Some hobbies can take you to places you would not imagine. Shopping, travelling and of course jogging are my top three hobbies. I love them. Each of them always gives me something new. So it was not so farfetched when going for project implementation work in Bangkok that my path would cross with spicy food, well manicured jogging parks and of course this race with a new concept based on weight instead of the traditional age categories.
I took the chance and registered on-line. The race kit would be distributed on the event day itself. Unusual as I would explain later. All of the 10km fun run would be inside a park. That is how big the park is, no loops, just a single turn at kilometer 5 and back to finish line. The participant number was limited to only 1500, for good reasons. Parks don’t have lanes big enough to accommodate 10,000+ runners. They had service shuttles to take us to the event as it is a good 17km from the CBD.
In its 17th year, the race was still as popular as ever attracting runner’s clubs around Bangkok and a huge expat community. I could easily guess a third were from the expat community. The day before it had rained, so the air was clean, but the humidity even in the gloomy morning time with cloud cover was relatively high. As I mentioned earlier, distribution of race kits created a good 20min delay of the gun start. So off we were at around 6:20am by the blow of a horn, funny I thought.
The first two kilometers were tough because I wanted to get out of the crowd. This necessitated that I run faster than my goal pace. I had no choice. But as we approached the 3rd kilometer the crowd had thinned into a single file with the fast runners going through their paces. It was a cat and mouse game. The bib number had the first two numbers as weight group identifier and the next four as the running serial number. In the relative darkness of the morning, 60 and 68 (60-67kg and 68-74kg weight groups) would look the same especially when running. I had promised myself I had to get at least a podium place. Based on previous years’ times, I had to run a sub 39:30 to be assured of that.
By kilometer six the race hadn’t changed much. I would surge only for someone to pass me as I slowed down. This happened to all of us with no clear favorite. But by the 8th kilometer pretty much the race had taken shape and everybody had settled down to what his training, fate and any other conspiracies had in store for them. By kilometer 9 there was a guy some 100m or so ahead. I pulled myself and delivered a final push and overtook him, only for him to regain his position with only 50m left! Argh! That is how races are won and lost.
Suffice to say I managed to finish 2nd in my weight category. At the finish line they had free watermelon fruit apart from water and energy drinks. That was a welcoming surprise to me. They also had free noodles, but with my condition I wouldn’t touch that as it was too spicy. Overall it was a very welcoming change from the Manila fun races I have entered in and a bonus trophy for memories. Another Team Power Puff Boys experience with fans…very nice.