Issue of September 6, 2020
Mt. Province
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Cordilleran athletes rule international virtual race
by Ofelia C. Empian

INT’L VIRTUAL RACE WINNERS -- Hailed as the number one team for the Asia Trail Girls vertical virtual race run, the Team Hellevation from Baguio City composed of (from left) James Tellias, Robert Watson, Sandi Menchi Abahan, and Sunshine Briones, bested 143 other groups all over the world. The group went through various trails and vertical places in the city during the 10-day virtual race.-- Contributed photo

There’s no stopping Baguio athletes from shining in the international virtual race scene despite the pandemic.

Dubbed as “Team Hellevation,” elite trail runners composed of Sandi Abahan, James Tellias, Robert Watson, and Sunshine Briones topped the Asia Trail Girls (ATG) vertical virtual race  besting 143 other groups from 17 countries in the competition.

The group gained a total accumulated elevation of 120,228 meters of vertical runs in 10 days which they conducted in various places in the city and recorded through the Strava application.

The race was held from Aug. 15 to 24.

Virtual races have become an alternative race for short and long-distance run competitions all over the world due to the cancellation of competitive races as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tellias said the group ran together especially in the first and last day of the 10-day period, and in some days, they ran wherever they are.

“The concept of the virtual race is to gain the highest elevation within 10 days so it is a team effort,” he said.

The results of their runs were then recorded in Strava, a GPS cycling and running app, which tracks their movement and sent to the race administrators of ATG.

“After our run, we upload our data in the Strava app and while doing the virtual elevation race, we are honest in all our runs,” he said. 

He said he has been going up the stairs at Quirino Hill as well as the Camp John Hay trails and just about anywhere with a vertical elevation in the city.

Tellias and Abahan both placed second in the men and women category with the former gaining a total of 33, 994-meter elevation while the latter recorded a 27, 878-meter elevation.

The group received gift cards from Sportlicious Malaysia.

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