A Complete Race Review Summary on Chiangmai Marathon 2018 (Part 3) Posted on January 5, 2019

By Rameshon

Picture 1 – I decided to go to the finish line a day before the race. Felt relaxed thinking about the place where I did 2hr 24min 22sec, in 1995 SEA Games Chiangmai Marathon race. 

To Get to the Hotel from Chiangmai Airport

In order to go to the place where the Chiangmai marathon race was held, a hotel was booked 1-2 kilometres away from the start area of the race. It took us about 20 to 30min journey to the hotel and I had to spend about $15 taxi money. The prices for taxi were quite standard and they even gave a receipt for that.

Picture 2 – Tan Mariviv at the Start and Finish area, a day before the race.

There were several hotels nearby the start area of the hotel. Lobby areas in the hotels, were usually spacious for one to do stretching. In some hotels you will find a swimming pool. One can do exercise to keep training just before the marathon race. My two cents worth of advice for one to do, just before the marathon race, is to rest and relax, and recover instead of training one or two days before the marathon race itself. It is not worth it.

Picture 3 – Warm up and Feeling relaxed just before the race. 

There were gym facilities at some of the hotels, and I would like to say that some facilities were not bad at all and it was good for keeping one fit for the race. Apart from that, some of the hotels have exercise programmes, like Yoga and Muay Thai Boxing conditioning exercises. If one reaches the place of stay a week before the marathon, he or she can still train. However, to go outside to run is not a good option, as the place is filled with heavy traffic and pollution. The best thing for one to do is to walk on the pavement, but all training should be done at hotel gym. 

Picture 4 – After our warm up

Two or three days before the Chiangmai Marathon race in Thailand, we were allowed go to the collection counter and collect the number tag and goodie bag etc. One just need to bring one’s passport and race registration proof.

There were announcements on not to park at the start area of the marathon race, as the area will be cordoned off etc. Instead, one will be told to bring their vehicles, but to park at a distant away for the start area. They even suggested where and how to park one’s car. Once, one has finished collection, one can go to the stage to take a group photograph. The name of the race, ‘Chiangmai Marathon 2018’ was quite prominently displayed and visible for one to take individual and group photo.

Picture 5 – It is time to test the Chiangmai Marathon route. Mariviv told that it is not easy running in this kind of route. She told me that 1995 SEA Games marathon must have been difficult, thus, as roads were not really levelled, compared to now. 

The Day of the Race

It is advisable for one to go to the start area of the marathon about 12 or 12 30am, as the race starts at 1am. Hence, it is advisable to sleep from 4 to 6pm till 10 or 11pm. It is good to do some stretches at the hotel.  As for warm up, it is good to do jogging from the hotel room to the start area, as one needs to cover about 1-2km only. One could actually walk there. The temperature for the marathon race was ranging between 18 and 22 degrees centigrade. Everyone were given a luminous bangle like object so that the vehicles can observe the runners clearly during the race, itself, so that there is safety on the road at all times during the race. 

Picture 6 – Both of us in action. 

Toilets

There were a lot of toilets at the start of the race area. As for me, I went to toilet thrice as I had been hydrating myself throughout the day itself.

Race Start 

One needs to aware of what time is the start time of the race. About 20min-30min before the marathon, one may need to be observant that it is wise to stand at start area of the race as people start queuing. The PA will keep talking about the race and plus other details as well. People will have to remain standing.

Limitation of the start of the race

Just before the start of the race, a group of runners who were pacers came forward to pace according to the time of the runners’ target time, as they were more than willing to help them. They were standing in one line, about 20m ahead of us, and they stood shoulder to shoulder so that no one is in front of them. Once the race started, the pacers blocked the runners from going to the front which I feel that this action of the pacers were not helping runners and it was not handled properly, as the runners needed to come out in front to do a good time. The runners will not be able to do a personal best time. I have seen this blocking in some South East Asian countries’ races and this is to a certain extent it is not a good thing to see. It is like adding 20 to 30 seconds for each runners nett time of the race.

Water points and the route

The race route was flat but the road was not as smooth at some points of the race. Mostly, the road is made of tarmac and some roads were made up of pavements. It is the pavements that made ours’ and other runners’  legs to pay for running on a hard ground. Running on pavement earlier into the race, will not affect the race at first, but it does, much later. If the race was purely done on a tarmac track, there will be a chance of people not getting calve problem towards the last part of the race.

Predominantly, running on the marathon running route can be flat and good. However, at some roads, the route was winding and some of the route seemed like a cycle velodrome. It became difficult because of this. Sometimes the inner road was elevated and it was otherwise on the outer road for some parts.

How about using GPS and the kilometre marker? The kilometre marker at 1km was accurate. Subsequent kilometre markings were all a bit off. However, at 8km the GPS also showed 8km. At some parts, the distance markers were more by 200m to 400m, after half-marathon. At the 3/4- marathon point, I saw the half-marathoners making a u- turn, thereby joining us in the running to finish with us the race together.

Somewhere at one point, the GPS actually showed 36.8km. Upon seeing this, I did not know how to tell a fellow runner that I was coaching, Tan Mariviv that it was 36km instead. I was, at that point, disappointed with the organisers. Instead of running 8.2km, to finish, I realised that there was 9km left. Finally, near the 39km mark, I saw 39.2km, according to the GPS. It made me happy, as I found that the markers were, maybe, placed on convenience point for people to see. I believe that the organisers can improve on this. However, even towards the end, there were water points.

The good thing was that I found that at every 2.5km, there were water points, throughout the water stations of the whole route of the marathon course.  At subsequent hydration points, I saw the cups were of same colour, and whenever I grabbed the cup, I only got water. However, at some points there were isotonic points, but it was rare. Somewhere at the 30km mark, finally, I got the isotonic drink. That was the isotonic drank that I actually got to drink. .Hence, it was not surprising for me to see many runners getting cramps during the race. One day before the race, I saw big cartons of Gatorade. But I did not see many being distributed throughout the race, and it is wise for the organisers to even  out the drink to all stations or at each 5km points of the race. In fact, some runners were stopping during the race and were going through the agony of pain and they preferred to endure the pain and sit down instead.

The good thing towards the last portion of the race was I was able to hear the Traditional Thai music and that spurred me to speed up to finish, when I was coming towards the last 1km. At the last 200m, Tan Mariviv nearly ran to the half-marathon finish. I had to shout at her to keep left as I saw the word ‘Marathon.’ Hearing this, she sped to give a sprint finish till the end of the race. Mariviv did 3hr 44min 26sec, while I did 3hr 44min 27sec. Our target to do the sub-4hour manifested on that day.

Edited By Tan Mariviv!