Rugged trail race conquers Covid

BANGKOK, 6 November 2020: Thailand’s highest mountain, Doi Inthanon, was transformed into a trail-running mecca last weekend to host the first Thailand event organised by UTMB.

UTMB Group’s media statement said it was the first event of the year calling it “an exceptional return to the mountains.”

Despite the challenges associated with organising mass participation events during the ongoing pandemic, more than 1,500 runners were able to safely take to the start line and experience the beautiful trail network of the Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai.

All the participants were either Thais or expatriates currently living in Thailand, but a further 500 runners from around the world joined them remotely for their own virtual race.

For UTMBGroup, the event represents a significant turning point in the organisation of events following this years’ health crisis. Even the remnants of the typhoon Molave, which brought rain and strong winds with it, couldn’t dampen the spirits of the runners or the resilience of the organisers, who had to implement several course changes across the five distances of 100 miles, 120km, 80km, 25km and 10km to deliver the event to the highest of standards.

Due to the global travel restrictions, the local organising team, Running Connect, were supported remotely by UTMB Group, who set a command centre at the home of UTMB Mont Blanc in Chamonix. A permanent video link was in place allowing the UTMB team to support with all race management aspects including the safety of runners based on LiveTrail and Logicoss software.

At the close of the race, organisers Running Connect, the Sports Authority of Thailand and UTMB Group confirmed the second edition would take place in 2021, with the exact date to be announced before the end of November.

UTMB Group chairwomen Catherine Poletti said: “The quality of the race was exceptional despite the weather, the impact of COVID-19 and this new remote way of working… We look forward to growing Thailand by UTMB, which has shown it has the potential to be a leading, standard-setting event in Asia.”

Thai elite athlete, Sanya Kanchai, won the 100-mile race in 26:40:06, a course that includes steep climbs of varied technicality up Pha Ngam, aka Two-Seasons Mountain, past ancient temples, skirting the rice fields and with stunning views of the Mae Klang waterfall. The first female runner was Phitchanan Mahachot, who crossed the finish line in 36:16:38.

The UTMB Group team are now preparing to support the upcoming Panda Trail by UTMB which takes place in less than three weeks, in Dujiangyan and Wenchuan, Sichuan Province of China.

Results:
Inthanon 6, 170km/7,630m+

Men
1 – Sanya Khanchai
2 – Evgeii Makarov
3 – Perawat Silapaariya

Women
1 – Phitchanan Mahachot
2 – Montha Sunthornwit
3 – Nutcha Phalee

Inthanon 5, 119km/5,400m+

Men
1 – Michael Mclean
2 – Somyot Puangjit
3 – Mont Watanasiriroch

Women
1 – Nuntaporn Tengamnuay
2 – Natthanan Matthanang
3 – Nattha Bunlum

Inthanon 4, 80km/4,000m+

Men
1 – Krisada Thongjib
2 – Erik Bohm
3 – Saranyabhong Singhakrittaya

Women
1 – Naramoan Rojjanasena
2 – Wannisa Kongtong
3 – Piraporn Senkaew

Inthanon 1, 24km/900m+

Men
1 – Kevin Vancampenhout
2 – Theethach Watthanatidpong
3 – Anat Langprasert

Women
1 – Keerati Tepinta
2 – Jintana Pusdee
3 – Thantita Dechakulrueangrot

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