Almost 3,900 trail runners lined up for the
eighth edition of The North Face 100 Thailand in what was a
record turnout for Thailand's top trail running event.
Representing more than 30 countries, the intrepid runners competed
across five distances – 15km, 25km, 50km, 75km and the iconic
100km, from which the event gets its name, in Pak Chong District
Nakhon Ratchasima province on Saturday, 26 January 2019.
Increased elevation for all distances made the popular
course even more challenging and the tough cut-off times for the ultradistances (50km, 75km and 100km) have seen runners dub the
course a “fast 100km”, which this year was underscored by a high
DNF rate for the ultra distances.
A bumper field of 1,420
runners running the 50km, 75km and 100km included a number or
returning winners with Thai stars Jay Jantaraboon and Sanya
Khanchai (100km winner, 2013, 2014) going head-to-head in the
100km while The North Face Athlete Vlad Ixel (100km winner 2014,
50km winner 2016) and last year's 100km winner, David Emch (USA),
both competing in the 50km. 2,486 runners competed in the 15km and
25km including many first-time trail runners underscoring the
popularity of the sport in Thailand.
Jantaraboon (THA) set a blistering pace leading the male 100km
field through the 20km stage, ten minutes ahead of Sanya Khanchai (THA) in
second, and Atthapol Intajak (THA) in third, while last year's
second place finisher, Kristian Morgan (GBR), was in fifth.
At the half way point the order was Jantaraboon, Khanchai,
Intajak and Morgan. Despite twisting his ankle, Morgan was on a
mission and by 62km Morgan had moved into second and was set on
chasing down Jantaraboon. However, he was to remain the
bridesmaid, having finished second in 2018 and again this year. Jantaraboon managed to extend his lead finishing in a time of
09:55:40 with Morgan in second. Intajak got the better of Khanchai
in the last 20km and finished third overall.
put in a good showing in the female 100km but it was American
Charlyn Holden who claimed the win in 15:03:23, ahead of Duangruethai Pakdeevanissukho (THA) and Uthaiwan Khunothai (THA).
A little over a minute separated the top two
in the men's 75km field. Closely tracking each other around the
course, it was Narin Keawsompak (THA) who managed to create a one
minute gap and take the title ahead of Wai Kin Lee with Niti
Lertritsirikul (THA) further back in third.
(JPN) dominated the women's field with a strong performance to win
the 2019 75km title ahead of Kanokkorn Vitesakan (THA) in second
and Jennilea Hortop (CAN) in third.
Ixel (AUS) got off to a flying start in the men's 50km and within
the first 11km had already put four minutes between him and his
nearest rival. He continued to stretch out a lead finishing clear
of the field in a time of 04:33:07. Paul Dunn (GBR) held off some
stiff competition to place second ahead of Chinese runner, Wai Hei
Speaking after the race, Ixel said, “The course has got
better each year. This year it was much tougher and it was
excellent. Thailand deserves a course like this. Congratulations
to the race organisers on a good job.”
In the women's
division, Thai runner Phitchanan Mahachot, put on a masterclass.
Having won the 100km in 2017, this year she opted for the 50km and
there was no doubting her speed, finishing in a fast time of
05:21:07, 30 minutes ahead of second placer Monika Lidia Jablonska
(POL). Xiomara Templeton from (USA) finished in third.
The cool weather saw some close racing in both the men
and women's 25km divisions. Ponsin Fookammerd (THA) got the better
of Marcus Down (CAN) and Witchawat Burapavong (THA) who placed
second and third respectively while in the women's division just
seconds separated second place finisher Sirikamon Watcharaseemanan
(THA) and Sophie Mazieres (FRA), with Lindsay Nickel (USA) setting
a blistering pace finishing in 02:42:46.
Romain Chevalier (FRA) got off to a fast start in the 15km men and
never looked back, beating last year's winning time and finishing
the course in a time of 01:13:55. Less than two minutes back, was Labhon Rakchart (THA) in a time of 01:15:29 with Wasan
Ratana-Aporn (THA) in third.
In the women's race it was
close at the front with Sabrina Gatti (FRA) edging out Torill Haga
Olufsen (NOR) by less than 30 seconds with Pornuma Onnoum (THA)