Ultra Trail Panoramic: Thailand's new ultra challenge
For the first time since the launch of the Asia Trail Master series in 2015, runners will score championship and Grandmaster Quest points in Thailand this weekend. The inaugural Ultra Trail Panoramic, organised by Teelakow - known of UTKC -, is a great new addition to the race calendar. It is not for beginners, though, as the programme consists of 100 miles and 100 km races only. Experienced trail runners, on the other hand, love the notion of running all the way from A to B. In the case of the 100 milers that implies running from Maehongson to Pai, whereas the 100k participants start their journey 60 km down the trail. It is a race in the Northwest of the country with lots of variety in terrain, and with the biggest obstacle coming at the end: Mieang Mountain! A long mountain climb with 1200 metres of elevation gain, before the big descent to the finish. Total elevation gain for the 100 miles is approx 7000 hm, and 4200 hm for the 100k.
Asia Trail Grandmaster Aleksis Capili will be at the start in Maehongson, and of course for the long distance. Having just completed his seventh Grandmaster distance in Clark two weeks ago, Capili can claim his 8th point as he finishes in Pai, which would bring him within two points of the second level in the Grandmaster Quest: the two-stars shield. Moreover, the Thailand-based Filipino can still improve on his 2016 championship ranking as well. Currently sixth with 1147 points, a good result this weekend can eliminate his rather modest UTHK result of early this year and as such still jump ahead of Abdul Rahman and into the top 5. Also Brunei's Ali Ajis Rasil, currently 11th in the championship standings, will be trying to get into the top 10 still, as well as scoring his fourth Grandmaster Quest point
This weekend we will get to know a lot of local Thai runners entering the Asia Trail Master scene. Next year there will be several points races in Thailand, which has also fully embraced the sport of trail running. The first 2017 appointment will of course be UTKC, or Ultra Trail Unseen Koh Chang, on 17-18 February. That established event has been accredited with the Thailand SuperTrail label, which implies bonus points for the 2017 Asia Trail Master championship for all finishers!