Cordilleran elite long distance runner Sandi Menchi Abahan is now preparing to defend her title as the winner of the first World’s Highest Obstacle Course Races (OCR) held in Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last year. The title defense is set on May 4-10 in the same mountain.
Abahan, along with four other Filipinos were recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for winning and finishing the highest altitude OCR at 5,714 meter above sea level in Mount Kilimanjaro. They are currently trainingin Baguio City in preparation for international events.
Abahan said she is glad that Altitude OCR World Series-Asia will be held in Mount Pulag on March 25-27 as this is a good opportunity for them to train for their upcoming competition in Tanzania.
"Ti challenge talaga ejay ket jay altitude kasi it really makes you dizzy, (causes) headache, makasarsarwa ka pero at least, I managed a maka-summit even with all the altitude. Panpanunutek nga this is for my country, this is for myself and I have to conquer it para iti am-amin ken para kenyak metlaeng (The challenge there is the altitude because it really makes you dizzy, causes headache, makes you sick but at least, I managed to reach the summit even with all the altitude. I've been thinking this is for my country, this is for myself and I have to conquer it for all and for me)," she disclosed.
She is also set to join the Altitude OCR World Finals to be held in Mount Toubkal, Morocco in August and the Altitude OCR World Championships to be held in Mount Everest, Nepal come November.
Meanwhile, she appealed for the continuous support of her kababayan for her upcoming races.
"It is a big boost nu adda kami iti outside country nga agmes-message da, they're cheering for you ket nagmayat ti rikna. Salamat iti amin nga agsupsuporta, please continue praying and supporting us kasi it's also a big help uray haan tayo agiinammo am-ami, it's a big help na mangngeg mi a we are supported (It is a big boost when we are outside the country and they message us, cheering for us. It makes us happy. Thank you for all those who are supporting us, please continue praying and supporting us because it is a big help even we do not personally know each other, it's a big help when we hear we are being supported)," Abahan shared.
Abahan grew up in Baguio City. Her father is from the province of Ifugao while her mother is from Mountain Province.
She started her athletic career in high school after her father encouraged her to join sports. She became a scholar on track and field in college. After graduating, she said she looked for more adventures and she tried joining marathons, trail runs, triathlon, and duathlon until World Obstacle Federation Competition Head Thumbie Remigio encouraged her to join the OCR.
In March 2019, she qualified to be part of the national team and represented the country during the South East Asian Games. (JDP/DEG-PIA CAR)