Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bangkok City Run

I associate myself with the running group Bangkok Runners. I have, in the past, run with Banana Running and Japan Fun Runners, but as a guest, nothing serious. Eric and I, when we started out, named ourselves Cookies...When it comes down to it though, I don't run socially very much.

I am a part of Bangkok Runners because the runners share so much knowledge with each other during runs and online. I associate most closely with them perhaps because most of the members are expats from the west, although we do have a good number of Thai runners as well.

We always get a good combination of runners from different running clubs though when we are at races or events. We all either know each other or recognize each other and that's where the feeling of community is so strong. I could really care less if the guy or girl running next to me is a Bangkok Runner or a Crazy Runner or a member or Barefoot Running club...They are runners and I am a runner, enough!
Not sure what these white structures are. The Thai runners called it something, but I didn't understand.
This past week I was able to attend a 32 kilometer "city run" organized by a Thai guy who is a member or Bangkok Runners and often brings his employees to events. He has organized many runs around Bangkok, slow runs to cater to most ability levels. This was my first time having the time to attend one of his runs.
A bunch of new running friends!
It was a run across the river and into the "Bangkok Jungle" or the Bangkok's Green Lung. The Green Lung is an undeveloped area right on the river that still has some trees and marshes rather than hotels and skyscrapers.
Running under all of the freeway on and off ramps was col. This one looked like a whale's tail to me!
There were runners from several running clubs in attendance and surprisingly we had near 30 runners. The run ended up being a little too slow for me in the beginning, even though it was a long run which I usually do really slowly.
We had to stop by the "Leaving Bangkok" sign and take a photo as we entered Samut Sakon.
To make up for the lack of speed and frequent stops for water and to wait for runners, I went back to my Marine Corps days and played the part of traffic guard ;)
Urban running isn't always this beautiful
I would stay at the front of the pack that was strung out probably 200+ meters throughout and whenever there was an intersection I would block traffic until the last runners passed safely, then I would sprint back to the front and do it all over again! Now, that was a workout!! Not often that you can get a long run AND speed work in during the same run.
Last stop by the river before we headed to the Cafe for a cool drink
Eventually we got to a place where we could only run straight and nobody could get lost and had a famous coffee shop as a checkpoint where everyone would get drinks and regroup. After briefing all runners and taking orders we took off on the five kilometer run to the cafe.  P'Kitti (runner who runs with the leader often and knows the route) agreed to take up the rear and guide the stragglers to the checkpoint.
This is running in the city

The leader took advantage of this and just took off at the fastest pace of the run. A younger runner and I kept pace for about four kilometers then the younger guy fell back. I stayed on the leader's heels and tried to pressure him to go faster, but he had his solid pace and he just stuck with it. I was happy to run hard for twenty minutes or so and arrive at the cafe and order (and receive) my watermelon smoothie before the order of 17 iced coconut coffees and 10 other drinks were ordered. **It literally took 45 minutes to make all of the blended coffees and anyone who ordered fruit drinks were unlucky to have to wait until the end.
Pooped after only 22km but I have a watermelon smoothie to re-energize me
After our coffee break, we cruised the rest of the way back to the park where we had started like 4 hours before. It was a very long run and a very slow run. I had fun and met a lot of new people whom I enjoyed running with. I'll try to make as many of these city runs as possible in the future, just for the social aspect. It's so much funner running 30+kilometers with other people than running alone!!

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