Running in this heat, humidity and pollution? Before I came to Bangkok, running or racing was the least thing I had in my mind. The main reason I started running in Bangkok was that I happened to live across from Lumpini Park where hundreds of people jog or walk daily from 4:30 in the morning and 8:00 at night. I started walking/running after the kids got on the bus at 07:00, to take off a few baby pounds. After one year of training, I was able to finish the Bangkok Marathon last Sunday. My first marathon experience followed by a few mini marathons was a lot of “Sanuk” (the word for fun in Thai) and while I was running at the park and racing various parts of Bangkok, I made a lot of Thai friends, especially old runners who are young at heart.
For those of you who have given up on golfing or diving, why don’t you try running as a way of getting to know the Kingdom and its people in addition to all the health benefits of exercise offer.
Where to Run
For most of us who live close to downtown, Lumpini Park is the best place to train. One lap around the park is approximately 2.5 Km (about 1.6 miles); there are markings every 100-meters. There are about five running clubs like 14K or Friends of Lumpini which conduct group runs and exchange race information. If you decide to join those running clubs, you can also enjoy free coffee and Karaoke after a daily run.
Did you know that every Sunday there is at least one or two 10K or 5K races in Bangkok? You can find the race schedules at HYPERLINK "http://www.bangkokmarathon.com" www.bangkokmarathon.com or HYPERLINK "http://www.thairunning.com" www.thairunning.com (This web site is written in exclusively in Thai except for the schedule, and a few essays which have English versions.). Also, if you go to Robinson Department store customer service counter where you pay telephone bills, you can spot race brochures (in many cases information is written in English on the corner). Sometimes the Bangkok Post has a small ad on Outlook section.
We all know that occasional racing keeps us motivated and gives sense of accomplishment. But in Amazing Thailand you never know when you may get a trophy by placing nicely in your age group. The older you are, the better chance you have. If you are not a big shopper like me, your china cabinet should be pretty boring. Why not add a few trophies and shining gold or silver finisher’s medals.
In December and January the weather is perfect for running in Bangkok. After running through snow and icy road in America during holidays, I am glad to come back and run with my Limpini park running friends.