Thailand’s growing position as a venue for international marathons and world-class running events came under the microscope at the inaugural Global Marathon Projects in Chiang Rai in July.
The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), the Athletic Association of Thailand (AAT), the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), and Thai Health co-operated to develop the plan for setting new standards for the Thailand Road Racing Standard Project in accordance with the standards of the IAAF.
After being welcomed by SAT Governor Dr Gongsak Yodmani, speakers from as far afield as the USA, France, Japan and the UAE gathered at a special two-day forum to share their experiences of staging marathons in cities such as Boston, Paris, Dubai and Tokyo.
The four government organisations – working together with Move Asia – recognise the huge growth in the number of people in Thailand taking part in running events of all distances and staged this platform with a view to growing the Kingdom as a marathon destination.
The experts keynote speakers were invited to share and set out guidelines for developing Thailand Road Racing Standard in the future and enlighten attendees about marathons in every dimension from safety and security to media and management.
Once the discussion forums were concluded, several of the speakers swapped the conference room for the race course when they joined more than 6,000 other athletes – including Ethiopia’s former World and Olympic Marathon Champion Gezahegne Abera – for the Thailand International Half Marathon Umay+ Chiang Rai 2019 21.1.
From the start at the renowned Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), the route took the field to the finish line at Chiang Rai Flag and Lamp Park where Thailand’s Sanchai Namkhet won the men’s race in time of 1h:08m:28s, while Japan’s Chiaki Morikawa won the ladies’ event in 1h:22m:02s.
By Alan Ewens