Issue of May 5, 2019

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Tellias raises funds for UTMB
by Ofelia C. Empian

One of Cordillera’s elite trail runners is on his way to the world’s ultimate trail running experience, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), but he needs to raise funds to reach his destination.

Bemedalled ultra marathoner James Tellias is determined to represent not only the region but also the the country to the trail running event from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1 in the Alps, passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland.  

To support his dream, Tellias and his friends in the trail running community are currently conducting fund raising activities such as selling of UTMB 2019-designed t-shirts and caps.

“The shirt and cap was initiated by a friend from down south named Rhodel Sarande of Happy Feet Ultra Trail Runners based in Negros Occidental. Then our friends from Team Pinikpikan Trail Runners are also selling mugs to raise funds,” Tellias said.

The t-shirt is worth P500 while the cap is P400. He said these are made-to-order and they are currently getting orders for the third batch printing.

He said they would soon organize a trail running 101 lessons as part of the fund-raising program.

“I am appealing to everyone for help in raising funds to cover the needs for the event. We are also accepting donations of any amount to cover expenses for visa application, plane ticket, food, lodging as well as equipment and gears,” Tellias said.

It was a dream come true for the Baguio-raised ultra marathoner as he was able to be part of the UTMB this time after several attempts since 2016 to be part of the “mecca of all trailrunning races” in the world.

Napagasatan tayo met nga nabunot jay lottery, why not padasen tayo. Once in a lifetime met datoy. It is overwhelming and intense but as they say, ‘This is it, pansit!’” he said.

Tellias qualified for the race when he earlier took part in the UTMB-sanctioned races such as the local King of the Mountain series, H1 Hardcore Hundred Miles, Pulag 100; and overseas races like the Vibram in Hong Kong where he earned points to qualify for the lottery.

These races have been evaluated by the International Trail Running Association where points were distributed in each event. He said the lottery was conducted to control the number of qualified trail runners. 

The UTMB main event featuring 171 kilometers of grueling foot race with a 10,040-meter above sea level (MASL) elevation gain and has six other events for international participants.

He will race with other Cordilleran trail runners such as Bren Bulso and Sandi Menchi Abahan who will once again join UTMB’s side event, the Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) having 121K and 7,300 MASL elevation race.

For those who would like to help, contact the runner in his Facebook account “James Tellias.”

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