Scandinavian native bucks heat and exhaustion to top The North Face 100 trail ultramarathon
Around 1,327 runners answered the starting gun for the The North Face 100 trail ultramarathon in Baguio City on Saturday. Rhoel Fernandez

BAGUIO - A “Viking” from snowy Scandinavia emerged as the king of the mountain in the gruelling The North Face 100 trail ultramarathon in Baguio City on Saturday. 

Bucking heat and exhaustion, Jan Nilsen of Norway crossed the finish line at Camp John Hay with a  time of 13 hours, 40 minutes and nine seconds in the ninth edition of the main 100-kilometer showcase category which is considered as the country’s premiere ultra trail event and considered the most difficult in the Asia Pacific TNF circuit with a total elevation gain of 5541m in the 100km.  

Coming in second at 13:52:29 was 2014 TNF100 Philippines winner Wong Ho Chung of Hong Kong. Filipino trail running star James Tellias completed the podium with a time of 14:36:22.   

Around 1,327 runners took part in the annual race that has 18 overseas entries. The main 100 kilometer category had 232 participants, while the 50Km had 245 runners. 

Baguio native Sanday Abajan was the fastest 100km runner in the distaff side and also finished 13th overall at 17:56:58 and was followed by trail running Majo Liao (19:14;34) who was hindered by a broken finger sustained during the race. Fredelyn Ramos took third at 24:03:47.  

The North Face 100 100km winner Jan Nilsen (center) with TNF Asia Pacific Regional Manager Tim Sedo (2nd from left) and TNF Division Manager Jundel Llagas at the awarding ceremony at Camp John Hay
The North Face 100 100km winner Jan Nilsen (center) with TNF Asia Pacific Regional Manager Tim Sedo (2nd from left) and TNF Division Manager Jundel Llagas at the awarding ceremony at Camp John Hay

In the 50-km event, first-time visitor Jisub Kim of South Korea dominated in his first foray on Philippine soil by clocking 5:34:18, 18 minutes ahead of second-placer Robert Arellano, a native of Baguio. The 27-year-old civil engineering student from Gang Won, overcame some tough spills that caused a number of injuries.

“Hell!,” was the Korean’s response when asked to describe conditions on the trail, noting the intense summer heat and steep descents of the route which was 75 percent trail compared to road.

On Sunday, 850 runners will race in the 22km (500) and 11km (350) categories.    

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