Chiang Mai - National marathoner Boonthung Srisung has given himself a moral-booster ahead of the Asian Games in August by winning the men’s 30-39 half-marathon at the CNX Chiang Mai Night Run.
The 36-year-old from Buriram covered the 21.1k from Chiang Mai Zoo to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and back in 1:23.43 hours.
Despite having home advantage as he is training here at the northern city, the 2007 SEA Games gold medalist said it was a level playing field for all those taking part due to the darkness – the Chiang Mai event races on Friday is the only Singha race contested at night.
“I have got used to the route but it was dark for all of us. My only advantage was that I’m physically stronger,” said Boonthung, whose time was just five seconds behind Jarun Jupor from Chiang Rai, the under 29 winner.
“I actually run up Doi Suthep quite often but never run back down. It’s a bit risky running down the mountain because you can get injured so I didn’t go my fastest to save myself,” added the long-time national runner, who is aiming for a good result at the Asiad from August 18 – September 2 in Indonesia.
Due to the highly competitive nature of athletics in Asia, Boonthung admitted it would an uphill task to even make the podium at the Asian Games, which is normally dominated by Chinese, Japanese and South Asian competitors.
“There are many stronger runners in Asia so it won’t be easy to take a medal from them. My goal is to make a good record and improve to another level,” added Boonthung, whose best attempt in the Asian Games was seventh place at Doha in 2006.
As one of the few Thai athletes in the long-distance events – the other is Sanchai Namkhet – Boonthung has also sets his sights on qualifying for the marathon at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
He needs to run around 2:20.00 hours to make the B standard for Olympiad.
He also explained that a lack of adequate support was the reason for Thailand having a limited number of athletes in the long-distance events.
“We have a huge number of runners in all events but very few will aim for the national level,” he said. “If there is enough support in all aspects I believe there will be more national marathoners in our country.”