Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 2019: Kicks off tomorrow with 2,663 runners
ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI 2019 is about to kick off at noon JST (UTC+9), Friday April 26 from Fujisan Kodomo-no-Kuni (Fuji, Shizuoka). Runners will follow the course clockwise around Mt. Fuji, and make a turn at Yamanakako to go back and finish at Ohike Kouen (Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi). As a result of slight route change from last year, course distance is 165km with 7,942m of vertical gain, and forty-six hours for cut-off.
A new leg for Ultra-Trail World Tour in 2019 with 2,663 runners from 40 countries and areas, including international top tier runners.
ULTRA TRAIL MOUNT FUJI: ELITE RUNNERS FOR UTMF 2019
Local’s favorite, and runner-up of last year, Kaori Niwa (JPN) will toe the line for her first victory in UTMF. Since she finished 4th in UTMB 2017, Niwa is known as international elite athletes in ultra-trail races. She knows UTMF in detail with her 8th in 2014, 4th in 2015, and 3rd in shortened 2016. Returning athletes with top-10 results in 2018 are Kaori Asahara (3rd), Yukari Hoshino (4th), Kiyomi Kudoda (6th), Kimino Miyazaki (8th), Akiko Miyajima (10th). Yumiko Oishi, 2nd of STY 2015 and Yukako Takashima, 5th in both UTMF 2015 and 2016 are also our favorite.
From overseas, Fuzhao Xiang (CHN) may lead Japanese elites with her speedy legs, proved by her runner-up finish at Hong Kong 100 in January. Lou Clifton (AUS), 5th in Tarawera 2018, and Sylvaine Cussot (FRA), winner of Eco Trail de Paris 2018, should be noted here as well.
Just three athletes from 2018 podium will return this year. 5th Jantaboon “Jay” Kiangchaipaiphana (THA), 6th Takashi Doi (JPN) and 9th Masatoshi Obara (JPN). In this field of athletes, Xavier Thevenard (FRA) should be apparently the closest to the top of podium. Last year, Thevenard was cerebrated as the third male athletes who took victory of UTMB three times. He might be disappointed with shortened UTMF due to poor weather condition, but come again to complete his UTMF.
Thevenard’s team mate, Benoit Girondel (FRA) is also on the roaster list. Since his UTMF was shortened in 2016, Girondel won the famous Diagonales des Fous two times in row. We also have 3rd in UTMB2018, Jordi Gamito Baus (ESP), 4th in TDS 2018, Tofol Castanyer Bernat (ESP), 2nd in Hong Kong 100 2019, Jing Liang (CHN), and runner-up in American River 50 2018, Coree Woltering (USA).
List of our favorite countrymen include two winners of Hasetsune CUP, Yuichi Miura in 2018 and Yuya Kawasaki in 2016. Kota Araki ran Trail World Championships in Penyagolosa last year and took 12th, the highest male place as Japanese delegate team ever. We also note; Kei Kikushima, Tomonori Onitsuka, Seiji Kobayashi, Koji Morimoto, Masanori Makino, Makoto Yajima, Shunsuke Okunomiya, and Hiroaki Matsunaga.
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