Chinese runners dominate Thailand by UTMB race

Zhao Jiajiu and Xiang Fuzhao both set course record times

Zhao Jiajiu

by Trail Running |

Chinese athletes dominated the main race at the Thailand by UTMB festival held last weekend.

Zhao Jiajiu and Xiang Fuzhao set record times as they won the 100-mile long Inthanon 6, which began on Friday and finished on Saturday.

Zhao led from the gun and went away to clock 21 hours 56 minutes 28 seconds after registering 7500m of ascent. He was comfortably ahead of Philippines' Ray Onifa (22:34:58), while Nepal's Sange Sherpa was next in 25:18:30.

Afterwards, he said: “The course is just like standing in the rainforest – it’s very beautiful with great views. The second part is even more beautiful but tougher to run too. I am very happy that I finished and I’m looking forward to coming back again to break the record.”

Xiang was similarly dominant, being an hour ahead after just 40km. She eventually crossed the line in 26:01:23. Japan’s Kimino Miyazaki (27:20:18) and Kaori Niwa (30:17:13) also made the podium.

The winner said: “The trail was stunning as we passed two spots over 2000 meters about sea level. I could see a sea of cloud and the sunrise. It’s so beautiful. It feels like the trip was really worth it.”

The event was the final race of this year's Ultra-Trail World Tour.

Xiang Fuzhao
Xiang Fuzhao ©Thailand by UTMB

The 107km Inthanon 5 was won in 14:32:22 by leading Thai trail runner Jay Kiangchaipaiphana, who held off France’s Cedric Golea. Top woman was Nepali runner Sunmaya Budha, who finished just four seconds behind the second placed male runner in 14:54:01.

Thailand by UTMB marked the end of the 2021 UTMB Group series of events, which has included Val d’Aran by UTMB in Spain and the pinnacle of the trail running year, UTMB Mont-Blanc. Next year the inaugural UTMB World Series will comprise about 30 of the world's best events.

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