MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 Feb) — Two skyrunners (high-altitude runners) from Bukidnon made it to the top five in their respective categories in the 2014 Pilipinas Akyathlon/3rd Philippine International Skyrace in Mt. Ugo, Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet Province on February 8.
Organized by the Philippine Skyrunning Association, the 35.3 kilometer “out-and-back” race is the only international sky race in the country, the first leg of the Asian Mountain Race Circuit. The two others are Mt. Fuji Mountain Race and Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon.
Jemarvin Cabilan of Malaybalay City finished 4th overall and was the first Filipino finisher in the race, according to Dr. Rachito Abellanosa, organizer of Bukidnon Highland Games who brought the team to Benguet. Cabilan also won an all expense paid slot to this year’s Climbathon in Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia.
Abellanosa in an SMS to MindaNews Saturday, said Cabilan was behind two Japanese nationals and a French athlete in the 159-runner race.
Helen Tacling, of Lantapan, Bukidnon, finished 5th over-all and first in her age-group despite an ankle injury, Abellanosa added.
According to the race’s start list, a total of 123 males and 36 females competed in the 10-country race.
Based on the description of the Akyathlon, the race started from the Barangay Hall of Tinongdan at 779 meters above sea level (masl) in the Municipality of Itogon, Province of Benguet. The first 1.7 kilometer is a downhill run on paved road to the start of the trail. From this point, the route to the summit is mostly uphill with a total elevation gain of 1,858 meters, and loss of 195 meters. The 16.4-km route from the summit to the finish is a mirror image of the route to the summit, and concludes with a 1.7-km (280m vertically) ascent to the finish line at the hall of Barangay Tinongdan.
The route provides skyrunners a good view of the surrounding mountains, including portions of Binga and Ambuklao dams as far away as Pangasinan. The turnaround point is at the summit of Mt Ugo at 2,162 masl. (Walter Balane/MindaNews)