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The Philippines Leads Asian Countries in Conquering the Austrian Alps at the World Mountain Trail Running Championships

Posted at June 21, 2023

At the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, the Philippines ranked 19th for long trail and 27th for short trail. This puts the team as Asia's Best Short Trail Team and Third Best Long Trail Team performance.

The twelve-member Philippine team composed of six males and six females achieved the second-best finishing time among Asian teams competing in the event held on the 7th to 10th of June 2023 in Innsbruck, Austria.

A total of 69 countries participated in the Championships, including Asian teams from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The Philippine team was accompanied by three officials from the Philippine Trail Running Association, namely: Ms. Christine Ferrera, Mr. Thumbie Remigio, and Dr. Marc Molina. Their head coach is Ms. Christabel Martes, a two-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

The Championships featured two major events: the 85 km long-distance trail course with 6,200 meters of elevation gain and the 44 km short-distance trail course with 3,194 meters of elevation gain above sea level. In the long-distance event, the Philippines team ranked as the 3rd best Asian performer, following Japan and Hong Kong SAR. In the short-distance event, the Philippines was the top-performing Asian team.

The athletes representing the Philippines in the Championships were Arnie Macaneras, Larry Apolinario, and John Ray Onifa for the Long Trail, and Randolf Gonzales, Godwin Mirar, and Jayson Zonio for the Short Trail.

In the female category, Christabel Martes and Elizabeth Dangadang were among those who competed from the three countries in Asia and the only representatives from Southeast Asia who completed both the short and long trail events.

The remaining female members of the Philippine team were successful in making it to the race cut-offs before the race was suspended due to a storm warning for the short trail and the CP cut-off for the long trail, namely Gretchen Felipe, Angelie Cabalo, Cecille Wael, and Augustoralin Sabanal.

This was the team's first time running in the snow-capped Austrian Alps and its first show of full force at the World Championships.

Indeed, the future is bright for our athletes.

Tin Ferrera, the secretary general of Philtra, shares, “This exposure in a very high-level competition will not only make the Filipino athletes stronger but will also guide Philtra as it continues to improve and support further the natural talents Filipino trail runners have. We also take pride in finally having that representation and performance on the world stage - not just for the Philippines but also for Asian countries in this sport that's dominated by other regions.

"We had a very short preparation time given the infancy of the team which was only chosen last February 2023. The goal was to maximize the time and resources while ensuring high-quality training in two and a half months.

"I would say we really invested and we are grateful for the support and donation from the community, and family. and friends through merchandise purchases and donations. Local brands and organizations from neighboring countries and in the Philippines came to our aid."

The brand T8 from Hong Kong and event organizing teams like HK100 Ultra, Team Adrenaline, Race Ya. and the Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation, were some of our supporters.

Discovery Travel assisted with special rates and terms. Gear, shoes, and nutritional supplements were provided by Merell, T8, and Pointe.

Likewise, the trustees and volunteers of Philtra had to move mountains to make this happen. Philtra was also endorsed as an affiliate member of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.