The Philippine Trail Running Association (Philtra) team is Asia’s best short trail team and third best long trail team in its performance du-ring the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships held in Innsbruck, Austria on June 7 to 10.
The 12-member Philippine team, composed of six males and six females, ranked 19th for the long trail and 27th for short trail in the overall rankings while the team achieved the second-best finishing time among Asian teams.
Cordillera’s own team members are two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Christabel Martes of La Trinidad, Benguet as the delegation’s head coach and elite trail runner Gretchen Felipe of Itogon, Benguet.
Martes and Elizabeth Dangadang competed in both the short trail and long trail female categories and were the only representatives from Southeast Asia to compete in the events.
On the men’s side, the Philtra team who competed in the long trail were Arnie Macaneras, Larry Apolinario, and John Ray Onifa while Randolf Gonzales, Godwin Mirar, and Jayson Zonio competed for the short trail.
As for other female contenders, Felipe, Angelie Cabalo, Cecille Wael and Augustoralin Sabanal, made it to the race cut-offs before the race was suspended due to a storm warning for the short trail and the checkpoint cut-off for the long trail.
The championships featured two major events: the 85-kilometer long-distance trail course with 6,200 meters of elevation gain and the 44-km. short-distance trail course with 3,194-m. of elevation gain above sea level.
In the long-distance event, the Phi-lippine team ranked third best Asian performer, following Japan and Hong Kong. In the short-distance event, the Philippines was the top-performing Asian team.
A total of 69 countries participated in the championships, including teams from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The Philippine team was accompanied by three officials from the Philippine Trail Running Association, namely Christine Ferrera, Thumbie Remigio, and Dr. Marc Molina.
Ferrera, the secretary general of Philtra, said the event is a high-level competition which will not only make the Filipino athletes stronger but will also guide Philtra as it continues to improve and further support the natural talents that Filipino trail runners have. – Ofelia C. Empian