Thursday, January 10, 2013
Chiang Mai Half-Marathon
I return to defend my title in the Chiang Mai half marathon. In 2011, I finished first overall in 1:22:00 on a 22k course.
I feel I am in about the same condition as a year ago, so a repeat victory would depend on what caliber of field materialized on race morning. Sure enough, it took only minutes for a dozen guys to burst out ahead of me. Within a kilometer the flashing lights of the lead pace car were far in the distance. I run with teammate Arnaud and young Bangladeshi, Omar, and we overtake 7 of the guys by the 3k mark running 4-minute per kilometer pace. At that point I decide to take a shot at the leaders - on the remote hope that they might fade. I pick up the pace to around 3:50 and do manage to catch a couple other young guys, but at the halfway turnaround I see the 2 leaders are still light years ahead of me. I manage to hang on for 3rd overall and 1st in 40-49 age group, in a time of 1:28:11 (for 22.6k course).
Here is Arnaud and I with trophies for 1st and 2nd in age group:
The Chiang Mai event is great fun and one I would recommend despite the organizer's continued indifference about the precise course measurement (an issue we bring up with the race director after the race, telling him that an accurately measured race would draw runners from all over South-East Asia seeking a PB in the cool weather on a flat course).
This year the half marathon was primarily an excuse for low-budget backpack journey to Mae Hong Son for trekking (last year the race was an excuse to travel to Laos). Very low budget as you can see from adjacent picture of our accommodations.
Also the trek is fine triathlon cross-training as you can see in this picture of me swimming in the waterfall near the Burmese border