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Jun 21 / 2017

Mongolia, Nomads, Gers and rivers

Stunning course with wild sheep in Mongolia
- 2017 Mongolia Action Asia 3-day Ultra Marathon


After getting on the bus in Ulaanbaatar heading to the ger camp, you wouldn’t know what to expect for the first day in Mongolia wilderness. Mongolian Gers are runners’ home for 3 days and “Spectacular” was the word most of the runners of the 2017 Mongolia Action Asia 3-day Ultra Marathon used to describe the first day experience.

Day 1

60km runner, Debbie Bailey has joined the Mongolia Action Asia event for many years and it has become the annual event for her family. “I’m here with my sister and I joined this race to refresh myself. The beautiful scenery and river crossing made me feel relaxed,” said Bailey.

“What a spectacular day! The entire course today was nice and temperature was lovely. The most interesting part for me was the up-hills,” said Orsolya Arcuri, 60km runner from United States.

60km French runner, Stoessel Radue Frederique said: “I think the beautiful scenery has made the first day race a bit easier than it was. We took a lot of pictures. But you would have to take your eyes off the trail a bit to enjoy the view.”

Amane Kabbaj, the 60km runner from France loved the freedom of trail running: “Who wouldn’t want to feel free? “The view during the race was very open which made me feel free.”

French 60km runner, Soha Kabbaj enjoyed the scenery a lot: “The weather was very nice. I enjoyed the beautiful view and the river crossing part the most.”

The Mongolia Action Asia Ultra filled up fast mostly because of word of mouth. 100km runner, Lawrence Hsu from Taiwan: “Introduced by my colleague, I joined this amazing race that’s why I can see the stunning view, the well-organized course and nice staff at this race. The most amazing part was that I can run with sheep here!”

“I really enjoyed the open view here as you can see as far as the eyes can. I have also joined the Nepal race organized by Action Asia Events before,” said Hin Chung Ngan, 100km runner from Hong Kong.

100km runner, Alain Esseiva from Switzerland (based in Singapore) found the race was really challenging: “This course was longer and tougher than the race I joined before. But I’m feeling good right now because I just had a good and strong finish.”

HK based British from 100km categories, Sarah Bailey loved the mixture of different terrain: “The course is very diversified from the flat ground to the river crossing which is exciting and challenging!”

Breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the entire race was taken care by Action Asia Events and runners spoke highly of the local gourmet buffet for each meal which provided much needed nutrition and energy for all. Water was provided at all checkpoints in large 18 litres carboys to reduce plastic and care more for the environment.

Day 2

On the second day, runners in the 60km and 100km categories completed another 20km and 40km to bring their combined total distance up to 40km and 80km respectively. Most of them were physically tired, but amazed by what they have seen after racing for 2 days in wild Mongolia.

Jacqueline Lau from Hong Kong enjoyed every single minute of the 60km course and thought it was the ultimate Mongolia experience. “I experienced every feature and type of scenery of Mongolia during the race and this was the ultimate Mongolia experience. The river crossing will be my favorite memory of all time and I refused to get out. The scenery was amazing!”

New Yorker Alex Fox joined the 100km race and spoke highly of the Mongolia race.
“I loved the scenery throughout the course especially when we first ran into the forest. Mongolia is a stunning place.”

German 100km runner, Mathieu Brummer: “I loved running the downhill through the woods which was technical and beautiful. I loved the last part even more with mountains and rocks. The view was awesome. Really good course design.”

French 60km runner Yann Morel loved the race and would come back for sure. “The scenery was absolutely fantastic. The first part was quite difficult as we were running in the forest, but I really enjoyed it. I will come back again for sure!”

Australian 60km runner Natalie McGilvray loved crossing the river. “The race was really good. The sunlight on the water was really beautiful.”

Flying from Singapore, Australian runner Kylie Fletcher loved the peaceful Mongolia wilderness. “I preferred the flat parts because I was a bit hesitant on downhills. I loved the valleys because I felt peaceful and enjoyed the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.”

Filipino Ednalyn Moorcroft flew from Hong Kong and loved running through the grass. “It was really fun and I loved the flat parts of the course.”

American 60km runner, Paul Kessler enjoyed the view during the race. “I was not rushing so I could enjoy the route. The view of the hill was beautiful, but the rocky hill was technical so that I was very careful at that part!”

Pasquale Ciarlitto spoke highly of the mixed terrain. “The race was very good with mixed and runnable routes. I think today (day 2) was easier than yesterday. The view was very beautiful.”

60km runner from the Philippines, Clarence Jane Duzon liked the river at the end of the race. “The course was beautiful. It was really a good relief for me when crossing the river at the end of the race.”

Singaporean 60km runner Avelyn Wei loved the scenery and the challenges. “It was a very nice race, and the race was quite challenging for me. The view was totally different from Singapore which only has skyscrapers and in Singapore we don’t have so many hills, so I’m more familiar with flat routes.”

Charlotte Martin from France and loved the landscape of the 60km course. “For Day 1, the landscape was amazing and the river crossing at the end was my favorite. For Day 2, the landscape was even more beautiful and was more technical for me.”

100km runner, Marc Rafin from France liked the beginning of the race on day 2. “I enjoyed the views and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

After 2 days, British 100km runner Richard Roper was tired but happy. “The course was amazing and it was the best course I’ve ever run. The last 10km was challenging but I really enjoyed it. My favorite bit was running down the valley and seeing horses running to the goats so I’m really looking forward to the last day!”

Living in Shenzhen, Canadian runner Allen Chase enjoyed the 100km course. “I thought today’s day 2 course was great. My favorite was the last 10km where it had lots of ups and downs. I just enjoyed the race.”

Taiwanese 100km runner, Lawrence Hsu loved the nature and the animals. “The route was longer than yesterday with more variety of terrain. It felt so good to run through those horses and cows.”

Course designer and race director Michael Maddess did the course briefing the night before each race day after dinner to all runners, who were given maps for the following day’s course. It was always full of excitement as he revealed details of the terrain that runners would run on, mixed in with talk on animals they would see on the course.

Day 3

Day 3 started out with numerous runners with tired legs, sprained ankles, blisters, bruises and other aches and pains, but somehow all runners managed the even earlier start of the 6:30am
start to complete the final 20km leg that included 3 river crossings.

Diederik and Tomas Van Vliet from Netherlands finished the 100km race with dances and loud music tied to their backpacks: “It was the first time for us to join any race and as a team, we started together and finished together. Today is my birthday so it was a birthday present for me and I think it is meaningful.”

60km champion, Lesley Walker from Australia shared her favorite part of course. “I liked the hills as I could see the different views during the weekends’ race and I will recommend this race to others for sure.”

60km French runner, Amine Jebira said: “It was amazing day and I will recommend the race to all my friends.”

100km runner, Alex Fox said: “The scenery was gorgeous and I look forward to coming back.”

Arnaud Mounier, the 60km runner from France shared his favorite course. “It was really an amazing race. My favorite part was when you went down the mountain through trees and see the whole place (Mongolia Steppe) at once.”

Olya Vasilenko from Russia shared her thoughts about completing her first 60km race. “I have never done a race before, so I was surprised that I finished the whole Action Asia 3-day race. I was so happy and enjoyed the scenery tremendously.”

Soha Kabbaj from France joined the race with her mother and her sisters. They crossed the finish line together every single day, holding hands while kissing each other on the cheeks. “It was a very good experience for me and for my family. My mother, my sister and I were all in the same team and we finished the race altogether,” said Kabbaj

“I feel that every moment was beautiful and the race was very well organized,” said Jacqueline Lau , the 60km runner from Hong Kong.

“It was a good race with many competitive runners and I loved it so much. I’m very glad that I attended this event this year,” said Yuet Wa Ching, the 60km runner from Hong Kong.

French 60km runner, Amane Kabbaj enjoyed her second Mongolia race. “The race was full of fun. It was the second time for me I joined the Mongolia race but I think it was even more enjoyable than last year.”

18-year-old German runner, Lili Filip enjoyed the race with team members. “It was my first time joining the 3-day race. I enjoyed running with the team members and faced all the courses challenges together.”

Charlotte Martin, the 60km runner from France said: “It was a crazy race. I came here with my boyfriend but we weren’t in a same team. I met a lot of new friends during the race.”

French runner, Vincent Durier won the 100km overall champion of the 2017 Mongolia 3-day Ultra-marathon in 11 hours 10 mins and 45 secs. “Day 3 was my favorite and the scenery of all 3 days was really nice. I don’t think winning the race is the most important things. I really enjoyed meeting people during the race,” said overall winner Durier.

British runner, Richard Roper enjoyed the 100k race. “Everything was beautiful. It was the first time for me to meet those people but I enjoyed staying with them.”

French 100km runner, Ziyad Karmy said: “Overall it was a very good race and was different from all the other races that I’ve joined. All three days were amazing and the views make me want to come back tomorrow.”

Another French runner, Mark Rafin shared his happiness of finishing the 100km. “It was my first time joining any 3 day race and I can’t believe I finished the whole race. So I’m really happy that I finally did it,” Said Rafin.

Leo Ng from Hong Kong said: “This was my third time joining Action Asia Events’ Mongolia race and it was still stunning. Comparing to 60km, I think joining the 100km can experience more and see more beautiful scenery and it was not as hard as I imagined,” said Leo winning the loudest applauses from all other participants by finishing with his persistence on the second day.

All participants got to live like a Nomad in Mongolian gers for 3 nights. Each ger was shared by 3-4 runners and at the awards ceremony, many joked about ger 18 becoming famous among all the other gers due to so many winners coming from lucky number 18.

Each runner received a finisher medal at the finish line on the last day, smiling and taking photos with lifetime friends whom they met 3 days ago. The awards ceremony was held at the newly constructed Olympic Residence built by Mongolia Properties.

For all the beauty and hospitality that Mongolia offered participants at the Mongolian Action Asia 3-day ultra-marathon, the event gave back to the local community purchasing school books and supplies for some of the underprivileged children in Mongolia.

A huge thanks to all the staff, marshals and sponsors who made this happen including Mongolian Properties, Invest Mongolia, Asia Pacific Investment Partners, MIAT, Cosman Health Group, Action X Store, Otterbox, OLN, Action Asia Foundation and Action Asia Events.

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