To fulfil a Grandmaster Quest to finish six trail races, at least 70 km each, within two calendar years.
The 2016 series will kick off in Hong Kong on 19 and 20 February with UTHK – Ultra Trail Hong Kong. It will also be the first of five Super Trails, which are selected races of proven quality and in which finishers will score 50 points more than the Standard Trails for the ATM championship ranking.
What's in the 2016 Calendar
Nearly all events in this year's first semester will return in 2016. There will be exciting new additions in Brunei, Philippines, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia too!
Amongst the highly-rated events making a comeback are: China's Tsaigu Tangsi Plus, Kazakhstan's Tengri Ultra Trail, and the two-stage races by GlobalLimits in Sri Lanka (The Wild Elephant Trail) and Bhutan (The Last Secret).
Whilst most of the races are set in hilly and mountainous areas, next year's race calendar will also feature a number of shorter and technically less demanding races. Not any less beautiful or exciting than the longer ultras, these shorter events will give road runners who want a taste of trail running a fitting introduction.
More events will be added to the calendar over the coming weeks, and each event will be profiled in detail on the redesigned Asia Trail Master website.
The 2016 Provisional 1st semester calendar is as follows:
- 19-20 February – Hong Kong – UTHK
- 28 February – Brunei – Beach Bunch's Trail Challenge
- 4-12 March – Sri Lanka – GlobalLimits: The Wild Elephant Trail
- 19 March – Philippines – Cordillera Mountain Marathon
- 9 April – China – Tsaigu Tangsi Plus
- 24 April – South Korea – Korea 50k
- 8 May – Kazakhstan – Tengri Ultra Trail
- 14 May – Malaysia – Malaysia Eco 100
- 22 May – Indonesia – Ijen Trail Running
- 27 May-4 June – Bhutan – GlobalLimits: The Last Secret
Asia Trail Grandmaster Pioneers
While faster athletes can aim for prizes and a high ranking at the end of the year, every single runner with enough perseverance can become an Asia Trail Grandmaster. Each runner's best three results will count for the final ranking in December. Runners travelling abroad for a third race will benefit from a the new 'Abroad Bonus' of 50 points too.
Several runners are expected to reach the milestone of six 70+ km races in 2016 to receive the honorary title of Asia Trail Grandmaster and earn a place in the forthcoming Asia Trail Master Hall of Fame. Besides sponsored prizes, they will also receive a shield or badge which they can knit to their sport uniform as a token of achievement. After the achieving the Grandmaster title, they can continue to earn stars as they build upon their trail running legacy.
Blazing the Pan-Asian Trail
Staying true to its core objectives, the Asia Trail Master team will continue to foster the development of a genuine pan-Asian trail running community. Emphasis will also be placed on improving general safety standards at trail running events.
The organisers also aim to boost environmental conservation efforts across the continent. Initiatives to reduce pollution and preserve natural habitats are likely to become key trends in Asia in 2016.
This year's inaugural Asia Trail Master series is heating up towards the finale with six races still to go. The current men's ranking is still headed by China's Xie Zhangrong, but he will have to fend off challenges by Indonesia's Arief Wismoyono and India's Ullas Narayana in the next couple of weeks. In the women's competition, Malaysia's Tan Seow Ping is in the pole position to claim the top title.
The Asia Trail Master series look sets for another interesting year in 2016. Are you ready to run for the Asia Trail Grandmaster title?