Trail running is just catching on here in Bangkok. I think people run the trails in the outer provinces more often as they are away from the big city sprawl. Heck, Bangkok is built on a flood plain...we're actually probably below sea level...so yeah, no mountains. But this being the third year that The North Face has had this race in Thailand, people are starting to get really excited about it.
There were several hundred people who registered for the 100k distance alone, and that's kinda crazy for a race here in Thailand. The 50k race had nearly 300 registered and the 25k and 10k both had to be started in waves due to the large number or participants! Trail crazy!
We had a route map and it seemed like there were many hills that we would have to negotiate during the race. The trail was a 50km loop that wound through the hills and some farmland and the woods in Pak Chong.
|This is the elevation map BEFORE they changed to course to be more difficult|
Running in the dark was fun. Over 400 runners for the longer distances all left the start line at the same time. It was the atmosphere I had expected with all of the headlamps heading out in a long stretch along the initial two kilometers before the race hit the trails and hills. Once we hit the farmland and then the woods, the dust of the stampede of runners got thick and all in my mouth and nose. Part of the experience. Once the wider areas changed into single trail is when the race got interesting. Interesting as far as running goes and just plain cool to look ahead of you and see the headlamps of the faster runners heading up into the hills, looking back and seeing the beams of light shining through the dust.
|Running in the dark was really fun, Manfred at my six|
|I got this really awesome GREEN banana at a checkpoint...ended up a projectile|
|The sky was beautiful, Venus was bright in the sky, the air was still cool|
|Loose rock on the downhills were interesting and required lots of focus|
I wasn't really fighting the course, I loved the course, but I was fighting the mental anguish of not being able to give the race my all. It was like a game of Jenga, where you know that eventually, as the game went on, the stability of the block structure would become unbalanced or structurally weak and fall down. My ankle was basically a Jenga game waiting for a loser.
|Don't look down!|
|I'll do some leg work before next year's race|
|There were even little trails, uphill, through the little trees|
|What goes up...must come down|
|There was a burned out region on the side of one of the first hills|
|The flatter areas were a relief in the beginning, but eventually everything hurt.|
|Don't exactly make a poster boy for Bangkok Runners do I?|
|Eric looking strong|
|The last 12km together, Team Cookies!|
|Compare those legs! Chicken legs vs. Monster legs. Eric was strong those last 12km|
|Eric feelin' like a million bucks at 48km|
|Guy running through the pain, two kilometers to go!!|
|They say the pain is only temporary...yeah, only lasted 5 hours 40 minutes, hahaha!!|
|Fourth place...I call it "Best of the rest"|