Sunday, November 17, 2013

Defy the numbers and run

In honor of my Bangkok Running buddies who finished their first full 42-km / 26.2 mile marathon at today's Bangkok Marathon, and friends that finished the NYC marathon and a full IronMan triathlon earlier this month, a reminder:

"Life is not a math equation. Neither is running."

In other words, even for runners that love numbers (that's a lot of you out there!) or feel they may lack the necessary biomechanics, we can't measure the heart, grit, or passion that are also needed to train for, complete, and even score high in big events.

image: GlobalNews
Help the Philippines - they sure need it
I played competitive soccer (aka football!) and tennis for years, and certainly all athletes know that your heart, grit, and passion are what keep you out on the field or court day after day, despite facing a bad day, a great opponent, or, in my brief tennis career, the pressure to win just to earn enough money to get to the next tournament!

Yet, lest we not forget that all of these are sports, entered voluntarily, and meant to be fun, and that far less fortunate people show superhuman heart, grit and passion in the face of actual disasters and life-threatening pressure.

image: RunningHumor

This year's Bangkok marathon started at 2:00am -- to minimize heat and traffic interruption -- and the half-marathon at 4:00am, so many people actually ran the whole race in the dark. A good night's sleep is clearly not needed here.

In previous years with later start times, and for those this year who took a little longer to finish, here is the view from above (note that the runners are below that big wall, but the peaks of Thai shrines and temples are inspiring!):

The early start times for many Thai races are no joke: according to the smartphone of a fellow Bangkok Runner, it was 27 degrees C (81 degrees F) at 6am this morning, and that doesn't include the effects of the famously off-the-charts high humidity. Apparently, it has something to do with the city's planetary positioning:

Despite the conditions, running is popular in Bangkok -- tens of thousands ran the various distance events this morning. In case you were wondering why anyone would run a marathon anywhere, here are a few good reasons:
  • It's a targeted goal for getting fit
  • It's a fun way to raising money for charity
  • You may just accomplish something big and new
  • You'll make new friends and work together toward a common goal
  • And:

Keep it up!


  1. Great post Sue. It was 27 degrees yesterday morning? I thought it was a cool day to run...I suppose though for Bangkok standards it was cool.

  2. I love the post Sue. Beautifully written. Love the map of BKK relative to the earth and sun too!

  3. Thanks to Joe and Iain!
    Joe, that temperature factoid was from Vikas's smartphone - I'm not 100% sure of accuracy, and as you say, it seemed cooler but my standards for coolness have gotten very relaxed...

    Iain, I just love that image too -- it explains a lot! The esteemed M. Benton once told me that he thought the high heat/humidity combo was as tough or tougher than elevation, so BKK runners train under hardship!

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