In a synchronized effort marked by history and fitness, an engaging event titled “Ayutthaya Run Run – Fun with History” was brought together by China Daily, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya’s Young Entrepreneur Chamber of Commerce, and the RVi Group. A remarkable excursion through time, the runners assembled across a triad of courses nestled amidst the resplendent ruins of Siamese’s erstwhile capital, with options for a 21-kilometer half-marathon, a 10 km challenge, and a 6 km fun run.
Representatives from nations as diverse as China, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa, Myanmar, and Thailand traversed across four centuries of illustrious history while relishing the captivating vistas. Ayutthaya- which assumed power as the second Siamese Kingdom in 1350, was awarded the distinguished status of a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1991.
The participants congregated at the Old City Hall, kickstarting a memorable voyage that passed through some of Ayutthaya’s most iconic monuments like Wat Kasatrathiraj, Wat Lokayasutharam, Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Ram.
68-year old Amornrat shared her enthusiasm about not only promoting an active lifestyle, but also being culturally enlightened amidst the camaraderie of fellow runners. Having initiated her running journey only eight years ago, Amornrat expressed her desire for more global events that bridge a connection between Thailand and the world.
Post the Covid-19 reshuffle, this event was a pioneering initiative in Ayutthaya, a city that was once a hotspot for international commerce and diplomacy. Zhou Li, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of China Daily Group, emphasized the importance of leisure activities that amalgamate sports, history, and arts. As a testament to the amicable bond between China and Thailand, he expressed his hope for the event to act as a bridge for multinational exchange and communication.
In commemoration of the 48th anniversary of Thailand and China’s diplomatic liaison, a designated point for selfies was created at the 4.8-kilometer mark for participants. College Student Leung Wai-shing, marveled at the multifaceted cultures represented in the varying costumes donned by different runners as he participated in the 6km run amidst the electric atmosphere.
The proceeds amassed from the run were marked for donation towards the flood-struck Watprasatthon School in Ayutthaya’s Bang Ban district. From experienced marathoners to new recruits, the fervor surrounding the sport and philanthropy was palpable amongst all participants, as shared by Niwat Rungsakorn, the Ayutthaya province’s governor.
Underlining the importance of such events for the local economy and tourism, Niwat lauded the cultural exchange generated through the participation of international runners. The event also distributed awards and special prizes for best costumes and early birds posting on Facebook with their registered QR codes. Patcharabooon Sublom, President of Ayutthaya’s Young Entrepreneur Chamber of Commerce, saw the race as a signal towards recovery post-pandemic.
In a bid to nourish transnational friendship amongst the Belt and Road Initiative nations, China Daily organized an International Friendship Run at Myanmar’s Unesco Heritage Site, Bagan in 2019. The participation fees were utilized for Bagan’s heritage sustenance and tourism development.