Some weeks before we published a promotion article for the ING Thailand Temple, a race belonging to the growing family of AIMS worldwide. Perhaps you will participate next year in this race in Thailand, bringing together running and tourism.
More than 2100 runners including over 400 foreign runners from 29 countries participated in the 2005 ING Thailand Temple Run on March 19. Participation numbers increased by almost one hundred per cent from the previous year underlining the growing popularity of the event locally and internationally.
New course record
Thai runner Boonchu Chandecha was first to cross the finish line in a new course record time of 2:38:51h ahead of compatriot Kordey Senmud (2:39:02)and defending champion Jirasak Sutthichart (2:40:47).
Thailand’s leading marathon runner Boonchu overcame hot and humid conditions to win the race for the first time after coming second in the half marathon in 2004.
It was very, very hot and I was very tired”, Boonchu said. I’m happy with my performance and my time is a bit better than Jirasak’s time last year”.
The women’s category was won by Sunisa Sailomyen in 3:25:02h with Ketmanee Senaphan (3:26:45) and Saipin Padchun finishing second and third respectively.
In the Half Marathon, Southeast Asian Games 10000 meter champion Boonthung Srisang proved again that he is hard to beat on the 21.1 k distance winning in a time of 1:14:28. Amnuay Tongmitr (1:14:35) and Sutut Kallayankitti (1:15:04) were the other two runners on the podium.
The top three female Half Marathon runners were Saifon Piawong in a time of 1:31:33 edging out Saifon Lalee (1:31:36) and Vilaiwan Khampitak (1:33:56).
Size of the event has almost doubled
Race director Raimund Wellenhofer was very pleased with the event. “The size of the event has almost doubled from last year. That is a big step and there is still a lot of potential for growth. The great support from title sponsor ING has given the ING Thailand Temple Run a very high profile which is already reflected in the increased number of participants.”
No serious incidents
Despite the grueling heat only ten marathon runners did not finish the race and the medical team reported no serious incidents. “We had to treat some runners for minor heat stress and dehydration but apart from that everything went well despite the hot conditions” said medical director Dr. Francis Nettl.”
New Approach starting in the afternoon
Commenting on the heat, race director Raimund Wellenhofer stated that the afternoon was a new approach. “We wanted to start in the afternoon hoping that the cooling conditions will favor the runners and to increase participation numbers for the shorter distances. We will look at the starting times critically in our post race evaluation and then decide what to do for next year”.
Thai opening ceremony
After a traditional Thai opening ceremony runners were sent on one of the most picturesque marathon courses in the world leading past Buddhist Temples, through banana and coconut plantations, past rice paddies and through typical Thai villages. They were cheered on along the course by Thai cultural bands and interested villagers.
After nightfall torches and globe lights along the course combined with the sound of crickets and traditional Thai music created a mystic atmosphere.
Singaporian wheelchair racer William Tan who is currently on a world record bid to become the first wheelchair athlete to complete seven marathons on seven continents in 70 days could tick another continent off his list. The former Paralympian completed the course in 2:18h and was delighted after his race. “It was a really beautiful race. I really, really enjoyed it.”
The last runner across the line was eco marathoner Hajime Nishi from Japan. He completed the course in just over 6:30h. After finding out that he was the last runner across the line he said: “I am happy to hear that I am the last finisher. This means that I must have enjoyed the race the most”.
Prior to the three main races local school kids took part in the “ING Run for my School” Kids Run. More than 150 kids lined up for the one kilometer race. After the run five local schools were presented with checks by ING Life Thailand CEO Jim Brown to help buy learning materials and sport equipment.
The ING Thailand Temple Run was this year’s first ING marathon in a series of seven marathons currently sponsored by the financial services company. Other events this year include the ING New York City Marathon, ING Ottawa Marathon, ING Edmonton Marathon, ING Taipei Marathon, ING Brussels Marathon and ING Amsterdam Marathon.
All in all the ING Thailand Temple Run was a great success and is expected to further grow in the future.