Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of running the Standard Charter Bangkok International Marathon. The race was different from every other race I’ve run, but was also a lot of fun (and the swag was super nice!) Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re doing an international marathon:

1- Signs

Don’t expect the signs to be as up to par as of the big marathons in America. I may have still been sleeping for the first 8K (the race started at 2 a.m.), but I didn’t see a single sign, and neither did the friend I ran with.

2- Bathrooms

Along the same lines, there were also only a few bathrooms; however, water was a-plenty! Probably a bit too much considering how few bathrooms there were and how spread out they were. The bathrooms were pretty cool though. They were moving vans instead of porta-pottie’s. However, that meant going up and down some stairs, that hurt the further into the race you stopped.

3- Water

You may want to carry your own water if the race allows. I’m not sure if it was the water or other factors, but I, along with a number of other people, got pretty sick halfway through the race. Not sure carrying my water would have made a difference, but in countries where drinking the water is unsafe, it’s never a bad idea.

4- Be prepared to be confused

Before the race started, they had announcements in Thai and English. Being able to understand both only made us more confused, as they were a bit contradictory.

5- Food

Don’t take for granted that the food you’re used to eating will be available. I live in Thailand and have gotten used to grabbing odd food for my runs, but I couldn’t find any of it in the big city. If you’re used to a food, and you know you have a sensitive tummy, pack your snacks!

Above all, have fun out there! The Bangkok Marathon was my 20th marathon, but I had never started a race at 2 a.m., had to speak two languages, run through temples, or greet a monk while racing.

By Nichols