April 24, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

Elite Cordilleran athlete Sandi Menchi Abahan added another feather to her cap after emerging as champion in the female category of the Xterra Asia-Pacific Championship Trail Marathon 2024 in Taiwan on March 23.

Abahan led the female finishers after conquering the 37.4-kilometer trail marathon within four hours, 25 mi-nutes and 46 seconds, far ahead of the female second placer Meng Yun Tung with 4:49:45 time. 

WORLD-CLASS ATHLETES — Obstacle Course Racing national team member Sandi Abahan (extreme left) of Baguio City, who was also one of the awardees in the 1st Women in Sports Awards, has topped the female category of the Xterra Asia-Pacific Championship Trail Marathon 2024 in Taiwan on March 23. — Contributed photo

The Baguio-raised and Mountain Pro-vince native placed 10th overall in the competition while Taiwan’s Meng Yun Tung placed 21st, the former beating all 114 finishers of the competition held in Kenting, Taiwan.

She was hailed as the female fastest climb, fastest descent, and fastest sprint in the category.    

Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen of Denmark ruled the male-side of the event, finishing with 3:20:38. 

The international participants of the event went through a technical course with fast flow, tough climbs, and breathtaking views of the venue slated in Southern Taiwan. Athletes get to climb the infamous Menmaluo Mountain, which has a 360-degree view of the ocean.

Abahan was recently crowned the first Asian medalist by winning the Spartan Race-Beast 21-kilometer elite world championship at the Spartan World Championship held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

She has completed over 24 ultra-marathons, more than 50 marathons, and eight skyraces, and summited Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro.

The multi-talented Southeast Asian Games gold medalist started as a trail runner and slowly ventured into obstacle course racing.

In the 2019 SEAG, she won the gold medal in the five-kilometer OCR, her first medal in her first SEAG outing.

She also delivered gold together with her OCR women’s teammates at the 32nd SEAG in Cambodia. 

She hopes to represent the Philippines in modern pentathlon at the 2028 Olympics.