Trans Taiwan Ultra-Marathon 2015 Day 1 Report by Bill Purves
A 3-year project comes to fruition. This morning, Saturday March 28 saw the start of the trans-Taiwan 2015, the third leg of the association’s Theta project. It began two years ago with the around-Taiwan race, continued last year with the cross-island race, and this year the course is from Fuguei lighthouse to Eluanbi lighthouse. Almost 100 ultra-runners answered the starting gun at Cape Fuguei this morning at 6AM, including 39 who will do the entire 8 days. Three of this morning’s starters, if they finish the 8 days, are in line to have finished the entire 3-year Theta project, finishing all 3 ultras.
The first day was a relatively easy 62K, finishing in Taoyuan. Tomorrow, though, the boys and girls are on for a 94K stage to San Yi. There are refreshment stations about every 8 to 10K, but they have limited opening times. The time limits are calculated on 6km/hr, but that includes all stops. If you’re too late, no support; if you miss the cutoff time at the end of the stage, you’re disqualified. In fact, though, today was a special stage because about 20K from the start the runners had to take the ferry across the river from Tamsui to Bali. That gave everyone a break about a third of the way.
The race has its own chef, and on arrival in Guanyin everyone enjoyed a hot bowl of fish and noodles. Tonight’s hotel is also a cut above last evening’s Jinshan Youth Activities Centre. And there’s a lady right across the street selling beer. The weather today was beautiful, but the runners had no sooner finished than they were starting their re-hydration.
First home today was Lai Ming-Yung in about 6 hours 15 minutes for 62.2K. He was followed closely by Frenchman Olivier Lavastre and Tien Fu-Kang. The first two women were also in the top 10 overall for the stage – Han Ying from China and Taiwan’s Cha Lu-Hsin.
The action starts again tomorrow t 6AM, and you can follow it live. The race has an Android app you can download from https://ultrarun-ctautw.c9.io/upload/ITTU.apk. Click on any runner and the app will show you a map with their current location using the GPS on their phone. Try it out! Still 7 days to go.