Bangkok Midnight Marathon: Thailand Stronger (with no foreigners)
The midnight run takes place in the historic Rattanakosin area of Bangkok. There will be two races, 21 kilometers and 10 kilometers.
Billed as the “new normal edition,” the Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, Dr. Kongsak Yodmanee, said in a live Facebook press announcement on 30 July that this year’s run is an opportunity for Thailand to become stronger, following the “Thailand Stronger Together” campaign.
The event will feature professional trainers and celebrities and will be conducted with the utmost precautions against COVID-19. Dr. Kongsak urged “brother and sister Thais” to participate for health, strength, and Thailand.
Unfortunately, the “utmost precautions” include banning foreign residents from entering.
When a foreign resident inquired into Bangkok Midnight Marathon’s decision to ban expats, this was the reply from the organizers:
“The decision has been made that this year the registrion is available only for Thais. Sorry about that and hoping for your understanding.”
The decision led to many complaints on Bangkok Midnight Marathon’s Facebook page. All of which boils down to this:
Foreign residents go through the same lockdown restrictions and preventive measures as all Thai citizens. The decision to ban them from participating is racist.
But this isn’t the first incident in which foreign residents are banned.
Last month, the Bangsaen42 Chonburi Marathon had a controversy of its own. There was a social media backlash in response to its announcement that the race was not open to expats.
Since then, however, the organizers have changed the policy and opened the race to both expats and overseas runners, the latter subjected to the government’s open border policy.
In an English-language public statement, the organizers wrote:
“For all any inconvenience caused, please accept our apologize for lack of communication to our foreigner runners.”
Other than the Bangsaen42 mishap, the Full Moon Terrace and Bar, a popular restaurant and bar in Bangkok, made social media news last month when it posted on its door an English-language announcement that says:
“In the rapidly evolving covid-19 situation, we are unable service to foreigners for any cases beginning from today, until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and continue full service when appropriate. We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you.”