Sorry folks another rapid churning out of this blog, and no time to edit, gotta go to bed!
First day in Thailand Kittipop my local contact arrives at my hotel, well McDonald’s which was the first sign I saw when I crossed over last night!. He lives in Hat Yai some 57km away. He drove over this morning to welcome me to Thailand and take my pack. He says he will cycle out later and pace me into town.
And so he did with 20k to go. With 9k to go he got off his bike and ran.With 3k to go I stopped in a 7~11 store and when I came out there was a group of about 10 Hat Yay running club members waiting for me.:-)
I am certain they took me the long way around town and reckon I did their regular training session on top of my official 57k. Still it was fun especially the stadium finish,which is their clubhouse,then we had to run a lap of their synthetic 400m running track! Now there were about 50 members. What a reception,thanks for a memorable first day in Thailand.Two delicious plates of Thai food and I am on the way back to Kittipop’s.
Captain Crap means thank you phonetically in Thai!and.
Hat Yai Running Club gave me aa wonderful welcome.
Some readers with a good memory may wonder why I am running up the west coast of the Malay Peninsula when I said I would be running on the east coast.
So when I researched it further and I asked a contact who lived there for his opinion.
This is what he said.
A quick look … your route takes you through Narathiwat, but south of Pattani, not close to Yala, and in between Songkhla & Hatyai.
It so happens the route will pass close to my house (4 km)… a place to stay if the timing suits you.
You are heading into the bad lands as you cross into Thailand until around point 136. I don’t know what to advise you over this area … Embassy advice perhaps but I have known of folks proceeding through these areas on bicycles or in cars with nothing more than the inconvenience of being stopped at the many military check points.
Answering your previous note re XXXXXX’s answer, we’re talking Islam bandits. Will try to find a link to give you more detail however for many years now the Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Ghana have been influenced by several groups including Islamic groups in an attempt to break away from Thailand. There are daily roadside bombings and ‘executions’ (military, police, government workers, teachers, etc., being the target).
Dogs, yes there are dogs but a stick normally makes them scatter.
I note you have chosen, whenever possible, isolated roads … good on you. (Not true) But am not sure if this is wise or otherwise throughout the area indicated… silly question, but do you have any company with you?
I will try to make some enquirers for you and advise further.
Re the isolated roads, I am going to drive a couple of these in this area to ensure bridges are in place in a couple of areas where they weren’t about ten years ago. ”
So I decided to run the west coast, think I made a good decision there! A couple of days later I heard of a policeman being killed.
By now 36,000km have been run, then had lunch with SCG Running Club and had a lovely day despite the rain I had a nice run with them. The bossman went off and got some ointment for a cut on my leg, nice thoughtful people. Already I love Thailand I am having a great time. Thanks to Tey in KL for sorting contacts here and many others.
I have been putting in some big days since that first day in Thailand when I ran a 57. A couple of 50km days, a 55 and a lazy 41! Today I ran 61km and had huge support from local runners who joined me at about 6 different places!! many thanks to the Surat Thani running club for putting me up in a 5 star hotel!! I really enjoyed the run today, thanks to all runners!! Also on Monday I got to run with the CSG running club They are a concrete company and a couple runners were so enthused by my run that the boss gave them time off and he did support himself, still wearing his hard hat!
Also thanks to Sumpun from a few days ago for coming out to me, taking my bag some 30km forward! he couldn’t run as he had a 10km next morning. Sorry this is an express update as it’s 1.30 and I got to be up for 6am breakfast, need more time as they gave me two breakfast tickets, and then we all run again, the Surat Thani running club that is.
By the way there were over a dozen members with me tonight, 4 runners and other club members in 2 cars that drove behind us in the hard shoulder lighting up the way.
The roads are as good as in Malaysia, 4 lane divided highway with a 2/3 metre paved shoulder! I thought this whole coast was going to be hassle, but in fact its a breeze! lots of rain though as its the rainy season.
Thanks to all involved for such wonderful help and especially to Tey the ‘ Godfather of running contacts ‘ for putting this together with the help of so many, I cant even imagine how many.
Thanks to Danny in Bangkok for picking up Nirvana my cart from the Irish Embassy and thanks to Supara there also for her patience! i am going to put my head or rather my feet on the block here. I am going to make a massive effort to get to Bangkok on the 20th as that’s Sunday and I want to run with local runners it had been looking like the 22nd An added advantage is that I can make up some of the time I need in Bangkok to get Nirvana back in action and some other chores i need done… So that’s it, almost 60km per day for 11 days!!
A bit like the Aussie Outback but I had the wonderful help of Michael Gillan as crew driver there! hope this wonderful local support continues!! yawn, Its bed time, thanks for stopping by.
Distance update 36,135km for 833 road days. By the way I am about 23.4 marathons ahead of the 1,000 marathons in 1,000 road days and the average now required every time I lace up my shoes is now around 36.5km!!
Thailand continues to be wonderful to run in except for the dogs
Thanks to Sir Richard Beresford-Wylie owner and inventor of my favorite gadget right now, he sent me on a Dazer. I have zapped many ugly sharp tooted dogs. The road continues to be exceptional,perhaps the best on the whole run, divided 4 lane and my own 2 to 3 meter paved shoulder. They pave the shoulder to encourage the motorbikes off the road. There are not too many bikes and I can see them coming as I run towards them,save for the odd one zooming up from behind frightening the bejasus out of me! The signage is first class,in the Thai script as well as in English. With the Thai script I have had some problems,from laptop keypad, yes that was fun! Also finding hotels as it rarely says hotel and as in many languages there are about 5 different words for a hotel. The letters “SNOSIN” kinda stands out of the script on one so I call it a snooze in,very fitting.
thanks again to the Surat Tanei Jogging club for their wonderful hospitality and for a great 7km run out of town before all returned late to work. Friday a runner came and took my satchel for 41 of my 51km. Thank you for I never got your name. Saturday,I feel like a dead dogs eye.An untidy 54k were slugged out and thankfully I found a Snosin as I did tonight after a most enjoyable 64km.and mostly easy effort. It has not rained in a few days.But hot!
With Bryan an American living in Bangkok and his friend Danny on right.
The following Monday was a great 65km day on the road.The lovely Thai’s don’t gawk only respect my space,intelligent people.In 2 weeks I have not witnessed any littering.
I find a snooze in but as its 650m down a lane its a bit of a killer as its off my route.Tuesday off to a flyer but slow up after 30km,its hot so I stop a lot.At 58k and knowing there is no hotel for another 15k.I stop at a shop and ask to sleep under their gazebo. A man brings me across the road to a monastery.Two monks Sopan and Nopie brought me bedding to put on an outside table.They spoke of a peaceful, meditative life without women.In the morning the barefooted orange~robed Buddhist monks will walk the streets collecting food from the faithful. Next Morning I sit beside the altar while Nopie dishes me out some breakfast he has gathered from the community. The has a small rice urn and a canvas shopping bag for the generous supplies the community have given him. The two monks are smoking in the temple, they tell me this is not considered disrespectful, so long as it’s not pot or cocaine.
They have tattoos and scars from previous fights before they became monks. He tells me the monks only eat breakfast and lunch, no dinner as Buddha says it makes them lazy and they will get horny and start going to sex shops and touching women in their private places. What a character, I never know what he is going to come out with next, I thought I was hearing things when he made those last comments!
Then Nopie tells me he has been to Europe several times. He has had more girlfriends than I have it seems, even has a child from a German woman who wont let him have any kind of a relationship with the child.
Some how this is not what I expected from Buddhist Monks!
I met Gosh one of the Bangkok Running club members. He stopped his car to tell me they are planning a major escort on Sunday when I run in to Thailand’s capital. He phoned Uruphong or Uru who also says they are going to throw me a party! Some will come out on Saturday to run.Am on schedule. I think its about 275km from today’s finish, so perhaps three or four more sixties and an easy Sunday. I committed to 3pm on Sunday.
thank you everyone
I haven’t had any runners or helpers in 8 days and a few come out to run with me on Saturday, they keep coming and going, my head is in a spin, can’t keep up with names, Almost nobody speaks English. One man does his name is Uru, he was to prove to be a vital contact helping me with some of my own planning for he has a vast network of important contacts
Sunday morning there about 20 runners turn up at the police station where I was sleeping.
The runners were told I would start at 7am, but they showed up at 5.30am all bright-eyed and bushy tailed!!!!
I enjoyed running with the runners but unfortunately they decided on a finish location way out of the city and off my route and didn’t even communicate with me or other runners about the change from the city centre. I know their hearts were in the right place however it was a bit annoying that they didn’t even communicate to tell runners that the route was changed one runner phoned me to say she was disappointed as she didn’t know,I was annoyed as now I got to return to a remote location to continue the run and find a way to get my cart there. I am annoyed also with myself for I lost control of my run for the very first time. All the time when I left the highway they kept insisting we were still running to Bangkok, all be it the greater Bangkok area. To me it looked more like running down the Cabra road and then into Glasnevin Convent, surely not Bangkok!
The party was attended by about 6 of us, a catered meal, I was told the original place was booked out, thats why they made the route change.
You know even after explaining this several times, they still don’t get it and understand why I now got to return to that remote location and after all my hard days with 60km days to arrive on Sunday.I have been asked why I don’t restart from the city and not the remote school!!
Yes there were about 20 runners and we even got a police escort for the last 15km. The director of police for Bangkok is a runner. He told me he took the day off work to run 15km with me.
An officer drove the pickup while another dished out bottles of waster.
We stopped at a nice park with swings and slides for a break. Of course I got on the swing and as I was sitting on it fell over onto my back! The police chief rushed over, wouldn’t do to have me killed under his nose.
When we arrive at Saint Peter Thonburi School I talk and shower and after a substantial meal get a taxi and subway back to Bangkok and meet Danny a Dubliner married to Sooki his South Korean born wife. How time flies, I stayed with them for six nights getting ready for the run west. I have run 36,765km since Dublin three years ago today.