Some triathlons in Thailand are widely announced and people train towards them all year round. Other events are barely communicated and you need to be at the right spot on the right time to find out about them. This charity run was definitely one of the last category and I only found out about it 2 days before the race took place. That gave me just enough time to decide to skip my Saturday workout and instead drive up to Nai Yang beach to register for this race.
It appears that the owner of the Nai Yang Beach Resort & Spa has competed in triathlons himself in the past and now helped organize the first Nai Yang charity run and triathlon as a test case. Organizing an event like this requires a lot of time and commitment and you never know if it is well received by locals and athletes, so he obviously took a risk here to organize and promote an event like this. And while the prospects looked a bit bleak on Saturday when I came down to the beach to register; it was not really busy at the registration desk, it soon became clear that large numbers of athletes looked forward to the competition with the website showed participation numbers of in the hundreds for the run.
To keep an eye on upcoming events check out: http://phuketsportevent.com/
Unlike other races the starting package for this sprint triathlon was a bit limited with only a running jersey and a starting number: there was no free race belt, swimming cap, helmet and bike numbers, or timing chip. But also unlike other races the price was not the 1,500 or 2,500 standard rate but only 500 baht making this race much more affordable for people who want to try it out for the first time as well as seasoned athletes.
At 6AM the 10.5K run started followed by the 3.5K run around 6:30AM. By that time a total of about 50 athletes had set up their equipment in the transition zone for the duathlon and triathlon that would start at 7:15AM. By the time we started most runners doing the 10.5K and 3.5K were already done and I must admit this event soon got an atmosphere I haven’t experienced yet at any other triathlon in Thailand with crowds of cheering people and a lot of friendliness. For example right before the start there was a small briefing from the organizers and as the only non-Thai participating that day there were several other athletes who translated the important parts for me to make sure I was aware what was going on. Also at the end of the race crowds of people cheered the incoming athletes over the finish line and congratulations went around as if everybody knew each other for years already. Compare this to most other triathlons I have been at and there is a world of difference.
The race course itself was a great pick also. Nai Yang beach is surprisingly clean and there were barely waves in the early morning. The water was even so clear that at the point where we made the first turn during the swim you could still clearly see the bottom of the sea even though it was at least 2-2.5 meters deep there. The swim went very well for me as I was the first out of the water with a good 20 to 30 seconds lead on the number 2. Unfortunately the number 2 was much quicker in the transition meaning he took the lead on the bike right from the start. The biking course contained some minor hills which took me by surprise as I have only trained on flat roads in the past half year. A couple of people were able to easily pass me here but once a group of 4 passed me by I was able to tag along and stay in their wheel for the last 10 kilometers. And finally the run went above expectations as I was able to recover quickly from the bike and pick up my speed during the run. With a total time of around 1 hour and 15 minutes I ended 5th overall which meant a place on the podium and the nicest and cutest trophy I have ever won.
I can only say that I am truly impressed with the quality of this sprint triathlon and the complete organization of the events that morning. Even though I have had no time to train for this event I am very proud of how I performed that morning and really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at Nai Yang beach. I hope the organizers also look back on this event as one great success and they will organize multiple similar events in the coming months as it is clear that there is a true demand for events like this.
Finally a big thanks to the trainers at www.thailandfit.com who helped me train in the past months which made it possible for me to join this race on such short notice. Please visit their website for information about training, nutrition, supplements, and a healthy lifestyle.
For questions/remarks you can contact me at: email@example.com