Thailand hosted almost 1,000 running events last year; full marathons, half marathons, charity runs, fun runs and crazy runs. I started running in Bangkok in 2007 and first ran the Bangkok marathon in 2015. With 1,000 events, there is a race for every taste, but choosing one can be a little overwhelming. That’s why I’ve created this list of some of my favourites, alongside a few others that have long been on my to-do list.
Running races in Bangkok can be a fun way to explore the city. The marathons run past some of the most famous sights, and the “vertical marathon” provides an amazing view over the city. If, however, you wish to really explore the city while running, a crowded race where you’re aiming for a PB or challenging yourself to achieve a good time is perhaps not the best way to do it. To run deep into the city’s history, culture, and street life, I recommend checking out a running tour. These tours are private and led by experienced, local guides, so you’ll get the real low down on running in the city. And with everything from 5k runs to half marathons, there are tours for both those wanting a bit of fun and those wishing to push themselves to the limits.
Without further ado, here is my pick of the top running races in Bangkok.
Main Bangkok Running Races
Date: Feb 2, 2020
Start Time: 3:00 am
Categories: 3.5k, 10.5k, 21k, 42.195k
Over 25,000 runners from Thailand and from around the world entered the Amazing Thailand Marathon 2019. The course included 4 different routes for the marathon, half marathon, 10k and 3.5k fun run. Launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) holding any world-class marathon in Bangkok is a must, to showcase the country’s accommodation, transport and safety. The event featured a unique city-centre course that took runners past some of Bangkok’s amazing landmarks such as Victory Monument, Wat Benchamabophit Marble Temple, Ratchadamnoen Street (Thailand’s Champs-Elysees), Rama 8 Bridge and Golden Mountain Temple before heading to the finish line at the Democracy Monument.
Date: August 2020
Start Time: 0.59 am.
Categories: 10k, 21.1k, 42.195k
Bangkok Midnight Marathon 2020 is accredited by the World Organization of Athletics (IAAF), the Asian Athletics Federation (AAA) and the Athletics Association of Thailand. More than 20,000 participants run through Bangkok historic sites, in a race that is popular among professional athletes. The race course starts at Sanam Chai Road and ends at the Giant Swing, travelling past some of the city’s most iconic sites including Democracy Monument, King Rama V Monument and Rama 8 bridge.
The midnight marathon starts at 1am and ends at around 7am. It also has competitions for 10k and 21k. Runners will receive a bib, race shirt, goodie bag and unique medal that is inspired by JAK-SAN; Thai woven handicraft toys: fish (Platapian), kick ball (Takraw) and bird (Nokkrajib). The race offers local food to all runners passing the finish line, along with sponsored photo booths and an ice cold leg bath.
Date: 15 November, 2020
Start Time: 12:00 am (Midnight)
Categories: 5k, 10.5k, 21k, 42.195k
Bangkok Marathon is the biggest marathon race in Thailand, with more than 30,000 runners racing through Bangkok’s most famous landmarks. Officially BDMS Bangkok Marathon is the oldest marathon held annually in Bangkok, having been run in Thailand since 1981. The marathon is recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). This race takes place on the third Sunday of November. It is known for the numerous foreign runners who participate in the race side by side with thousands of locals from all over Thailand. The marathon course passes by historic sites, culture centers and neighborhood. It starts at Sanam Chai, crosses Chaopraya River via the Rama 8 Bridge and passes Pra Sumen Fort, finally ending in front in front of The Royal Grand Palace. It also offers a Half Marathon, a 10k Race and a 5k Fun Run.
I ran my first 42k in the Bangkok marathon in 2015. It was a tough challenge no doubt. The marathon experience also inspired to be better and do something different. So, I got the idea of creating running tours, while passing through the most beautiful landmarks in Bangkok; The Giant Swing, Rama 8 bridge, Democracy Monument and Wat Arun.
Smaller and Club Bangkok Running Races
Vertical Marathon 2020
Date: March 2020
Time: 8:00 am.
Over 700 runners climb up 1,093 steps or 61 stories racing to the top of the Banyan Tree Hotel. The Vertical Marathon 2020 will be the 21st edition of this popular event in the capital of Thailand. The finishing point of the race is at the amazing Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar offering 360 degree view of the city skyline. This unique charity event will go to Thai Red Cross HIV. This race is a great way to challenge your muscles and mind!
Not so much a race, but certainly the most comprehensive run for discovering Bangkok. This 21km run is designed to cover all of Bangkok’s must see attractions, as well as covering local areas and stunning panoramic views. Not the run for you if you’re looking for competition and a PB, but perfect for exploring the city and hitting the sights.
Supersports 10 Mile International Run Bangkok
Awaiting dates for 2020
Categories: 5 Mile, 10 Mile
How long is your vacation in Thailand? If you want to collect some medals, check out these races and enjoy 5 races in 5 locations around Thailand with Supersports 10 Mile International Run Series Thailand 2019. Thailand’s number 1 sports retail store has launched 5 challenging races throughout Thailand. You can register for all 5 races to get 10% discount.
• Phuket (31 March 2019) at Thanyapura Phuket
• Hatyai (28 April 2019) at Central Festival Hatyai
• Bangkok (19 May 2019) at CentralWorld
• Korat (29 September 2019) at Central Plaza Nakhon Ratchasima
• Chiang Mai (27 October 2019) at Central Festival Chiang Mai
Some of the entry fees will be donated to both the “Queen Sirikit Center for Breast Cancer Foundation” under the royal patronage of Her Royal Highness Queen Sirikit, and “The National Paralympic Committee of Thailand” which is under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King.
Thailand LGTB Running 2020
Details: Coming soon!
Thailand is the friendliest LGBT country in Asia. 2019 saw the first Thailand LGTB Run, launched by MICE & Communication. The company’s name has become known globally after its sponsored race, the Bangsaen21, was awarded a Silver Label by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the 21.1km half marathon. We hope you will have an amazing experience and join a quality race with a unique theme.
Running of the Brides
Date: (TBA) Nov, 2020
Time: 5:00 am.
When you and your fiancé have planned to get married, travel to Bangkok, prepare wedding gowns and wear running sneakers to win a wedding package. More than 300 couples gathered for the annual Running of the Brides race for a lavish wedding and honeymoon trip in the annual 3 kilometer ‘Running of the Brides.’ During the 8th annual race, brides-to-be dress up in their wedding gowns to run the first 2 kilometers up and down a highway, before meeting up with their grooms — dressed in a suit — for a piggyback ride. The grand prize of a fully sponsored lavish wedding and honeymoon trips is worth $60,000!
TMB | ING PARKRUN 2019
Date: (TBA) Dec, 2020
Start Time: 5:00 am.
Categories: 2.6k, 5.2k, 10.5k
TMB I ING PARKRUN 2020 will be held in December, 2020 with the main event taking place in the adjacent public parks — Chatuchak Park, Queen Sirikit Park, and Wachirabenchathat Park (State Railway Public Park). Runners can also take part in the Virtual Park Run, in conjunction, on the same day in any park at their convenience. Race donations support the Cardiac Children Foundation of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana to fund the cardiac children operations project.
Hope to see you at some of the races! I’ll not make all of them this year but hopefully I’ll tick a few more off my list. If you’d like to organise a run with me to learn more about running in Bangkok, please get in touch. I’ll be happy to arrange a visit to a race course, or a tour of the city.
Hope you enjoy the Bangkok running races!