Hat Yai International Marathon 2015 (HYIM)
by Thomas Eng
MR25 members had participated in Thailand Hat Yai International Marathon 2015 on 24 May 2015. A total of 14 members took part in either the 10km or half marathon. Here is short post-race review of HYIM.
23 May 11am – Members gathered at the Singapore Changi Airport terminal 2 at 1:30 pm for the flight to Hat Yai. At about 3 pm we reached Hat Yai airport and proceeded to the hotel followed by the race venue for the on-site registration. (HYIM allows runners to register the day before race day for all categories). Registration fee for HM is 350 baht (~SGD 14), you will get the bib number and a colorful T-shirt which is typical to most Thai races and on top of it free condom. There were many sport apparels on sales and you will definitely grab one or two items as the quality was good and cheaply priced, example a pair of shorts for about 100-200 baht.
After the race registration and shopping around for sport apparels, we went on for dinner at a local restaurant for the usual ritual before a race – carbo-loading!!! The Thai food was yummy but we had to eat selectively as we have a race tomorrow. By 9pm, we are back to the hotel to have an early night for preparation on tomorrow morning race.
24 May Race Day 4am – We woke up and took a simple breakfast prior to the race. 4.30am proceeded to the race venue and arrived at about 5am. Once arrived you will see they had displayed the entire trophies on the table for all the categories. Categorized into 5 years age gap, each category had ten trophies to be won. You can imagine how many trophies are there!!! MR25 had group photo before the flag off. The flag off time for HM is 5.30am while 10km is 6.00am. An interesting start off 10 minutes before the flag off, the music band performers will lead the runners from the stadium to starting point and all the runners followed behind.
5.30am sharp HM was flagged off. Just about 1km into the race, I was separated from mass crowd of runners as the participation rate was low. I was just following the leading group along the road and seize the opportunities to overtake runners and follow the next leading group. Till the HM turning point then I realized there were just only few runners in front of me and I had to run alone. I felt relaxed, my pace remained steady and I managed to hold the pace (4.05 min/km) till the finishing point. I clocked 1 hour 26 minutes at the finishing line and surprisingly came in 1st position in my category. Other MR25 folks had done a great race too at this HYIM, we managed to get three champions, two 2nd runner-up and two top ten position. Well done and 3 cheers for MR25 team.
The prize presentation in Hat Yai was somehow different from what you know in Singapore. Basically all top ten finishers of your category will gather around and inform the emcee to proceed to podium for prize presentation. Prize presentation was not in sequence of any particular category and they do not check your identity as they only recognized the winner’s tag that was distributed when you crossed the finishing line. While going up to the stage to receive your trophy you have to pay respect to the portrait of Queen of Thailand, as for Thailand Royal family commands a lot of respect from the commoners.
Assessment of the race – The weather was fine but at felt a bit warm. Road condition was 90% flat and if you are “lucky” you could step on some cow shit at certain part of the road. Water point was sufficient throughout at every 3-5km and there was one fruit station. The road is a simple big loop covering a part of town and a village, thus not much marshals were required. The overall race experience was good and we are having a fun for this HYIM.
At 11am, our members had claimed the prizes and we went back to hotel by “TUTU” service, a special local transport service that bring the visitors around the town and charges 20 baths per head count. After the hard race, now it is time to relax, some of us went to famous Thai massage and charges only about 650 baht per 2 hours. It is an awesome experience for me.
4pm, we took an opportunity to visit the floating market where you can see the locals selling the foodstuffs on the boats. They are mostly Thai Muslim, you can buy whatever you want to eat and the prices are about 20 to 30 baht per item. There was a small market beside the floating market where you will find cloths, handy crafts, foods etc…
6pm, we came back to the hotel and prepared for dinner. We brought along the red wine that we got at Singapore Changi Airport.
We also bought a birthday cake to celebrate a member’s birthday, Uncle Lim. Congrats to him as he is one of the member that brought back the champion for his age category of 65 to 69. After the dinner, we enjoyed the wine session at Sakura Hotel karaoke lodge……MR25 not only produced great runners we have great singers too. Both Daniel Gan and Matthew sang along and everyone was enjoying until 12 midnight. Fortunately no one was drunk and we went back hotel to….….Zzzzzz
25 May 7.30am – since the check-out time was 12pm, we took another opportunity to walk around the town and bought some souvenirs. We visited the Thailand famous kitchen products “Zebra” brand and the price was almost half of it you buy in Singapore. Along the way bought some local traditional foods like dried longan, nuts and some tonic.
12pm, we checked out our hotel and our flight was at 2pm, reached Singapore about 4pm.
This trip has been a great experience to travel oversea for running, it was fun and enjoyed every bit of it with the remarkable MR25 members. Thanks for the organizing such a wonderful tour de race at Hat Yai Thailand.