Preparations Gather Pace for Inaugural World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai
An event launch has been held with just over six weeks to go until the Amazing Thailand World Mountain and Trail Running Championships welcomes many of the sport’s best athletes to compete in Chiang Mai between 3-6 November.
More than 900 elite athletes from 46 Member Federations are set to race during the four-day festival, which features 80km and 40km trail races plus uphill mountain races for senior athletes, and classic up and down mountain races for both senior and U20 athletes.
A number of key figures came together at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Bangkok on Tuesday, as excitement continues to build for the first edition of an event that further develops the partnership between the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and the International Trail Running Association (ITRA), with support from World Athletics.
Situated 700km north of Bangkok, on the banks of the Ping River, Chiang Mai offers the most unforgettable beautiful scenery and is the largest tourist spot in the northern part of Thailand. The mountainous surroundings and the city’s growing reputation for outdoor mass sporting events make it the perfect place to host the first-ever combined World Championships.
Speakers at Tuesday’s launch event included Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Phiphat Ratchakitprakan; Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, Varawut Silpa-archa; Assistant of the Prime Minister Office, Prasan Wangrattanapranee; President of Athletics Association of Thailand, Police General Sant Sarutanont; Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn; Governor of the Sport Authority of Thailand, Kongsak Yodmanee; Governor of Chiang Mai Province, Prajon Prachsakul; Director General of the Department of Health, Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoen; Board Director of the National Sports Development Fund and Professional Sports Promotion, Supranee Guptasa; Alessio Punzi from World Athletics’ Competitions & Events department; and Hilary Walker from the International Association of Ultrarunners.
“We at World Athletics are delighted to see the first joint World Mountain and Trail Running Championships being held in Chiang Mai,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
“As off-road running continues to grow in popularity across the globe, and as we continually look to increase participation at all levels of our sport, we are pleased to be collaborating closely with the World Mountain Running Association, the International Association of Ultrarunners and the International Trail Running Association.
“Each of our organisations shares the common ambition of promoting running in all its guises,” he added. “We are working together to create more opportunities for distance runners across the globe to compete in a range of breathtaking landscapes and take on different challenges. Chiang Mai, with its striking mountains and ancient temples, is a great place for this inaugural event.”
The championship race action kicks off with the uphill mountain races on Friday 4 November before the long trail (80km) and short trail (40km) races on Saturday 5 November and then the classic mountain races on Sunday 6 November.
There are also mass race elements to the long trail and short trail events, as well as 10km and 21km road races.
Photos by Marco Gulberti, WMRC 2019, and the LOC.