CORDILLERAN running monarchs Sandi Menchi Abahan and Gretchen Tomas Felipe raced and finished in a class of their own as they land podium spots in the recently concluded 2017 Sungai Menyala Forest Trail (SMFT) in Hutan Simpan Sungai Menyala in Malaysia last April 9, 2017.
Baguio City’s Abahan clocked in a total of five hours, 25 minutes, and 48 seconds to claim the women’s 50-kilometer title while Felipe, bannering the Province of Benguet, clinched to secure the second spot with her 2:50:32 record in the female’s 25-kilometer category.
Abahan, the reigning and three-time Pilipinas Akyathlon women’s champion, booked a full one hour lead against her closest competitor Jassica Banti Lintanga of Malaysia, who crossed the finish line at 6:25:38, followed by third placer Jeradine Alexis Chin Chin of Singapore coming from behind with another 10 minutes and 11 seconds.
The feat will mark another international success for the 28-year-old former University of the Cordilleras student-athlete, who is currently ranked as the number one Filipina trail runner after claiming titles in two consecutive Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon appearances and even making a decent standing in her TNF-Hong Kong debut December last year.
On the other hand Felipe, the 2017 Mt. Ugo Marathon women’s champ, also completed her task sharing podium spots with Malaysian locals Nanei Hanan and Maggie Goh Kim Hong, who claimed first and second place respectively with 2:35:49 and 3:07:11 best.
SMFT is part of Asia Trail Master series 2017, which displayed race categories including the full 50K, 25K, 10K and Kid Dash in this inaugural trail race in pristine forest in Port Dickson.
As of press time both athletes have a decent spot in the Asia Trail Masters 2017 with Abahan splitting a three-way eighth place rank with her 500 earned points in the female division as Felipe seats at number 13 saving 450 points.
Meanwhile fellow Filipino runner, Manolito Divina, also stole the limelight after conquering the men’s 50K with 4:27:30 best, edging Steve Ong (4:53:53) of Malaysia and Arief Wismoyono (5:05:31) of Indonesia.
By: MARK VICTOR PASAGOY