July 22, 2024

The King of the Mountain (KOTM) is cancelled this year due to the continued closure of the various mountain ranges in Benguet and neighboring towns of Nueva Vizcaya where the ultra-race series is held.
KOTM Race Director Jonel Mendoza has announced last week the suspension of the event this year is also in respect to the host communities and residents. The event has been suspended since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Mendoza said even residents are not given unimpeded access to the popular destinations in Benguet, including Mt. Pulag in Kabayan and Mt. Ugo in Itogon. 
“It would be too selfish of us to ask them to open just for us to indulge in our sport knowing too well that the pandemic still exists,” Mendoza said. 
He said those who have earlier registered for the events under KOTM in 2020 will still use their registrations if the event pushes through next year. Registered participants would be locked in or could join in any year they wish to join.
Meantime, he reminded ultra-runners to join races in other areas where it is allowed while observing proper health protocols. 
“Rest assured that when the time comes, when it is safe and everything opens up without need for special consideration, we will conduct our races once again,” he said. 
Events under KOTM series include Mount Pack Ultramarathon (MPU50) conducted in January, Old Spanish Trail 50K (OST50) and Four Lakes 100K (FL100) in February, Pulag 100K (P1) in April, and Hardcore 100 Miles (H1) in May.
Those who compete in the four successive events are given the KOTM400 pendant while those who officially finish the three H1 races are automatically elevated to the KOTM Hall of Fame. 
Through the years, the organizers of KOTM have also been coordinating with the different municipalities and villages of Kabayan and Itogon in Benguet and Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya prior to conducting the events.  
KOTM is accredited by the Department of Tourism as well as the international trail running associations in Europe and the United States. – Ofelia C. Empian