On Saturday morning, 3 February 2018, as many as 2,700 runners from 50 countries competed in The North Face 100 Thailand 2018, at Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district. A cool weather front over Thailand’s northeast region provided perfect race conditions for participants.
New tougher race courses with increased elevation surrounding Khao Yai National Park challenged participants from all five distances – 15km, 25km, 50km, 75km and 100km.
The gruelling 100km distance saw 287 runners at the starting line at 5 a.m. flag off. Thailand’s two-time winner Sanya Khanchai led the pack early in the race, but at the 36km mark was overtaken by David Emch (USA) who then set a blistering pace over the remainder of the course with a finishing time of 09:46:37.
Following closely behind Emch, Kristian Morgan (GBR) crossed the finish line two minutes after Emch with 09:48:30. Quang Tran (VNM), the winner of the 2017 Vietnam Mountain Marathon (100km), rounded out the male podium of 100km distance with 09:56:36. Meanwhile, Kanchai had to settle for fourth.
In the 100km women’s division, Carole Fuchs (FRA) led the race from start to finish and smashed the course record by more than 40 minutes, finishing in a time of 10:21:58. Almost two hours behind her was new talent Wipawee Pratumsuwan (THA) who was racing her first ever 100km ultra in 12:18:24. Kazumi Kawamoto (JPN) finished third with 12:56:01.
Petr Novotny (CZE) was running second to Edgar Puruganan (PHL) in the early stage of the men’s 75km race but, after Split 2, found an extra gear to take the lead, crossing the line first in 07:32:06. Keisuke Endo (JPN) finished second and Edgar Puruganan in third.
Last year’s 75km women’s champion, Naomi Imaizumi (JPN), defended her title and did so resoundingly with a finish time of 08:17:29, two hours ahead of Kanokkorn Vitesakan (THA) and Kristi Wollbrink (USA) in the third.
John Ray Onifa (PHL) led the 50km field from start to finish, crossing the line in a time of 04:01:50. Daved Simpat (MAS), a top male runner who has won Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon Race in the past, finished third behind Ivan Vlasenko (RUS) in second.
Despite a strong line-up, Thailand-based Polish ultra-runner, Monika Jablonska won the women’s 50km division with 05:48:13, almost 25 minutes from Naomi Henshall (AUS) in second and Caroline Goransson (SWE) in third.
In the 25km division, it was Thai super-climber, Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana, who triumphed on the mountainous course despite a niggling injury with a time of 01:58:25. Juanico Coli Chepeda (IDN) took the second place, while Blair McBride (CAN) in third.
The women’s 25km race saw a trio of Americans on the podium. Hannah Larson managed to stretch out a two-minute lead and held on for the win in 02:25:38, ahead of Xiomara Templeton in second and Keesha Archard in third.
Reza Rebuan (MAS) set a blistering pace over the tough 15km course finishing in 01:18:55 while Wasan Ratana-Aporn (THA) claimed second just 10 seconds ahead of Hong Kong’s Man Lit Ho. In the women’s division, it was Juliana Perera (USA) who secured victory ahead of Guek Hoon Neo (SIN) in second and Pennurat Nonsawat (THA) third.
2018 is the seventh edition of The North Face 100® Thailand.