Races · Thailand

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

by On Dec 19, 2017

Thailand’s first Skyrunning race, MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50, was flagged off in the dark at 5 a.m. on Sunday, 17 December 2017.

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 is the first and only trail running race that’s allowed to be held in Doi Inthanon - the highest mountain in Thailand. The race pushed participants to their limits with a challenging course coupled with an elevation of 2,565m.

The race started with the flag off for the 54km at Doi Inthanon National Park Headquarter at 5 a.m., followed by 31km category at 6:30 a.m. and 14km category at 7 a.m.

International runners grab top of podium

After a fierce competition, Hong Kong runner, Hui Ho Tat was crowned the overall champion of MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 for 54km category. Crossing the finish line in 06:48:58, Hui praised the stunning sceneries of the course,

I especially loved the view along the first part of the course, with the beautiful mountains in Thailand, which is totally different from what we have in Hong Kong and it was definitely my favourite part of today. However, the real challenge came in the second half of the course, the mud road and uphill sections were technical that required runners to have proper training before racing. I was really pleased to be the Hong Kong representative joining this amazing event with such a satisfying result!

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

50km Race start.

Meanwhile, in the women category, Canadian Kate Butcher claimed the 54km women’s title in 08:14:13. Winning her first ever champion title, Butcher was so excited and happy with her result,

I used to do half marathon before and just started trail running this summer, so I am so excited of winning this champion title! It was an adventurous course with very clear markings. It was so fun and enjoyable running on this beautiful course with the amazing views along! I will definitely participate in this race again next year!

The 2nd place of the men’s 54km category was won by Swiss Mathias Hasler with 07:03:23. He shared, “To me, trail running is a passion. I quit my job and started travelling and running around the world from 2 years ago, and racing here in Doi Inthanon, you can also see and run through the small villages which normal tourists can’t reach, so I liked this course a lot even if it was very challenging! I especially enjoyed running the uphill section after checkpoint 6, it was really nice!”

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At the 3rd place of the men’s 54km category, it was Thai Pornmongkol Phoothong who finished with 07:25:54. He said, “The race was impressive, when going uphill and running in the mist, it was stunning and beautiful with this all-natural environment. Also, I found it quite challenging when it comes to the continuous ups and downs as we don’t have much uphill in Thailand so I was not so used to the terrains and found it very tough.”

In the women’s 54km category, Hong Kong trail runner Cheung Man Yee grabbed the 2nd place in her very first oversea trail running race with 08:37:13. She said, “I didn’t expect much before participating the race as I had never been here before and had no idea what would happen. Therefore, having the chance today to stand on the podium is actually a bonus to me and I am so satisfied with my result! I found the terrains here very different from Hong Kong’s. Thailand has more mud trails and uphills here and Hong Kong trails have quite a lot of stairs. Overall, the course is really nice as you can also see the environment and atmosphere of the villagers in Doi Inthanon. I really enjoyed it a lot!”

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

Award Ceremony - 54km overall women top 3.

The 3rd place of the women’s 54km category went to Singaporean Hwee Hoon Khng, who crossed the finish line in 10:04:25. She shared, “I’m happy with my performance today, the course is cool with lots of hills and trees, which put together the stunning scenery, I especially enjoyed the section after checkpoint 6 with its breath-taking views! To me, the most challenging part was the downhill around checkpoint 7, as my legs got injured earlier, going downhill was painful, but still, I liked this race a lot and would absolutely join it again next year!”

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Winners of 31km Category

Adam Woolliscroft from Great Britain claimed the overall victory in the 31km race with 03:53:40. He called it “an adventurous race” and added, “There is no doubt that the race was challenging and tough. The ridgeline was absolutely beautiful and delight which was my favourite part by far. To me, the most challenging part was the long uphill section after the ridgeline, I think it was very adventurous as the course was off roads a lot.”

Less than 4 minutes after Wolliscroft crossed the finish line, Canadian Ashley Ramsay claimed the 31km female champion title, and the overall 2nd place of the race in 03:57:03. Racing in Asia for her first time, she found the race very challenging, “The terrains of the course are very similar to my hometown, Vancouver, but still, it was very tough. I am blown away by the technical course and stunning sceneries! Thank you, Action Asia Events, for hosting this great event and I am wishing to come back again.”

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

31km overall women top 3.

Winners of 14km Category

American Simon Hobbs won the champion title of the men's 14km category in 01:35:44 and was enjoying the race a lot. He recalled, “I think running up there in the mist was nice, it’s quite tough but I did enjoy it! What’s more, I was participating the race with a friend together, which was a really nice experience and I would definitely join it once again!”

Meanwhile, Thai Waraporn Kantamala won the female champion title of the 14km race with 02:12:58. She said, “If I have to describe the race in one word, it would definitely be ‘challenging’, however, I enjoyed it very much!”

The Surreal Beauty of Doi Inthanon Leaves MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50 Runners Wanting More

Award - 14km overall men top 3.

A Family of Trail Lovers and Champions

A British family of four came to Chiang Mai and joined the race together. 15-year-old James Dingley – the son – won the 3rd place in the 14km category. Meanwhile, Peter Dingley – the dad – also finished on the podium as the 2nd place of the 31km men’s category. Peter Dingley’s wife and daughter also finished the 14km course of MSIG Thailand Action Asia 50.

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Peter was very happy to race with his family in Thailand. He remarked, “We have been living in Hong Kong for 15 years. The course today was beautiful and there were lots of uphills, classic Southeast Asian trail which is beautiful to run on and beautiful to look at. The best part for me was the ridgeline, which was very off-road and jungle-like. You have to always push your way through and run as fast as you can, and that’s my favourite part as a big trail running fan. I absolutely loved the race and the whole experience.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of RunSociety.

Eva is a casual runner who has been hooked on marathons since her first race in 2011. She’s content to spend her weekends only on running. She is also a hiking enthusiast and traveling addict. When she’s not doing outdoor activities, she indulges in reading.

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