The inaugural Phukethon officially kicked off on Dec 8, 2017 in the city of Phuket, Thailand. One of the largest of its kind in the region, the marathon festival took place along Promthep Cape and drew over 10,000 participants. Phuket’s trademark tropical weather set the scene for what turned out to be a running spectacle in its own right.
Situated along Saphan Rin, Phukethon’s main race routes afforded runners an up close and personal view of breath-taking sights, like Phuket’s old city district, the Surin Circle Clock Tower, Panwa Port and Makham Bay.
Elite runners in the full marathon category undoubtedly took the spotlight as runners from all over the world came to pit their skills against one another. The flag-off started in the early morning of Dec 10 and took the competitors over slopes of 20 to 25 degrees, summitting at the halfway point of Promthep Cape which lies situated 200m above sea level.
True to their calibre, the first of the runners crossed the finishing line sometime after 6AM. Upon completion of the race, the elite competitors in the 42.195KM category were able to immediately address their recovery needs thanks to the on-site massage services and electrolyte beverages provided by Phukethon’s organisers.
Coming in first in the women’s category was Ms Azusa Nojiri (02:54:07:0) of Japan, followed by Ms Wang Ting (03:01:48:6)) of China and Ms Olga Andrejeva (03:02:41:3)) of Estonia. Mr Hiroki Kai (02:29:37:0) of Japan championed the men’s category, while the first and second runners-up were Mr Aleksandr Cherbukin (02:35:37:9) of Russia and Mr Masaki Shirotake (02:36:57:3) of Japan. The awards were handed out by Mr Virat Patee, Director of Sports Authority of Thailand in Phuket.
The half-marathon and 10KM race categories were also very well-received, drawing in throngs of people from all walks of life. Participants were brought through a brief but comprehensive warmup session before embarking on their runs. Much like the full marathon, safety was of the utmost importance with first-aid stations and hydration booths set up at specific points throughout the route to cater to injured or fatigued runners.
Fringe activities like the Colour Fun Run and Jelly Beach Run were also a big hit, catering to younger and more recreational runners as well as those with families. Participants who started their run at the sports resort of Thanyapura at Saphan Rin were doused in a variety of coloured liquid dyes, while Nai Harn beach gave its participants plenty of sun, sand and sweat throughout the 5KM track.
The success of Phukethon was indeed a rousing one and the crowd was more than eager than to participate in the post-race activities such as the “Fisherman Village” themed Food & Music Festival. A Running Expo also provided running enthusiasts access to an unprecedented amount of sportswear and accessories specifically tailored for running. This landmark achievement has indeed set the tone for similar events in the near future and has cemented Phuket’s place on the watchlist for runs that are both fun and challenging!