BAGUIO CITY – The 18th edition of the Pilipinas Akyathlon, one of the country’s major skyrunning events, will be held in Itogon, Benguet on February 3-4, 2018.
The categories for the event include the 45-kilometer Sky Marathon which starts from the Binga Indigenous People’s Cultural Heritage site in barangay Tingongdan going up the traditional footpath that connects Binga to sitio Lusod then follows the trail leading up to the summit of Mount Ugo and then retraces the same path back to Lusod and descends via the Tingdan trail back to the finish line; the 25-kilometer Mountain Run which uses the same route as the Sky Marathon but makes an earlier turn and descends via Mangkising and then rejoins the 46-kilometer course at Cayoco bridge, leading to the finish line; the 10-kilometer Trail Run which is an introductory course into trail running but gives the participants a test of skyrunning with steep ascends and technical descends; Vertical Kilometer which is a 5-kilometer uphill race with 1,000 elevation gain that is considered a challenging category on a lung-busting course that requires participants to huff and puff from start to finish and Kiddie Akyathlon which is set on a safe and controlled environment but it does not mean it is a walk in the park as it comes with a whooping 70-meter elevation gain and runners will be privileged to run across ricefields, under a pine forest canopy and over hanging bridges to cross the Agno River wherein participants will share the trail with the local Ibaloi communities that reside on the mountain as well as their livestock.
Each runner is expected to be self-sustaining with his or her own hydration gear and nutrition, however, medical aid and water refilling stations will be available in multiple points along the route.
Pilipinas Akyathlon is the premier skyrunning event in the country which sanctioned by the Philippine Skyrunning Association.
The 2017 Akyathlon champions represented the country in the Asian Continental Skyrunning Championships and that this year’s winners will also have a chance to represent the country in future international skyrunning events in the different parts of the world.
Organizers will be partnering with other local skyrace organizers to create a Philippine Skyrunning National Series where the winners of the series will be crowned as the Philippine Skyrunning champions and will represent the country in next year’s Asian Centennial Skyrunning championships.
Starting next year, Pilipinas Akyathlon will be part of the Asia Trail Master Championship Series, an annual series of trail running races, which take place in the Asian continent where runners will score points in each of the running events that they finish and so doing, receive a place in the rankings.
After the final event in the annual races in the calendar, the one who scores the most points will be crowned as that year’s Asia Trail Master champion and being on the series means that the Pilipinas Akyathlon will attract more foreign participation and make it a tougher competition by the coming years.
By Dexter A. See