Where to find Mountain Ultras (Skyrunning) in Southeast Asia

Summits.com's listings of mountain running races in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indochina

May 21, 2019

Where is the best place to skyrun in Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asia has pristine ecosystems and pretty high mountains within short reach of major Southeast Asian cities, making it a great place for a weekend skyrunning race. 

Here is our roundup of the races that we’ve found in 2019…

Indonesia

Near Jakarta, the Gede-Pangrango Ultra is run here every year on this double-headed volcano that is surprisingly well-known for its biodiversity despite being just to the south of a raging megapolis. .

In Central Java – nearby Surabaya, Semarang or Yogyakarta – Goat Run Indonesia runs a few skyrunning races throughout the year, namely to Mount Lawu, Slamet, and Salak. In the past they seemed to have offered Mount Merapi, but probably stopped because it’s currently erupting. Also, the Mantra Summits Challenge will run again this July around Mount Arjuna.

In East Java, the Bromo Marathon will be held again this September. There have been a few other skyrunning events around the incredible Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, which includes Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, both beautiful and active volcanoes.  The Ijen Crater – a surreal and active volcano famed for its blue fire – will hosts an Ultra this August.

On Lombok, Mount Rinjani – probably the most beautiful mountain in Indonesia – hosts the Rinjani 100 each year.  Although nearby Bali has hosted races on Mount Agung in the past, but it’s currently erupting and the Indonesian Government has set up an exclusion zone.

The Philippines

The Philippines has an active Skyrunning community, and some great mountains to run on too, making it probably the second best country in Southeast Asia to find skyrunning races.

The Philippines Skyrunning Association – which is registered with the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) – hosts the Pilipinas Akyathlon which finishes at the summit of Mount Inoman. But an organisation called V2S seems to take skyrunning more seriously, and puts on a few skyrunning events each year across the archipelago, including up the Philippines’ crown jewel – Mount Apo. There is also an ultra run yearly up the 2,000 metre Mount Tilinis volcano through some very thick jungle, and the less attended Hungduan National Climbathon, which climbs 2,642 metres up Mount Napulauan.

Malaysia

On Borneo, the ISF-registered Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon covers 21 km up Southeast Asia’s most treasured mountain. 

Peninsular Malaysia hosts the annual Malaysian Mountain Trail Festival, which this year will be centred around Maxwell Hill near Taiping, up near Penang. There are also regular runs in the Cameron Highlands, and up Gunung Panti in Johor Province (not far from Singapore).

 

Indochina (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam)

Indochina hasn’t taken to skyrunning as much yet.

In Thailand, the Ultra Trail Chiang Mai in August reaches about 1,000m in vertical climbing, but doesn’t summit either of Doi Inthanon or Doi Chiang Dao – the country’s two tallest mountains that are nearby Chiang Mai.

In Viet Namthe Vietnam Trail Series includes a Vietnam Mountain Marathon in the stunning Northern region Sapa in September, but doesn’t currently summit Mount Fansipan.

There are ultras around Luang Prabang in Laos, and around Ankor Wat in Cambodia, but they’re not skyrunning in those countries yet.

Are you organising a skyrunning race?

Please get in touch with us and we’ll put it up here. Just email [email protected] with the details and a link.

Want to Get Into Skyrunning?

You best get fit! Here’s out advice on how to start.