Special Report: The Columbia Trail Masters 2012


Next month, Phuket will lend its lush tropical setting to hosting its first off-road adventure race – the second edition of the Columbia Trail Masters 2012.

Organized by Active Management Asia, in collaboration with Columbia, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nok Air and PTT Plc and hosted by Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club, Episode Two of Thailand Trail Running Championship will take place on May 6.

January 22 this year saw a crowd of over 450 runners gather in Pattaya for the first Columbia Trail Masters Race of the year. Set in Khao Mai Kheow’s forest, the event welcomed back many competitors from last year, as well as a number of new faces.

Described as a mixture between hiking and road-running, trail running is a new and relatively growing sport that combines the passion for adventure in the great outdoor with physical and mental endurance associated with marathon-running. Decidedly different from road running and track running, trail running generally takes place on hiking trails in natural settings.

The event, based at the leisure club in Khao Phra Taew National Park, will comprise a 21-km Half Marathon, a 10-km trail run, and a 3-km Fun Run for participants of all ages. The race is set to offer refreshingly new routes that travel along scenic trails exploring the hilly course and the open farmlands of tropical Phuket.

Serge Henkens, Managing Director of Active Management Asia, said that in addition to improving fitness levels, trail running proves to be gentler on the body’s bones and joints. Unlike running on road surfaces, trail running has a decreased impact on the joints and back as the foot strike takes place on softer surfaces.

Speaking of the future of adventure races in Thailand, Mr Henkens said the sport is gradually gaining popularity in the country as every new event sees a bigger number of local and expat runners.

Mr Henkens also revealed that the third and final edition of the Columbia Trail Master this year will conclude on Samui island on September 29, with another adventure race expected to be held in Krabi province next year.

Kritsada Atthapant, Columbia’s Brand manager, said with the success from the first edition of the race, he expects over 400 participants at the Phuket event.

He added that to register for the Columbia Trail Masters Championship in Phuket, interested participants can log onto www.ama-events.com or register in person at Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club from March 29-May 2.