This weekend, a group of teachers and students from Todd’s school participated in a road race at one of Bangkok’s many unique, extremely fertile parks. Sadly, I am still gimped, so I didn’t get to run, but I decided to go along as a cheerleader: I have hauled Todd out of bed on many early mornings to cheer at my races (“Come on, Toddy! You get to wake up extra early and stand in the cold and the rain for multiple hours! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!”), so I owed him one.
The race was put on by the Bangkok British international school, and I didn’t know what to expect – probably a few awkward clusters of high schoolers running around. Instead, it turned out to be a full-fledged, well organized road race, complete with sponsors and prizes. The distances were a little interesting – gotta love that classic 9.4 km distance – but other than that, it was a standard race.
In total, there were almost 800 runners. I think every farang in Bangkok made an appearance.
This being Asia, however, there were a few additional treats, such as the spunky lady leading warm-up exercises. In other races that I have attended, most runners are super serious, lost in their own worlds doing things like “stretches” and “strides,” but in Bangkok, people do group warm-ups, and they do it Gangnam Style.
After a quick trip to the ol’ hong nam (bathroom), and a quick scan of the swag tables that several sponsors were setting up, T-bone and his buddies were ready to race.
I wandered around the sewage scented parking lot for a bit (I’ve never been to a race that smelled so…aromatic), then decided to wait out on the course to cheer and snap photos. I can say from experience that no photos are more flattering than those that are taken as you hurtle your aching, gasping body towards the finish line. I was hoping that Bangkok’s heat and humidity would make the photos that much more attractive – I’m not one to disappoint a good teacher.
There didn’t seem to be any other spectators out on the course, so I was a one-woman freakshow cheering for everyone who passed by me. Some people seemed to appreciate this, but a few small child racers burrowed their faces into their parents shorts with fright. Those Brits organized a good race, but clearly they needed a dose of North American-style loud, obnoxious cheerleading to soften those stiff upper lips. Always happy to help.
After the race, all the runners mowed down on the interesting sandwich combos provided by the race organizers, and helped themselves to “face refresher spray” provided by one of the sponsors.
All in all, it was a great day at the races, and a good chance for me to tick off 1 of the ten billion early morning support crew moments that I owe Todd.