20 December 2015
That’s why we are in Chiang Mai. We traveled thousand of miles for a 10km race.
The start point is Thapae Gate, just in front of our hotel, Hotel M. Since 3am, we were randomly awakened by sounds of running events. 4am was full marathon flag off time, 5am dos half marathon, 6am for 10km. There is also 3km category for adult and children.
Temperature here is about 17 degree Celsius in the morning. It’s pleasant to run. Not too cold, not humid. 10km is running around the city in a shape of a square. The army is the marshals to maintain order of traffic. It is not easy for a small city to organize such events. There were more than 7,500 participants. One-third are foreigners majority from China and other Asian countries.
Race fees is just THB330 (equivalent to SGD13) with a lot of goodies. After the race, all runners were given food coupons to get food from the sponsor booths. The variety was so much: Northern Thailand snack, bean vermicelli, rice, porridge, chicken, sausage, chicken nuggets, ice-cream and many more. The recording was manual. When we collected the race pack on 18 December, the process was very manual and basic. The people are so nice that they allowed me to change the race tee size. We had hair rubber bands to signify our distance. Without high tech RFID, runners still enjoy a great sense of pleasure.
For a moment, I thought I would not be able to participate overseas race anymore. Here, we ran on Thailand roads, passing by many road signs we couldn’t understand. Overcoming language barrier is not an issue. Runners from different countries meet at Chiang Mai were excited to conquer another race outside their countries, outside their comfort zone.
On hindsight, there were many lessons to gain from the race. There were many things that I could do or undo to make the race a more pleasant experience on the whole. The anxiety I had on the day I arrived was unfounded. I was anxious about not having my ice pack with me, forgot to bring pain-killers. The fear of injuring myself during the race also caused me to run slower than what I could. I do not want to injure myself in a foreign country and spoil the entire holiday plan. For Clement, it’s great success as his finishing time improves. 1h20m. Many runners were impressed by his determination.
We don’t need to compete X numbers of marathons to prove something. It is not the achievement that matters, it is what we think about our achievement that matters. And our achievement is to experience the running culture in Chiang Mai.