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Skyrunners Challenged To Extremes On MSIG Taiwan Action Asia Course

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Action Asia

The winners at MSIG Taiwan Action Asia

Well before the first rays of sunlight greeted Shihmen Shan this morning, hundreds of passionate trail runners were already making their way up the 551-metre tall mountain. Beams from headlamps sliced through the morning rain and cold, leading runners down a rocky river gully and over steep technical rocky ridges. The 5am start in darkness was just one of many challenges participants of the 50 kilometre race had to conquer through the day.

After a fierce battle on the hilly course, which included a total of 3,016m of thigh-burning elevation gain, the first man across the finish line at Shihmen Reservoir was Petr Novotny of the Czech Republic in 6 hours 8 minutes and 57 seconds. Taiwan’s Stella Chan was the first woman in 8:36:15.

Novotny said: “I always love racing this MSIG Taiwan Action Asia 50 Shihmen course as I know it well, but Shicuokeng Shan, the rocky ridgeline with ropes, really pushed me mentally and physically, requiring upper body and lower body strength. With constant short steep rocks, it was draining on the body.”

Taiwanese runner Chou Ching had taken the early lead, before a navigation error between Miao Pu and Xizhou Shan handed Novotny the reigns. Novotny held on to convincingly claim the overall champion title ahead of Romanian Andrei Maier (6:26:06), American Cory Lewandowski (6:30:51) and Taiwanese Chou Pin-Chi (6:48:22).

The rain made the challenging course extra slippery, but it didn’t stop women’s champ Chan from battering her previous best on the course by two hours.

“I am really glad and pleased to be the female champion. The cool weather allowed me to perform better, and with the breathtaking scenery, the race was perfect,” said Chan. “I especially enjoyed the first half when we ran through the mist, it was a very special experience. I will definitely participate in next year’s race!”

Less than four minutes behind Chan was fellow Taiwanese Chou Ling-Chun (8:40:36), a first-time participant of the race. “Although I had made a mistake, I never thought of giving up but reminded myself to have fun and enjoy the pristine scenery of the course. It turned out to be a satisfying result.”

Rounding out the women’s podium about 10 minutes further adrift was another local Ho Jo-Chun (8:50:47). She crossed the line with a massive smile and a sigh of relief.

“This was my best result among the three times taking part in this race,” Ho said. “I am also very happy to see an increase in runners participating in trail running races. I wish the sport could be promoted to more people so that they can experience the enjoyment of trail running.”

The MSIG Taiwan Action Asia 50 course started at Shihmen Reservoir and climbed over single track trails on Shihmen Mountain before returning to the Shihmen Reservoir dam, followed by a 4km road run along the beautiful Shihmen Reservoir, and then more single track technical trails with ropes over Miao Pu - Xizhou Shan - Baishi Shan - Shicuokeng Shan - Shiguikeng Shan - Xizhou Shan, finally finishing at Shihmen Reservoir.

Along with the 50km race, there were also a few hundred participants who challenged themselves on 21km and 13km courses.

Taiwan’s Chou Ching, who had been one of the pre-race favourites, rued his wrong turn but stayed positive. “I gained a lot of experience today as it was an extremely technical course that prepared me well for the Asian Skyrunning Championships [on Dec 3] in Hong Kong,” said Chou Ching.

The event was possible thanks to the generous support of our presenting sponsor MSIG Mingtai Insurance and supporting partners Maxpure, Action X Store, HOKA One One, Skyrunner National Series China, Outdoor Channel, TXG, Royale International, BN’ B RACK, Outside Magazine, Don 1 don, GoodMore Hotel Shida, ITRA, UTMB Qualifying Race 2017, Taipei Metro Hash House Harriers, China Hash House Harriers, Action Asia Foundation.

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