Just when you think you're tough enough

Trail Running

Two Doi Inthanon by UTMB Races in One Weekend For Trisha Thow

Talking about getting the best bang for the buck. Most ordinary runners would likely plan for a handful of races in a year, then train hard and pray harder they would complete those races.

But not for ultra trail addict Trisha Thow. Full of energy, zest and a wonderful smile, she goes to races almost week after week, for months on end. 

For last week’s Doi Inthanon by UTMB from 7 to 10 December, she upped the game another notch by running 50km on Saturday, then another 25km on Sunday.

Perhaps, she might be thinking “If I need to pay for flights and accommodation anyway, then why bother with doing one race when I can do two, right?”. If this motivation wows you, then consider a double wow on her lead up towards the Doi Inthanon weekend.

The Lead Up: Malaysia, India, Singapore

The month leading to the Doi Inthanon events was nothing short of eventful from Trisha. 

In early November, Trisha was slipping and falling in the muddy Malaysia Mountain Trail Festival (MMTF) 100km. Gruelling. Brutal. No less in Perak, Malaysia’s wettest region. She was there with the sole aim to get on the Grandmaster Title board of Asia Trail Master (ATM). And conquered, she did, with a 10th place finish in her category.

Soon after, she found herself in another ATM race. This time, it was the Malnad Ultra 50km that took place in high altitude coffee plantations, about five hours away from Bengaluru, India. She finished with a 7th place in the Women’s Open. But it was not exactly a “finish” for this gutsy lady. 

While the body battered, her mind whispered to her that “I can do more!”. With six days to go until her first Doi Inthanon event, Trisha completed her LSD run at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. A 5:30hr effort as a warm up to the upcoming back-to-back races.

Doi Inthanon by UTMB: 50km on Saturday, 25km on Sunday

Trisha had thought that the 50km race on Saturday would be a nice finale to cap the full year of racing, a triumphant closing act.  

But she gambled with an encore. The 25km Sunday race was a mere five hours after the 50km one.

Thrilled but apprehensive, Trisha knew that Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) would set in on her tired, stiff muscles. Putting on the post-race alchemist cap, she iced her quads, elevated her legs to allow a good blood flow, and slept for all of three hours.

“For every race, I do my best to enjoy it. Being with like minded runners really excites me, challenging our body limits, fatigue, and a promise to the mountain gods, “I am not done yet, let’s do this 25km and rush to the airport!”, said Trisha.

The 25km race on Sunday was a mental beast for her. About 90% of the 25km course followed the 50km one. A deja vu. 

“It was like revisiting a gruelling dream, each rise and fall etched into our aching legs. My plan is to start slow, and when I am happy that my legs are fully warmed up, I will fly downhill again”, added Trisha.

The day earlier, the 50km course with the evenly spread elevations and two seemingly endless climbs had tested her physical limits. So, when she witnessed a runner being stretchered out on the second day, reality sunk in that i the pursuit of getting to the finish line, this sport of trail running carried with it inherent risks.

Going downhill fast would typically be her forte, but it was not the case on Sunday. 

Loose rocks and sand transformed each step into a gamble, thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. Slips and falls, jumps over fallen trees, small dance steps downhill and Superman-style tumbles, Trisha experienced them all. But she got up, dusted herself off and kept chasing until the finish line.


Trisha’s Fly-in, Race, Race Again, Fly-Out 4-Day Itinerary

  • Thursday: Arrived in Chiang Mai.
  • Friday: Spent a night within the Chiang Mai city walls with her sister. Collected race bibs and met other runners from Singapore. Checked into Teewana Resort, located about 5km from the race site.
  • Saturday: Started at 7am. Finished the 50km race in 10:06 hrs!
  • Sunday: Started at 5:30am. Finished the 25km race in 5:34hrs. Flew back to Singapore at 5:40pm and arrived home by midnight.


Trisha’s advice for the next edition participants:

  • UTMB points: This race is a major UTMB qualifier for the Asia Pacific region, offering double points for the UTMB lottery.
  • Travel: Getting to Chiang Mai is easy with direct flights from Singapore on Scoot and AirAsia. Stopovers in Bangkok or Malaysia are also options for extra R&R. Book flights early! Hotels are plentiful.
  • Local transportation: Red taxis and songthaews (red pick-up trucks with benches) are readily available and can be booked through Grab or Bolt. The organiser also provides some transportation to the city centre, but expect long queues and waiting time.

It is never too early to plan for races in 2024. Trisha is planning to run in the races below. Give her a high five if you bump into her in the races below.

Trisha’s planned races in 2024:

  • 20 Jan: HK100, Hong Kong
  • 9 Mar: Silabur Ultra, Sarawak
  • 16 Mar: Sierra Madre, Philippines
  • 27-28 Apr: Spartan Johor
  • 10-12 May: Ultra Trail Snowdonia, Wales UK
  • 31 May- 1 Jun: Merapoh Rainforest Trail 100
  • 9-11 Aug: Ultimate Trails of Penang Eco

The year is ending. It’s time to plan for races in 2024. Would you consider to do back-to-back races?