For the 2nd consecutive year, I participated in the Bangkok Marathon. Held on November 27th near the Grand Palace, this year’s race was quite a memorable event. Ok, I admit I did not run in the 26.2-mile marathon, but opted for the 10.5K race. Accompanied by my ladyfriend and personal cheerleader, we left my hotel in uptown Bangkok at about 4:30AM. Arriving at the Grand Palace some 20 minutes later, we were greeted by throngs of people - runners of all ages, shapes and sizes, spectators, concessionaires and media people. I read in the paper the following day that over 20,000 people participated in the combined race program of marathon, 10.5K and 5K. As this was the first time my ladyfriend attended such an event, she was totally awestruck at this spectacle, literally a runner’s carnival.
The 10.5K race started at 6:00AM sharp. Running an evenly paced race, I picked up a running companion about 4 miles into the race, a young Thai guy in his early 30’s. We chatted and pushed each other for about 1 1/2 miles or so, at which point I picked up the pace for the last Â¾ miles and I left him behind. Every time I passed a group of Thai spectators, I hammed it up, jumping in the air and yelling Hanumann #1. Thai people love my act and I love being an entertainer. Finishing strong with a sprint, I was met at the finish line by my ladyfriend who smiled and gave me a big hug. My time of 54 minutes 19 seconds bettered last year’s time by about 30 seconds or so. After picking up ‘my medal of participation”, we walked around a bit, checking out the different concessions. Feigning soreness, I was able to get a free massage at the physical therapy station. The race was the culmination of at least 2 Â½ months of training to get myself ready for a quality performance. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
By the way, a Kenyan, John Setanei Chebo, successfully defended his Marathon title in a relatively slow time of 2:23:57.