The King of the Mountain Trail Run Philippines (KOTM) series consists of five trail running events held annually in the vast Cordillera mountain range in northern Philippines.
Its home base is the town of Kayapa, in the province of Nueva Vizcaya.
It is organized by frontRUNNER Magazine (frontrunnermagph.com) under the helm of its Editor-in-Chief, Jonel Mendoza, a trail enthusiast and ultramarathoner.
KOTM was born out of Jonel’s desire to establish a defining trail race in the Philippines that would enable him to share his admiration for the beautiful mountains and views offered by his home province. It is partly for this reason that all events in the series start in the darkness of the early morning: to give participants a chance to partake of the charming scenery along the way.
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Runners who officially complete four successive KOTM events: MUM, FL100, P1, and H1 in one year are awarded the KOTM400 pendant.
Those who officially finish three H1 races are also recognized and automatically elevated to the KOTM Hall of Fame.
The series was formally launched on April 1, 2012 with the holding of the first Mount Ugo Marathon (MUM) and its half marathon side event. The Old Spanish Trail 60K (OST60) and Four Lakes 100K (FL100) ultramarathons were held less than two months later, on May 26-27, 2012.
In February of the following year, the pioneer edition of the Hardcore 100 Miles (H1), the longest and toughest event of the series was staged, followed by the MUM again in March, and OST60 and FL100 in May.
In 2014, another event, the Pulag 100K (P1), was opened by the organizers to give H1 aspirants a feel of the longer, 100-mile course. The P1 route is H1’s first 100 kilometers.
In 2015 the route of Old Spanish Trail was shortened from 60 to 50 kilometers. The sequence of KOTM events was also modified so that the lesser distance races would be scheduled earlier in the year.
The KOTM series now kicks off with the Mount Pack Ultramarathon (MPU50) in January, followed by the Old Spanish Trail 50K (OST50) and Four Lakes 100K (FL100) in February, the Pulag 100K (P1) in April, and finally, Hardcore 100 Miles (H1) in May.
KOTM is accredited by the Department of Tourism of the Philippines as well as international trail running associations in Europe (ITRA) and the United States.
Since 2013, KOTM events have been point-earning races for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®), Europe’s largest ultra race.
For UTMB® 2017 and 2018, Mount Ugo Marathon has been rated 2 points, OST 50K – 3 points, Four Lakes 100K – 5 points, Pulag 100K – 5 points and Hardcore Hundred Miles – 6 points (ref:www.ultratrailmb.com).
KOTM’s centerpiece event, Hardcore Hundred Miles or H1 is the only ultramarathon in Asia aside from UTMF in Japan that stands as a lottery entry race for two of the most prestigious ultramarathons in the US: the Hardrock 100 Miles, and Western States Endurance Run, the world’s oldest 100-mile race.
KOTM is designed for serious runners; therefore, participants must come well-trained and well-prepared. However, despite its demands on physical and mental stamina, the event promises great rewards with panoramic views, unpolluted air, and its embracing culture. The set-up is austere, but the atmosphere is friendly and cheerful.
Participants will be pleased to know that part of their registration fees goes to various outreach programs that the organizers conduct throughout the year in the town of Kayapa and surroundin upland villages.
KOTM organizers are committed to maintaining the quality of their races for the benefit of the runners while ensuring sustainable development in local communities as well as concern for the environment.
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King Of The Mountain - Trail Run Philippines