The Asia Trail Master (ATM) has released the first of a new series of videos called “The Tale of the Trail” keeping fans up-to-date with the running season. The ATM has races across Asia and declares a male and female winner at the end of the year. The first video deals with the havoc wreaked on the running season by the coronavirus.

A new “Tale of the Trail” will be released every second week. When the race calendar returns to normal, ATM organiser Kris Van de Velde will discuss results, their effect on the overall standings and interview runners. But for now, the guests are all race directors bar one.

Samie Vu, race director for Dalat Ultra Trail in Vietnam, was the first guest: “Social distancing in Vietnam is already closed and we are slowly back to work and back to business. We are hoping everything will be fine by June and the ultra trail will be as planned in June (20).”

She added it is unpredictable but she is optimistic. “Right now the border is closed, but we hope it will open soon.”

The race organisers have a meeting with the government soon to assess how to keep runners safe during the event.

Korea 50K organiser Jey Jang joined the video, too. Her event is supposed to take place on June 27, near Seoul.

“In Korea, the spread of Covid-19 has been reduced a lot,” she said. “For two months, most facilities have been closed, including the sports complex, the start and finish of the race. But many things are getting back to normal, step by step, so we are expecting the race to be held on the scheduled date.”

Veronika Vadovicova announces herself to the Asian trail running scene by winning the Asia Trail Master in her debut season. Photo: Asia Trail Master

Jang was unsure how it would affect foreign runners as there is still a 14-day quarantine period into Korea. But she is hopeful that will be lifted by the end of June.

Philippines Cordillera Mountain Ultra organiser JP Alipio is doubtful their race on June 28 will go ahead.

“With the situation in the Philippines and the lack of transport between towns, it’s looking like we might need to cancel this year, but it’s not something we have decided yet,” he said.

John Ellis on the Ultra Trail Chiang Rai. The Hong Kong legend expands his horizons to win the Asia Trail Master 2019. Photo: StudioZag/Asia Trail Master

The MUSPO Ultra, due to take place in the Philippines in July, may be moved to later in the year. Organiser Philip Anthony said: “For now, there is a specific order, posted by the local NGO, that all activities [in Mindanao] will be moved into September.

“We don’t have the exact timetable,” he said. “But since there is no vaccine, we cannot compromise the health of everyone.”

Anthony is unsure if they would postpone or cancel the event, but hopes to make a decision this week.

The Cameron Ultra in Malaysia, due to take place in July, has already been cancelled.

“We had to come to a very sad decision,” said director Hazemi Hamidi. “Right now, the current situation in Asia, we can see the curve has been flattened in the last two weeks, but that’s mostly due to the restriction of movements. In terms of border movements, lockdown is still happening.”

The video ended with an interview with 2017 ATM champion Kim Matthews.

Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.