Issue of September 8, 2019
     
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Tellias & Abahan conquer world’s toughest ultra race
by Ofelia C. Empian

WORLD’S TOUGHEST ULTRA RACE -- Baguio ultra-runners James Tellias and Sandi Abahan were successful finishers in two categories of the Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc, the world’s toughest ultra race in the European Alps. Tellias conquered the 171-kilometer event while Abahan finished the 101-km. category. -- Contributed photos

Two Cordilleran elite runners made the country proud once more for conquering the world’s toughest ultra running competition in Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc on Aug. 26 to Sept. 1 in the European Alps.

James Tellias conquered the world’s mecca of ultra running in 44 hours, 34 minutes, and 14 seconds. He ranked 1,249 among all other finishers who negotiated the 171.6-kilometer distance having an average speed of 3.9 kilometers per hour in the grueling main UTMB event.

Despite the wet weather jumpstarting the 2019 edition on Aug. 30, Tellias ran with 2,543 elite international athletes to conquer the 105-mile loop around the European Alps’ Mont-Blanc massif starting and finishing in Chamonix, France. 

He said the most challenging part of the competition was the long uphill climb of the trail route passing through France, Italy, and Switzerland.

“Here, it is super challenging than the trail routes we have back home when it comes to the weather and technicality. The views are beautiful as well,” said Tellias, a first-time campaigner in the event.

He and six other Filipinos finished the UTMB race.

He said he will join the UTMB again next year if given the chance.

“Experience is the best teacher. If I have a second chance to run UTMB, it’s time to be completely competitive. It’s worth the experience, to aspire, inspire, motivate, and share this experience,” he said.

Sandi Menchi Abahan, meanwhile, conquered the Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix category in 17 hours, 13 minutes, and 14 seconds.

Abahan ranked 235 overall while placing 25th in the female side.

The CCC event features 101-km. and 6,100-meter elevation gain.

Abahan joined the TDS or the Sur-les Traces des Ducs de Savoie category in 2017 with 121-km. and 7,300-meter elevation gain, where she finished in 23 hours, 27 minutes, and 16 seconds, placing 234 overall and 9th place in the female category.

Both elite athletes, having their endurance training in the highlands, have been bringing recognition for the locality for their various feats in national and international ultra running events.

 
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SPORTS
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