PH hosting SEA Trail Running Cup, boosts bid to become Asian trail running destination

The Philippines is gearing up to welcome Southeast Asia’s trail running elites as it prepares to host the prestigious Southeast Asian Trail Running Cup in the locale of Bontoc, Mountain Province, from June 19-23, 2024.

Tin Ferrera, secretary-general of Philtra and Head for the Southeast Asian Trail Running Confederation, expressed her excitement about bringing the biennial competition to the country.

“We, as Philtra, and our athletes have joined the World Mountain Trail Running Championships and other big events outside the region and across Asia and we believe it’s time we show what we have. That’s why we are grateful to SEATRC for choosing our country as host,” she said.

About 200 athletes are set to compete in various categories, including the Long Trail, Short Trail, Mountain Classic, and Vertical Uphill. Participating countries will also vie for the coveted Team Champion titles for the long and short trail categories.

The SEA Trail Running Cup, organized by SEATRC, is the pinnacle of mountain trail running in the region. It gathers the finest trail runners from eight countries across SEA, showcasing their skills and endurance in the challenging and awe-inspiring terrains of mountainous landscapes.

PH team ready to dominate

John Ray Onifa and Arnie Macaneras — who are both Asia Trail Master Champions in 2022 and 2023 — will pilot the Philippines’ men’s team, while the women’s team will follow the leads of ATM 2023 runner-up Angelie Cabalo and Spartan Trail – Asia Pacific 2023 winner Elizabeth Dangadang.

All four captains have earned their spot as spearheads after their stellar run at the World Mountain Trail Running Championships 2023 together with the PHI team Randolf Gonzales, Larry Apolinario, and Godwin Mirar and 2-times SEA Games gold medalist Christabel Martes, emerging as the top-performing Southeast Asian participants and lead the rally for Asian countries alongside Japan and Korea

Joining them are Skyrunning Champion Trisha Reyes and multi-awarded local Ultra distance athlete Rhys Pawid. U20 athletes Lance Naral, Rayven Eta, Sam Bango, Charlote Muyco, Luisa Cuerpo and Loida Domanog are also part of the Philippine roster and will compete in the Mountain Classic event.

Additionally, new recruits — Romnick Tongkaling, Roberto Cain, Louie Niala, Angie Surriaga, and Noemi Fernandez — are set to make their world competition debut at the SEA Trail Running Cup.

While the main competition is invite-only, local and international runners can still register for the Tawid Mountain Marathon on June 23, 2024. This open category features three divisions: 42KM Marathon, 21KM Half Marathon, and 12KM Mountain Classic. Participants for this category can earn Philtra 2024 championships qualifier points and even win the SEA Trail Cup Age Group Champion title.

The trails of Bontoc

The SEA Trail Running Cup is an opportunity to showcase the natural beauty and rugged terrain of the Philippines. With its diverse landscapes, ranging from lush and pine forests to majestic mountains and heritage sites, the country features an ideal setting for this exhilarating sport.

Bontoc, in particular, has been the venue for various trail running events for its scenic routes, delivering a physical and visually pleasing adventure for runners. It features diverse trails that wind through mountains, villages, and vistas that boasts the Mountain Province’s rich culture and heritage.

From technical ascents toward mountain tops to thrilling descents leading to falls, each leg of the SEA Trail Running Cup will present its unique challenges that ensure an unforgettable experience for all participants.

Championing environmental conservation

In addition to the competitive aspect, the SEA Trail Running Cup aims to promote environmental awareness and conservation efforts as it is ascribed to the Green Charter of the International Trail Running Association.

“This event not only highlights the athleticism and endurance of our participants. It also underscores the importance of preserving our natural environment for future generations to enjoy,” Ferrera said. “This event showcases to the world the Philippines as a sports tourism destination for trail running.”

For more information and updates on the Southeast Asian Trail Running Cup 2024, please visit

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