And he's about to do it again.
And he's about to do it again.
- By Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj
- | Jan 26, 2018
So you’ve run this distance before?
I ran across the country four times. Each run was over 1,000km. The first time was back in 2005, when I ran from Mai Sai to Betong. I was the first person to ever run this route. Toon ran from Betong to Mae Sai. The distance is 2,162km and, when I did it, it took me 42 days. I did it to raise awareness for peace in Thailand’s deep south. In 2007, I ran a west-to-east route, from Three Pagodas to Pha Taem National Park. The distance is 1,310km, which I did in 20 days. I accepted donations in plant seeds to give to the Thai Air Force, so they could scatter seeds across the land as they did their hours of pilot training. The third time was from Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, through Laos, to Sanam Luang. This 1,440km run was to honor King Rama IX. He was 82 years old then. I finished it in 30 days. This was in 2009. And the fourth time was from Betong to Siriraj Hospital to Nong Khai and finishing in Mae Sai, 2,752km in total, which I completed in 52 days. This was also for the [then] king. I completed all these runs in military combat boots.
Was there any media covering this back then?
I was covered in Thairath and Daily News every time.
Why are you planning to run again?
I like challenging myself. I felt like normal running didn’t really challenge me anymore, so I started putting chain weights on my ankles. I started with 3.5kg (on both ankles, 5kg in total with the combat boots). The first time I only ran for 30 minutes and it made me feel like I was doing an hour-long run. After eight months, it became easy for me, so I now have 5.5kg chains on my ankles, which makes it 7kg in total.
Who are you raising money for this time?
The first four times I never asked for any donations, but this time I’m raising money for the soldiers who became disabled working in Thailand’s deep south. I want more people to be aware of the insurgency situation. I used to work as a police official so I know how little money you get when you become disabled as a soldier. It made me wonder why our society never looks at the situation. I’m also trying to promote peace.
How do you train?
I’m a very disciplined person. I use a pyramid training schedule. I run distances between 10-25km during my first month of training. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I run 10km. Wednesdays I do weight training. Thursdays I run 20km, Fridays 25km, with weight training on the weekend. I drag tires and lift. I would climb mountains but it’s difficult where I live. Each month I increase the distance. To run across the country like this, you cannot train like it’s a normal marathon. Strength training is just as important as long-distance runs.
How do you feel about social media saying you are just trying to one-up Toon?
Thai media is always trying to stir things up and those who believe blindly are just sheep. Some people say I want to be famous, but why would I want to be famous? I’ve been doing this for 10 years already. I’m not trying to compete with him. I compete with myself; I challenge myself. Society praises Toon as a hero now, and some can’t accept the fact that other people have done these runs first. We are both doing good things, so why do I need to one-up him? I don’t understand why I am the bad guy.
Any advice for those who are trying to train for a long distance run?
I get asked this question all the time, so I’ve posted my training program and videos on my Facebook page [bit.ly/2mIfMSv].