With the inaugural UTMB World Series now in full swing with 25 events scheduled in 2022 and thousands of runners across the world signed up and ready to compete, the organizers are already looking ahead to 2023 and the continued expansion of the global circuit to give more people the chance to meet their extraordinary at a UTMB World Series event.
Today, at a press conference in Bangkok attended by senior government officials including Mr. Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, it was confirmed that a brand-new event, Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB, will join the UTMB World Series in 2023. It will become the second event in the country alongside Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB, giving Asia-Pacific runners more opportunities to live the UTMB experience and collect Running Stones to access UTMB Mont-Blanc and the UTMB World Series Finals.
The event will be held in Betong – a unique destination for a trail running race, deep in the jungle in southern Thailand near the Malaysian border. Three distances – 100km, 50km and 25km – are confirmed, giving runners of all abilities the chance to immerse themselves in the unique and breath-taking nature of the unspoilt jungle trails, while running in the footprints of the jungle animals.
An area seeped in history, runners in the 100km race will even have the chance to delve into the past, with a course that takes them below the lush forest and through the hidden Piyamit Tunnel system, built by the now-defunct Malaya Communist Party in 1979 to hide from airstrikes and store supplies. Hot springs and the Intasorn Waterfall will also be highlights on the longest distance.
Following a successful test event in early May, UTMB Group Chairwoman Catherine Poletti said that Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB met all the criteria to become a UTMB World Series event. “At UTMB World Series, our global events are the best trail running events on the planet – but more than this, they must be able to showcase the local culture and environment and take place in an iconic destination to appeal to runners and allow them to share the adventure with their families and friends.
The test event earlier this month proved exceptional. After that, we have no doubt that Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB offers something truly unique in trail running and tourism, and importantly has the best organizational standards, great courses that showcase the local culture and environment, and is safe, fair, and sustainably organised.
I’d like to thank the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Southern Borders Provinces Administration Center (SBPAC) for their commitment to making Betong a destination for trail running athletes from around the world. We are very proud to support their vision of using sport to drive inbound tourism to the area and to promote it on the global stage as a tourist destination.”
Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn highlighted the significance of the event to the region. “ Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB is a trail running event that brings the uniqueness of the Thailand’s southern jungle – rainforest jungle with high humidity around Thai-Malaysian border – to challenge trail runners around the world. Also, it reveals the city of Betong, a border town with a unique multicultural identity, the boutique destination, to the world, especially the community of trail runners. It is the pride of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of achieving UTMB® standard, having two world-class UTMB World Series events in Thailand.”
Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB will be organized by the same team behind Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB, a spectacular event based around the highest mountain in the country that takes runners to the rooftop of Thailand. In just three successful editions, the event and the organizers have proven its position as a world-class trail running race, earning its place as the Asia-Pacific UTMB World Series Major in 2022.
With added appeal for international runners, UTMB World Series Majors give all participants additional qualification chances for the UTMB World Series Finals at UTMB Mont-Blanc. The top 10 male and female runners gain automatic access to the UTMB World Series Finals, and all race finishers are granted double the number of Running Stones compared to other World Series Events, which are used as entries in the Finals lottery.
Entries for Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB will officially open on the 8 June.
Amazean Jungle Trail by UTMB is the first new event to be announced for 2023, with further new events in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America also anticipated. Bringing together the world’s leading international events, the UTMB World Series gives both elite and passionate runners the chance to experience the UTMB adventure in the more stunning locations and to begin their quest to UTMB Mont-Blanc.