10th Laguna Phuket International Marathon: First Experience In a Running Paradise
The Laguna Phuket International Marathon, organised by Go Adventure Asia, took place on 7 June 2015 and offered a 2 km kids run, 5 km community run, 10.5 km, Half-Marathon and Full marathon. The race started and finished at the beautiful Laguna Phuket, Thailand.
Running in its 10th consecutive year, the Laguna Phuket Marathon was a great success this year with more than 6,000 participants from over 50 countries. The race course for both half and full marathon follows out of the Laguna resorts and headed northward through local villages, pineapple and rubber plantations. Mostly on tarmac paving, the course provides mostly scenic and participants can appreciate the lush vegetation Phuket has offer.
Being in Singapore and having participated in fair amount of running events here, I was enticed by this opportunity and flew to Phuket 2 days before the marathon. My friend and I stayed in a resort less than a kilometre away from the starting point, provided as part of the accommodation package by Laguna Phuket.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the race is the pasta buffet party, provided to ALL participants. Held on the evening before the race, ensuring a proper carbo loading experience, participating runners were invited to a wide feasting range of pasta cuisines and to delicious local Thai food, like green curry and pineapple rice. It was an evening of full enthusiasm and celebration.
Race Day / Provisions
The half marathon, in which I participated in, started at 6:00 a.m. (Phuket Time) and the race commenced promptly in accordance with 1,407 half-marathon runners taking off from the starting line. Taking in consideration the impending hot weather in Phuket during the mid year, when the temperature ranges from 27 to 31 degree Celsius, aid stations were provided at every 1.5 to 2 km mark, where volunteers gave out cups of iced cold water to ensure hydrations for runners. Electrolytes and fresh fruits such as watermelon and bananas were provided on the further markers, starting from more than 10 km onwards, along the route. In addition, there were sponges soaked with ice water given out at every kilometre mark to keep participants as cool as possible under the blazing sun. The iced sponges were refreshing tools for runners, including myself, and truly something we don’t see in many races in Singapore.
The race route were generally flat and mostly on tarmac roads, with little up-slope elevations to negotiate with. Running through local villages with the residents motivating the runners along the route gave a sense of warmth and encouragement. We went through the rubber plantations and vegetation. Along the coastal line, we bypassed the beautiful resorts within Laguna Phuket, including a wedding chapel in a park. These transitions of scenic views immediately distracts one from much fatigue. Road marshals, made up of mostly local volunteers, were deployed to ensure zero hindrance for incoming traffic for runners to cross each kilometre marker.
Every participant was given a finisher medal and finisher tee shirts for half and full marathon runners. Light meal reception stations providing nourishing rice, noodles and fruits were catered for all participants post-race. Lastly, comprehensive Thai massages, serviced by professional masseurs, were also stationed to provide a good rub on the aching leg and shoulder muscles. Shuttle buses were also provided to ferry tired runners back to the resorts.
In summary, the 10th Laguna Phuket Marathon provides a different experience unlike others, namely the following:
- Attractive accommodation packages were provided to allow participants to reside near the starting and finishing point
- Pasta buffet party provided on pre-race evening
- Ensuring proper hydration for all runners, drink stations provided iced cold water at every kilometre mark; iced cold sponges were distributed to give a refreshing wash down for fatigued runners
- Proper care was managed to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants, including massage stations providing quality Thai foot and shoulder massages by local masseurs, and the light buffet reception for hungry post-race runners
I am tremendously humbled and glad to be part of this international run event and hope to create awareness for avid Singapore running enthusiasts to participant next in its 11th year.