Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Two weeks ago, I joined my second out-of-country race at the Laguna Phuket International Marathon in Phuket, Thailand. It was a three day event held on June 3, 4 and 5, with a race expo and kit claiming on the first day. Since I arrived on the evening of June 3rd, I only got to claim my race kit the next day, which was a Saturday. I stayed for a bit during the race expo as I met fellow Filipinos who were joining the race as well.

That afternoon, the running events started with the 5k and 10k race. There was also a Pasta Party that evening. which was free for the half-marathoners and the marathoners, so they can fill up for the race the next day. There were three kinds of pasta dishes served, some bread and soup, salad, and of course, desserts. The food was good, but I enjoyed the desserts more. The New York cheesecake with the French macaron on top was a winner.
what I had during the Pasta Party
with sir Jinoe of Takbo.ph and Noelle De Guzman aka Kikay Runner

For this event, I signed up for the half-marathon. Initially, I wanted to do the full marathon but I remembered what happened to me during the Standard Chartered Marathon in Singapore. I felt so exhausted after that I was not able to go on a tour afterwards. I just stayed in the hotel and laid on the bed because my entire body was aching. Also, I got sunburned so bad that it was already a first-degree burn. This time, I wanted to make the most of my trip so the full mary was a no-go.

The gun start for the half-marathon was at 5am and I arrived at the venue thirty minutes before. When I got there, I had just enough time to deposit my bag in the baggage area, apply some anti-chafing cream and sunblock, and consume a pack of energy gel to perk myself up. I felt the urge to pee but since there was a long queue, I decided to hold it in and figured that once I start sweating, it will eventually go away. I headed to the corral once they started calling the runners in. The race began at exactly 5am but the princess of Thailand, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who was running the half-marathon, had to go first. Then we had to wait for around 5 minutes before all the other runners can officially start.

At the beginning, it was so crowded that I ran faster than my normal race pace just so I can get out of the mob. When I finally got past the throng of people, I already ran more than one kilometer and that was when I decided to slow down to my usual race pace. It was around the third kilometer when I saw the first hydration station. By then, I was already parched. Also, I was sweating like crazy because, mind you, it is kinda humid in Thailand. I took a quick drink and walked for about thirty seconds before resuming my run. The next hydration station was around the sixth. Then it hit me. Three kilometers distance between the stations??? That was when I decided to slow down and do the Galloway. I figured that with all the heat and the fact that I was already a bit tired this early in the race, I might get dehydrated and what-not. 

It was around 7am and I was in the 17th kilometer when the sun was fully up. Even though it was just 7 o'clock in the morning, the heat was already scorching and I felt my skin burning. That was when I started to feel lazy and I ended up walking. At one point, there was a hilly part on which I decided to run. Since the route was mostly flat, I got so excited to see an uphill road that I sprinted up. I then went back to walking when the road was flat again. 
Photo Credits: FinisherPix.com

When I saw the 19th kilometer marker, I decided to run again while taking quick walk breaks on every hydration station. The distances between the stations were shorter at this point. When I reached the last 500 meter marker, I decided to sprint until I finally crossed the finish line. I heard the emcee saying: "Congratulations, Eva Marie Soquena from the Philippines!" It was just like in those triathlon races that I've watched on TV where they shout the name and country of the participants upon crossing the finish line. It felt great to be acknowledged. I was on a high despite my abysmal finish time. 
Photo Credits: FinisherPix.com

Overall, it was a great event. It was very well-organized from the race expo to the race day itself. While the registration fee was kinda pricey (USD80 for the early-bird fee for the 21k race), it was worth it, from the Pasta Party to the finishers shirt to the medal. Also, there was some recovery food for the runners in a form of some local noodle dish (I didn't try it though) and lots of fruits (I had some slices of watermelon and bananas). Even though I would prefer an earlier gun start, the heat was something that I am already used to so it really wasn't a problem for me. I loved the route. Some parts of it were very scenic and there were parts of it on residential areas. I loved how the locals were up early in the morning just to cheer on the runners. I heard that the Laguna Phuket International Marathon is one of the best destination races in Asia, and it proved to be true. I would definitely join again, perhaps next year, and hopefully with my running friends or team mates. :)
901st out of 1768 runners overall, 313/747 in gender, and 42/128 in F16-29 category
official chip time: 2:46:28
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