Running 188km from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai; Raising money for COVID
COVID has really done some damage, it’s heartbreaking. Millions are suffering, initially health-wise, and now economically. In countries without free healthcare, and with little-to-no welfare system, things are only getting worse. I’ve lived in Thailand, on and off, since 2007 when I was teaching English in Chiang Mai, and it’s given me so much (not least, a fiance) so with my job as a travel blogger kind-of on hold thanks to the international travel all but cancelled for a while, I decided to try to give something back. And at the same time try to push myself, and not use COVID as an excuse to be lazy in my apartment, playing FIFA and eating chocolate. So I came up with an idea to run 188km from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, and with some fundraising, aim to help supply over 3000 meals to families left destitute thanks to the COVID crisis in an economically challenged ‘suburb’ of Bangkok, Khlong Toey (often referred to as the ‘Khlong Toey Slum’). PLEASE HELP US RAISE OUR 1000GBP FUND RAISING GOAL HERE.
Donating 3000+ meals to Bangkok Families in Need
First of all, help us fundraise on our Just Giving Page HERE. We aim to raise 1000GBP ($1200USD/40,000THB). That will allow us to donate over 3000 meals and food packages to families based in Khlong Toey, here in Bangkok. These families have struggled for generations, but since COVID has stripped many of their incomes, things have never been worse. Partnering with a non-profit in Thailand (BKK fights Covid), once the money is raised, we’ll also have the opportunity to go and see the good work being carried out. 100% of ALL donations go directly to the project. 0 is used for the cost of our ultra-marathon, all those costs are borne by us. Please, even if you can only spare $5 or $10, consider donating to a beautiful cause.
A 188km (117 miles) RUN?! WHAT?
In short, running 188km from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai as quickly as we can. It’s basically four and a half marathons.
The longer answer, is an ultramarathon, starting at the top of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, all the way to the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai. This is not an official ultra-marathon by any stretch. It’s just a stupid idea I came up with one day, and then once I thought about it, I couldn’t STOP thinking about it. Then I thought I was being a p*ssy by not doing it. So here we are.
It’s about 1000m in elevation (3300 feet), and about 2000m down too.
Number 1: To raise money for families affected by COVID here in Thailand. Every year since 2015, through our non-profit adventure company Mudita Adventures, we’ve donated over $200,000USD. Last year, my legend of a mum climbed Mount Fuji with a group of us, where we managed to raise $20,000USD for ‘Cure Parkinsons’, but this year all fund-raising, all our adventure trips, everything stopped due to COVID. Which is awful, because COVID means that people need help more than ever. So what can we do? Even if it’s only a little, we can try our best. I’ve been ‘stuck’ in Thailand since March, normally I’m in a new country every week or 2, so it’s a been a strange readjustment! So, this crazy plan isn’t entirely benevolent, it’s also to keep my sanity and have a goal in sight.
3 months ago, I cycled from the Thai side of the Malaysian border, to the Thai side of the Burmese border – it was 2000km, and took me 2 weeks. I should have tried to raise money with that, but I was so scared of failing, I didn’t do it. My ego got in the way, in all honesty. So this is an attempt to put that right.
Number 2: Because life is short, and we should squeeze in as many adventures as possible before our time is up. The opportunity to do something crazy with close friends, to dig deep into the pain, to know yourself more, to learn to appreciate the small things in life like water, food and shelter during the suffering. Pushing yourself hard, doing something you’ve never done before, reveals a lot. You talk to yourself so much, you have so many epiphanies during experiences like this. These kinds of events can be life-changing, so it’s not only about raising money, I want to see if I’m good enough to pull it off, and I want to know I’m strong enough not to quit when the going gets tough.
Number 3: 10 years ago, I had a big motorbike crash in Chiang Mai. I smashed my knee-cap, broke my fibia and tibia, and did my cartilage. The doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to run or play sport again. And although I have never played football since, to go back to the scene of the crime, and not just run, but run 188km would mean a lot to me personally. So I’m going to try.
Me and 2 close friends (although everyone is welcome to join, if you’re in Thailand, and want to join, email me!). The 2 friends are Anthony Middleton from Man vs Clock, who I’ve done a lot of crazy adventures with, and another Irish guy, Gareth Maunder who has used COVID to turn his health and fitness around. From doing 0 exercise in his daily life pre-COVID, to running 3x per week, lost 10kgs, running 50m 10ks etc. That being said, he’s never run more than 21k, so this 188km is quite the challenge!
Starting Friday 13th November at sunrise at Doi Suthep. We’ll fly to Chiang Mai on Thursday night, have dinner the 3 of us, then the following morning, take a taxi to Doi Suthep, and get started. If everything goes well, it should take us somewhere between 36-48 hours to complete, so we should be finished sometime on Sunday morning (we hope!).
In a nutshell, 4.5 marathons from one city to the next, through the Khun Chae National Park, mostly stick to the 118 road. And taking plenty of painkillers along the way.
The plan, as is often the way with me, is quite ‘fluid’ let’s say. We have 3 people who have never run a real marathon (I once ran the North Pole marathon in -40 degrees, and Anthony and I ran the Marathon Des Sables together last year, a 6 day, 6 marathon event through the Sahara Desert) but we’ve never done a normal marathon, and never done a straight-shot distance. And certainly not 188km! Gareth, the 3rd Amigo, as I mentioned above, has yet to run further than 21km. So yeah, the plan is fluid!
In terms of pacing, we’re thinking of running 10k then powerwalking 10k, then running 10k, then powerwalking 10k. And just repeat that 19 times.
So I’m hoping for us to do the first 100km (62 miles) within 24 hours, then we’ve identified a little guest house in Ban Mae Khachan at the 100km point. Here we’ll have an opportunity to take stock, take a shower, replenish food, changes gear, and maybe even take a nap for 3 hours or so. We’ll see how we feel.
Anyway, from that point, 24 hours or so since starting, it’ll now be Saturday 14th November. Again then we aim to finish our last 88km! If we manage the first 100km in 24 hours or so, we should do the next 90 in 20 ‘ish’? This is the most barbaric, basic maths ever, so if we go waaaay slower on the day, bear with us! With that kind of schedule and pace, we aim to finish sometime before sunrise on Sunday 15th November. At least that’s the plan. Hopefully raising this $1,000USD, and donating 3000 meals to the Families in Klong Toey slum will help us find the extra motivation when the going gets tough. So please help us raise the money and help drive us to the finish line. You can donate here.
HELP US! DONATE, $10 = 30 MEALS FOR THESE FAMILIES
As mentioned above, these guys are doing AMAZING work. They’re helping where the people in power are turning a blind eye. If you can spare $10 (or more) then please check-out our Just Giving page here, and help us reach our 1000GBP goal!
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