September 25, 2023

Cordillera’s own Sandi Menchi Abahan and other members of the Philippine team have wowed international ultra-athletes when they clinched the top spots in the first world’s highest obstacle course racing in Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania on Sept. 12 to 21.

The Baguio-grown Abahan proudly waved the country’s flag as the top female finisher of the race, followed by teammate Silamie Gutang even after she suffered a knee injury at nine kilometers before the finish line by placing second in the competition participated in by 43 athletes in 29 countries. 

In the men’s side, Elias Tabac clinched the top spot followed by Manolito Divina while Thumbie Remigio took the fourth place in the event as part of the Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) exposure program.

Coach Jan Raven Quan and POSF President Alberto Agra headed the team during the grueling competition, where participants went through four stages during the inaugural competition.

On stage one, the participants took seven days to scale the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters above sea level, which is not part of the main competition but acted as acclimatization for the athletes.

The second stage, which is the competition proper, is the obstacle course race at 5,700 meters ASL at the crater camp.

On the third stage, the athletes did a four-kilometer descent towards the final stage, which is another 13-kilometer descent run towards the finish line.  

The event featured a challenging obstacle course, which involved crawling, running, and climbing against the weather, terrain and altitude and were determined by a point system.

The Philippine team, which is composed of gold medalists during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games for OCR, broke world records for ruling the world’s highest OCR at 5,790 meters and the World Altitude Championship. 

The competition drew elite athletes from Australia, Denmark, Brazil, Russia, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and United States. – Ofelia C. Empian