Runs around the world #12

Kanchanaburi, Thailand


Home to the Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi is in the central plains of Thailand, about 80 miles west of Bangkok. It’s unfortunately made famous due to the Thailand-Burma railway and the thousands of prisoners of war that died in awful, harsh conditions building it (and the subsequent film The Bridge over the River Kwai). Go a little further afield, however, and you are greeted by some stunning scenery, countryside and rivers. The weather has been a bit changeable over the last couple of weeks so after a day spent on a train and a bus and not much exercise, and a break in the rain, I decided to chuck the runners on and head out for a much needed blast.

After a short run dodging the traffic down ‘Bar Street’ (one of the main streets that is full of bars, guest houses, shops, people and traffic) I ran across the River Kwai (although not over that bridge) and out of town, away from the people, the noise and the tuk-tuks, cars and scooters.

A peaceful silence filled the air, and the humid air filled my lungs. It was hot, again, and very humid but I think I’m getting used to running in it. I wouldn’t say I enjoy it but I don’t think about it half as much, and just enjoy running while I’m out there.

I ran along the road and out into the countryside where palm trees lined the edge of the road and ponds were filled to the brim with water lillies. With mountains in the distance and the tropical sights, sounds and plants, there’s no escaping I’m a long way from England. But yet strangely, I feel so at home here. I didn’t feel out of place, or like a tourist attraction, or that I had two heads. Because one of the best things about Thailand is the people (the other is the food). They are lovely. Really, really lovely. Friendly, and welcoming and full of smiles. They looked at me bemusingly, but not overly curious. It felt like I was doing something that perhaps happened every day and wasn’t out of the ordinary, which was a wonderful feeling, and not one I’ve had in many other places I’ve ran in. I was greeted with waves, smiles and shouts of “Hello!” from all the Thai people in their homes when I ran past, which I returned with “Sa-wat-dee Ka” (hello in Thai). I was also joined by a couple of loud, shouty barking dogs who decided to chase run alongside me. I shouted a grateful “Kob Khun Ka” (thank you) when their owners stopped them, the Thai lady clearly delighted that I was speaking in Thai. They do love it here when you try to speak a bit of their language, I’ve had so much fun, especially in food places, learning new words and having a bit of banter. In fact, I got more odd looks from other Westerners when I ran the last part down Bar Street.

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I ran 4 miles in total. Not a great deal, but enough for this run. My legs were feeling it, as the day before I’d cycled about 25 miles and a couple of days before that I’d pulled one of my quads climbing up a cliff face on Railay beach. So, 4 miles wasn’t too shabby, kept my legs moving and gave me that lovely running high.

One of my favourite runs so far I reckon. Not quite enough to make the top spot (that’s still Hong Kong) but it’s up there. One that made me smile both during my run and for a good while afterwards. Good times.




Runs around the world #3

Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

OK, so, again it’s still in England. And it’s a run that I’ve kind of done before. The Marine pointed out when we were in London that I shouldn’t include runs I’ve done before because I said I wasn’t going to, but I’ve decided to include this one because, well, I want to. It was a Glorious Run and deserves the write up, and I did run a bit that I hadn’t before.

Today’s run was 11 miles in total. Out from Lincoln along the River Witham to Five Mile Bridge and back again, with an extra bit stuck on at the end through and up the High Street. So quite a long run. I haven’t been for a weekend (yeah OK, I know it’s Friday but no work so feels like a weekend) morning run for what feels like AGES so I was well looking forward to this one. And it didn’t disappoint. Firstly, the SUN shone for a large majority of the time. This is Unusual. It was glorious to see the big yellow thing in the sky. It was so lovely and slightly warm that I took my long sleeved top off and ran most of the way in a T-SHIRT. Yes, that’s right people, A T-SHIRT. Such an amazing feeling.

It was the first run in a while where I wasn’t thinking “bloody hell it’s cold, can’t wait to get back”. I had my headphones in, running along in the sun. I enjoyed it. Running for the pure fun of it and enjoying every second, not once thinking about being pleased to stop or get back inside in the warm. Haven’t done that in a while.

I smiled, waved or chatted at people as I passed them. There were quite a few people out and about down the river path. Most people acknowledged me, apart from one runner and an older gent. Both occupied in their own worlds and thoughts. I got a runners wave from another runner. I contemplated making up a runners salute back but the moment had passed.

I had no idea what was down the river path. I still don’t know how far it goes. I know it at least goes to Bardney because there was a sign at Five Mile Bridge (funnily enough at 5 miles from Lincoln). From here it’s another 5 miles to Bardney. Which means it’s another 7 miles from that bridge to my parents house (although those last two miles won’t be along the river). So just over 12 miles from Lincoln to my folks house down that path. Really not that far. So in a few weeks I’m going to run to their house one day. Doubtful I’ll run back but that’s what my dad’s truck or my mum’s car is for.

All along the path are signs about the river and it’s uses in days gone by, benches to sit on and some arty sculpture things. There are two metal cows about 4 miles in. They’re quite pretty so I stopped to take a picture. I wonder how many people from Lincoln will ever know they are there, or, ever see them. I guess 4 miles is quite a way to walk, and there’s probably a lot of people that don’t even know that path exists. And of course, a huge majority that wouldn’t want to or couldn’t care less.

One of the things I love about Lincoln is that from pretty much anywhere in town, within just a few minutes you’re out in the countryside, with lots of green stuff to look at. Great balance.

Only one thing: I need new runners. These ones are battered, have ran too many miles and have no support. They are, to be frank, buggered. A job for this weekend I think.

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On the shore.

Yep, that’s a new header picture. The last one was a stock one from WordPress, although I recognised it as a tram in Lisbon (from books, I’ve not actually been to Lisbon).

I’ve wanted to change it for a while but hadn’t decided what to change it to. I have lots of pictures that could go there. And will go there. No doubt I’ll keep changing it every now and then (change is as good as a rest as they say).

For now, I chose a picture that I took of some boats on the shore of Lake Titcaca on my trip to Peru last year. It was so peaceful there, and the views from the islands were just stunning. T’was just lovely. And the sun was shining. Sigh.