Phuket as a Destination for Runners
Phuket has a great deal to offer anyone who enjoys running. There are some fantastic routes that people can try, and there are also now international races taking place on the island for those who like a bit of a challenge. Running along the beaches can be one of the highlights of any holiday – especially if people do this in the early morning or late afternoon. Runners get to see a side of Phuket that other tourists will miss.
Good Reasons To Go Running In Phuket
As well as the usual health reasons for putting on a pair of trainers and hitting the streets there are also other great benefits to running in Phuket including:
- It is a great way to see the island. It is difficult to explain but people see a different side of the island when they are out running.
- It is a wonderful way to meet other tourists and local Thais. There is a feeling of camaraderie between runners that crosses all boundaries.
- During a holiday in Phuket it is usual for people to overindulge in food and alcohol. At least by running they will be undoing some of this damage to the body.
- There are some wonderfully scenic routes for runners on the island.
- Running along the beach is highly enjoyable, and there are a number of places to do this in Phuket.
- There are different races on the island including marathons. Dedicated runners may wish to combine their holiday with one of these events.
- Running with other people in Phuket is fun and highly recommended.
- Laying around on the beach all the time gets boring.
There are a number of reasons in the Phuket calendar including:
- The 7th Laguna Phuket International Marathon will take place on the 10th of June 2012. There will also be a half-marathon, 10.5 K race, and a 2km run for kids.
- If people want even more of a challenge they can enter the Laguna Phuket Triathlon which takes place in November. This involves a 1.8km swim, 55km bike ride, and 12km run.
- The Phuket Hash House Harriers organize regular fun runs.
Phuket Hash House Harriers
The Hash House Harriers is an international organization that turns running into a less competitive and more social activity. It is sometimes described as a drinking club with a running problem. The Phuket Hash House Harriers has been in operation since 1986 and it is fairly popular. They have races every Saturday afternoon at 4pm. It is possible for anyone can join in and the fee is 60 THB for members and 100 THB for non-members. There is a bus that will take people to the start of the race and there are pickups at all the main tourist areas on the island. The run usually lasts for an hour and after this people will socialize. It is possible to bring along kids and spouses – and even dogs if they are well behaved. Those people who run with the Phuket Hash Harriers 5 times will automatically become members.
Dangers of Running in Phuket
There are a number of dangers and annoyances when it comes to running in Phuket including:
- There are many stray dogs in Phuket and these can run wild in packs. Most dogs will ignore runners but there are some that can become quite aggressive and may even try to bite.
- Some of the paths and roads in Phuket will have potholes or other dangers. It is therefore important to stay aware of the road ahead to avoid accidents.
- If people are unfamiliar with running on sand they should take it easy if running on the beaches.
- Road traffic can be a real problem for runners in many parts of the island. Many road users ignore the rules and will play dice with the safety of pedestrians – the rule in Thailand seems to be that the bigger vehicle always has right of way and this puts the pedestrian at the bottom of the food chain.
- Heat exhaustion can be a real danger for people involved in any type of strenuous outdoor activity on the island. It is vital that people drink plenty of fluids prior to the run and bring some water along with them.
- Another danger is from the sun, and it is possible to get badly burnt even on cloudy days. Runners need to be careful to use adequate sun protection on every part of the body that is going to be exposed to the sun.
- During the rainy season the weather can change quickly. It is best to carry some type of rain cover.
- It is recommended that people run in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat.
Where to Run in Phuket
There are many places to run in Phuket but some of the best options include:
- Karon offers some good options for runners. It is possible to run along the beach or on the nearby roads. It is far less busy than Patong beach so more enjoyable for a run.
- Running from Patong to Karon offers some challenging hills, but the spectacular views make the pain worth it.
- The roads around Boat Lagoon including Thepkasattri Road provide a nice route that isn’t too challenging.
- Kata beach is another good option for people who intend to run early in the morning or late in the evening.
- The Phuket Marathon course is a good option for people who want a real challenge.
Dealing with Phuket Dogs
One of the most annoying aspects of running in Phuket can be the local dog population. Most of these dogs will not bite but some of them can be aggressive. When dealing with these animals the best advice is to:
- Avoid making direct eye contact as an aggressive dog might see this as threatening.
- Don’t smile at the dog as they may interpret this as an aggressive move – it is similar to barring of teeth.
- It is important to assess if the dog is being genuinely aggressive or just playful.
- Stop running and walk instead. In most cases the dog will no longer feel threatened and will therefore lose interest.
- If the animal continues to approach then the best advice is to stand still – running away will only encourage them to attack at this stage.
- Speak calmly to the dog ordering it to go.
- Avoid making any sudden movements.
- If the dog makes a lunge then it best to turn to the side and use the forearm to push them off. It is rare for the situation to progress this far.
- If people have been bitten by the dog they should seek medical attention – even if the bite appears minor.
Some of the local Thais will carry a stick with them if they are running in an area where there are many dogs. This approach may be effective.