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Trails Changed My Life – Thailand by UTMB

If you follow Asia lifestyle Magazine already then you might have noticed pictures of jungle trails popping up, this is the story of how trails changed my life.

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My Journey Along The Trail.

The story behind these mountainous jungle trail pictures is an incredible lifestyle transformation journey that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. My name is Asa Marsh and Trails changed my life.

In 2020 I was a business owner that had to close down all tourism related operations, which also sadly forced me to let all those staff go. It led to me destroying my body by emotionally over eating and being constantly sofa bound. My lifestyle wasn’t that healthy anyway, but lockdown stress made it so much worse.

My magazine got an invitation to cover something called Thailand by UTMB.  I had no idea what this was or what it was about. I stumbled upon this crazy subculture of thousands.

When I was a kid, I saw marathons on TV and thought wow these guys are crazy, how can they run for this long…  and then I found out what trail running and ultra trail running was.

For a seasoned runner this might not be a revelation, but for me it warped my mind, I never even knew this existed.

Thailand by UTMB is a feat of superhuman strength and endurance. There are 5 trail races to choose from, all through rugged terrain, up and down mountains that you’d only see in movies, through villages and across winding roads.

The first race is Inthanon 6.

This is a 168 kilometres in distance, yes, that’s 104 miles long. Climbing over 7450+ metres in elevation, with a 48 hour window to complete it.

Race 2 is Inthanon 5.

107 km with over 5370+ metres of elevation and a 30 hour window to complete it.

Race 3 is Inthanon 3.

54 kilometres with over 2800+ metres of elevation and only a 14 hour window to complete it.

Race 4 is Inthanon 1.

23 kilometres, with over 860 metres of elevation to climb and only 7 hours to do it.

Race 5 is Inthanon 10k.

Which is actually 14km with over 609+ metres of elevation to climb and a 5 hour window to complete it.

When I got to Thailand by UTMB in 2020, I was in shock and awe, walking around asking people how they push their bodies to such extremes and why.

Trail running is actually a global phenomenon but what I saw was Thailand by UTMB have the full backing of the Thai government. I was chatting with the tourism minister of Thailand, the governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand and all of these heads of government were pushing trail running to be almost like a national sport. Trail running events happen all over the world but usually you don’t get so many of the local populace competing, it’s not the case here, Thais love trail running.

Stepping back into my life after seeing this amazing community of runners pushed me to change my lifestyle completely.

Luckily I live in Phuket, a lifestyle hub of southeast Asia, so finding professional help wasn’t hard. There’s a retired sports science University professor in Phuket Called J.J Bennett, in his day he was on the British National cycling team, now he helps people get the best out of their performance. For me, seeing him was a chance to see the damage I had done to my body, and what I needed to do to be healthy again.

Shortly after seeing J.J Bennett, one of my dear friends passed away and I inherited a little Pomeranian called Shakira.

Since then, me and this little dog have been hiking around the jungle-filled hills of Phuket 2-3 times per week covering 20-25km distance.

Now Asia Lifestyle Magazine is back in Chiang Mai, but this year I’m here to run the 14 kilometre trail, in the Inthanon 10k race.

You can join the private Asia Trails Facebook group and you can also follow Shakira on Instagram.com/Hiking_Pomeranian