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Chiang Mai Marathon Goes ‘Thai Only’ Even as Bangkok Race Backs Down

Chiang Mai Marathon Thailand Excludes Foreigners

Organizers of the Muang Thai Chiang Mai Marathon apparently haven’t learned from the mistakes of a Bangkok race which on Saturday dropped its ban on foreign runners.

In a stupefyingly tone-deaf repeat of the xenophobic blunder by the Bangkok Midnight Marathon, those behind the Dec. 20 races from Chiang Mai’s Tae Pae Gate said they will “consider” allowing foreigner to enter the “Thai Run Thai” event in October.

Pummeled by withering attacks charging them with both racism and xenophobia, the Midnight Marathon announced Saturday they will accept expat runners starting on Aug. 13. Registration opened for Thais today.

Registration details will posted on Aug. 10, race director Boonperm Intanapasat said, again profusely apologizing for initially foreign nationals to “ensure that people with travel history do not mix with the ones who didn’t travel.”

Of course, nearly 100 percent of the foreigners in Thailand have been here since at least March while more than 50,000 Thais have returned from overseas and gone through quarantine.

The same illogic seems to be running through the head of the northern race organizers, whose website repeats several times, in Thai, that foreigners are being excluded due to Covid-19 risks.

The Chaing Mai race is being capped at 5,000 runners this time and registration will open first for Thais. Presumably organizers will argue that if there are any slots left come October, foreign expats will be allowed to register. Or sooner after still-hot expats redirect their Midnight Marathon venting to Chiang Mai.