Is it a good idea to run in the heat?
It might sound somewhat dangerous to run a marathon in Koh Samui and you are probably right. The blazing sunshine and heat of the tropical island is more suited to lying on a beach and cooling off in the sea than pounding the streets for many kilometers. Dehydration and sunstroke seem like the most likely outcomes of a marathon in Samui.
The Thais in their wisdom naturally know this so they start the marathon during the early hours. The latest marathon in Koh Samui started at 5.30am on September 18th. It was the Princess Cup Samui Island Marathon 2011. At this time it is thankfully much cooler.
Quarter marathon, half marathon and full marathon
The event is a quarter marathon. It is over a distance of 10.48 km or 6.55 miles. This means a relatively good runner can manage the distance in an hour - to finish by 6.30am makes perfect sense in Koh Samui. The route of the quarter marathon was a big circuit starting in Chaweng and heading north. Runners went around the peninsula in the north-east of Koh Samui going near such beaches as Big Buddha, Thongsai Bay and Plai Laem, and then heading south again. At the same time half marathons and full marthons start in Koh Samui.
Reports say there were less people attending the event this year. This is no doubt partly due to the terrible floods in the south of the mainland recently. You can see the start in the You Tube video to the left. It is interesting to note how much fun it looks. The video is another example of how the Thais bring fun to their lives. It also maybe shows that living on a tropical island instills playfulness to the spirit.
There is also a full marathon that makes up the main event of the Princess' Cup Samui Island Marathon. This race started in Nathon, on the other side of the island. The winner of the marathon received the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirinthorn Trophy. The event was sponsored by Bangkok Airways.
Purpose of Princess' Cup
The purpose of all the running and the several races is to promote tourism on the island. It costs money to enter the event and winners receive generous cash prizes. It might sound somewhat off to not do it for charity, but when you consider that most Thai hotel workers only get 200 or 300 Thai Baht a day in wages, winning this race might be the only realistic way to raise a relatively big sum of money. The race proceeds could start a business and change a life. Such is the way that karma sometimes works.