Laguna’s 4th annual Phuket Marathon

So, i just finished my 4th  “Run Paradise” Marathon at Laguna yesterday.
I am a bit sore today of course.

I would like to say it is a professionally run venue with a lot of thought put into every aspect.
Medical teams were spaced on the course, aid stations were well stocked and plentiful with smiling, helpful staff at all of them.

The time and money put into the start/finish line is impressive.  Speakers are everywhere, free 10 minute massages after the race, food for the runners, and a big VIP area (never been inside there)

Also, this year for the 1st time, they had the registration area at the start/finish line.   It was a huge tent put up complete with air conditioning and many vendors as well as the helpful staff for all your needs.

Despite a small mixup in my pre registration, they got me sorted and one funny story comes to my mind: I went to get my “packet” of some free stuff from the sponsors and a nice singlet shirt from Nike.   I was the first one there and I asked for a size XL shirt (they are always so small).  I thought i’d better check the size and sure enough, they had given me a Medium.     So, i showed them the size and asked for an XL,  once again, with smiling faces, they gave me a Medium.    I tried to tell them i really needed an XL (I am not that big but am aware of their sizing)   and finally had to go back and show them where the XL’s were.   They showed me on my race number where it said “M” and this is why they kept giving me a Medium.    The “M” on the number is for Male.    Anyway, it was no big deal, just know to check these things.

The marathon race had 2 choices:  A 4 am start or a 5 am start.   Since i knew that i was going to be slow, i opted for the 4 AM start.
I had to work the night before and didn’t get finished until midnight.    So, i arrived at the parking area around 12:45 and slept in the back of my truck.   Although it was quiet, it was a hot night and i didn’t really get much sleep.   Oh well.   We all make our choices in life and perhaps this wasn’t the best one.   But i didn’t want to drive 45 minutes only being half awake so i chose this way.

My longest training run had been 20 kms.  That was my biggest mistake.
I did great for the first 20 kms.    Then my legs started tightening up and felt heavier and heavier as we went along.
I started switching between walking and running.
Luckily I can walk fast (many years of hiking trails makes for a fast, easy pace)
I had a few comments out there on the course that my walk was almost as fast as some people’s run as i would switch between walking and running and pass the same people many times.
You get to have a lot of friends that way and there were 3 or 4 of us who talked a bit.

Many were from Singapore and one guy must have taken 200 pictures.   Turns out there was a photo contest for the race and he was out to win it.    He had 3 sets of batteries and would take pictures with all the pretty girls at the aid stations as well as many of the runners.

Running is a lonely sport.   Training can only be done when you can make the time and in Thailand, only early morning or early evening.    Then there is pace.   It’s hard to find 2 runners that can run the same speed enjoyably, especially two who are compatible and have the same time available.    Like i said, it can be a lonely sport!

But, being in a race of 42 kms, you find your pace and then discover that there are many people with a similar pace.   So, for once, you can talk while you run.     I enjoyed this aspect of the race probably more than any.

I have a good friend from the states who comes here every year for this marathon.  He used to live in Thailand and loves coming back for these visits.    His name is “Wall”  (nickname of course) and this time, he had just summitted Mt.  McKinley in Alaska 10 days before the race.    He had frostbite on his toe, 70 mph winds, 60 deg. slopes to contend with as well as having to carry a 130 lb. pack.  He beat me by 2+ hours.   Of course he always beats me as i am not a fast runner at all.    But, to come from that extreme temps and climate and fly 12 hours to Bangkok and then another one to Phuket, arriving the day before, to this heat and humidity, well, let’s just say we are both very tired and a bit sore today.

All in all it was a good time alhough my legs haven’t hurt that bad for many years now.
Thanks to all the organizeres, staff and Laguna for a well done job on the race!