The award-winning Laguna Phuket Marathon returns for its 14th year on 8-9 June 2019; and the event’s organisers are expecting a bumper field of over 13,000 participants from more than 50 countries. Welcoming runners from as young as three years old (competing in the 2 km Kids Run) up to more than 70 years old, Laguna Phuket Marathon is a key event on Phuket’s annual sporting calendar.
It is the largest mass participation event in Phuket, and will seek to shine a light on the island’s sports and tourism credentials.
“We have broken our own entry record every year and still with nearly three months to go we have surpassed last year’s entry numbers,” said Roman Floesser, General Manager of the event’s organiser, GAA Events. “Runners of all abilities and nationalities are set to compete and what is particularly encouraging for us and for the island is that more than 80% of the runners are from outside of Phuket; travelling from overseas and around Thailand to take part in the event and enjoy Phuket’s famed hospitality.”
Phuket is a major tourism destination welcoming a record of more than 9 million arrivals through Phuket International Airport in 2018. As the island’s appeal continues to grow, sports tourism has become one of the fastest growing tourism sectors.
The Laguna Phuket Marathon team notes that the event has been at the front of that growth and has helped to put Phuket on the map as a running mecca. The event is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, is timed by Sportstats Asia, and is certified by AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races).
And independent study of the 2018 event found that its economic impact was reportedly THB 146.8 million (US$4.6 million). International participants stayed an average of 10 days over the period and their top three areas of spend were food & beverage, accommodation and local transportation.
With the ‘largest international field of any running event in Thailand’, the Laguna Phuket Marathon has become a leading destination marathon in South East Asia and a significant revenue generator for the local economy.
“It’s delightful to have witnessed the steady growth of the running community in Thailand, especially in the past few years,” said Anthony Loh, Vice President of Laguna Phuket. “Sport promotes a healthy lifestyle and running events can help to raise awareness and funds for meaningful causes. Laguna Phuket Marathon leads the way in both endeavours, very much in sync with Laguna Phuket’s aspirations.
“I believe Laguna Phuket Marathon’s success as a leading mass-participation sporting event in Asia Pacific and a fundraising platform that has a positive impact on the local community, together with Laguna Phuket’s outstanding hospitality capacity, has significantly contributed to the resort’s ultimate recognition as Best Sports Event Venue in Thailand last November.”
Loh continued, “This June, Laguna Phuket will once again welcome thousands of runners and spectators to our beautiful destination resort. We encourage all to join us in raising awareness and funds towards Laguna Phuket Foundation’s Children First Fund (CFF) to support more than 400 underprivileged children in seven orphanages in Phuket.”
In addition to supporting Laguna Phuket Foundation’s Children First Fund, this year the event is supporting the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and its efforts to build a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
“Running has become very popular in recent years and it’s great to see more and more people enjoying a healthy activity,” added GAA Events’ Roman Floesser.
“At the same time, we are seeing runners supporting charitable causes through raising funds and profiles, and we are proud that Laguna Phuket Marathon continues to support Laguna Phuket Foundation’s Children First Fund, and for the first time this year the UNHCR.”
Laguna Phuket Marathon 2019 offers six distances: 2 km Kids Run, 5 km and 10.5 km will take place on Saturday 8th June in the afternoon; while the Half Marathon (21.0975 km), Marathon (42.195 km) and Marathon Relay (42.195 km) will take place on Sunday 9th June in the morning.