June 23, 2024
ALTITUDE OBSTACLE WORLD SERIES CHAMPS — National OCR team member Elias Tabac and Cordillera’s own Sandi Menchi Abahan defended their titles, as they ruled the 21-kilometer of the Asian-leg of the Altitude Obstacle Course Racing World Series held in Mt. Pulag on March 26. — Contributed photos

The country’s elite obstacle course running athletes have defended their titles in the Asian qualifying leg of the Altitude Obstacle World Series at Mount Pulag National Park on March 26.
Cordillera’s own Sandi Menchi Abahan clocked in at three hours, nine minutes, and 32 seconds to lead the female category of the 21-kilometer race while Elias Tabac led the male side with a time of 2:23:03.
Abahan and Tabac earned their slots for the OCR world finals in Mt. Toubkal in Morocco in August 2021. They hold the world champion titles and Guinness World Record in the 2021 World OCR Championship in Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, which also earned them berths to the World Championships in Mount Everest, Nepal in November.
Tailing Abahan was national team member Silamie Gutang at 3:37:51 and national development team member Ruffa Sorongon at 3:54:28 time.
On the male side, Philippine Military Academy cadet Jake Matiw placed second at 2:30:52 followed by national development team member Andrico Mahilum at 2:32:55.
In the 12-kilometer event, national team member Marites Nocyao led the women runners at 1:36:07 followed by national team member coach Christabel Martes at 1:38:21 and Melissa Campos at 1:50:50.
The 12-km male was dominated by national team members led by Mervin Querte in first place at 1:10:13 followed by Sherwin Managil at 1:11:03, and Jeffrey Reginio at 1:14:18.
Almost 90 OCR athletes including Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation National Team members, elite runners, several PMA cadets and officers, obstacle race enthusiasts, and para-athletes joined to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Mt. Everest, Nepal World Championships. 
The participants started at Sitio Babadak in Kabayan, Benguet at 2,450 meters above sea levelgoing through several obstacles including monkey bars, wall climb, and balance beams around the hills of the village.
This was followed by a race for time to the peak of Mount Pulag which brought them to an altitude of 2,926 MASL in Luzon’s second highest peak. 
On their way back to the foot of Mount Pulag heading to the finish line, exiting the mountain’s breathtaking mossy forest, the racers faced another set of obstacles including the over-under walls and rigs before racing back to the finish line.
The event is organized by the Philippine Obstacle Sports Federation and presented by the Philippine Sports Commission and endorsed by the Department of Tourism, Mount Pulag Protected Area Management Board, and the host towns of Kabayan and Bokod. – Ofelia C. Empian