One of the best – or perhaps THE best thing – about being a race director is to see people committing to a goal, showing up, and trying as hard as they can to make that goal! I got to witness GREATNESS!
The RER is the kind of race that allows people to challenge themselves to new achievements and many participants set huge personal bests. The 2015 edition was no exception. I’m VERY proud of all the participants as they demonstrated true Relentless ultra spirit! Even those who did not have the race that they wanted continued to cheer and encourage those who were able to keep going.
It may seem strange to some when I say that people thank me for challenging them and giving them an opportunity to push themselves to suffer through heat, fatigue, pain, blisters, nausea and whatnot in order to accomplish something that was previously only in their dreams. Having accomplished so much, they are then overcome with joy, elation, confidence, and the best kind of pride and receive their finishers’ medallion with their eyes are brimming with tears – amazed about what they have just accomplished. This.is.ultra.
The 24 hour men’s race was a close competition with the winner, Graeme Fancett, and second place, Peter Stampf, separated by only three minutes! Both completed 44 laps (160.16 km), so the winner is decided by time. Thanet Kaewlek rounded out the podium with third place. Excellent effort!
The women’s 24 hour race had all top three finishers on the same lap as well with 28 apiece (101.92km)! Nattamon Aungkatawiwat led the way followed by Nichanan Jongsukkitpanich and Suthipa Sae Heng. What an incredible effort by the Thai women – they are really up and coming!
The women’s and men’s 12 hour race first place decisions were won handily by Dolores Nicholson and Owen Brown respectively. However, the women’s and men’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers both finished on the same lap and were decided by time alone. Ratchada Saengsanon finished a mere 16 seconds ahead of Chayanin Khewharn in the women’s. Sixteen seconds over 12 hours! Only 12 minutes separated Y.C. Chen (2nd) and Kunihiko Ouchi (3rd) for the men. Well done!
The men’s 6 hour event was no less exciting with Sebastian Bertrand taking first over Gregorz Reluga by 25 minutes, each having completed 14 laps (50.96km). Tom Craven finished in solid 3rd place. The women’s 6 hour race was easily won by Wendy Paizs. The podium also included Joyce Tsang (2nd) and Sriping Malaiwan (3rd) Congrats, all!
If anyone tells you that looped timed events are boring tell them they don’t know what they are talking about! All the results can be found on this SportstatsAsia link.
Chris Pye from Australia was an ultrarunner until diagnosed with a type of arthritis that prohibits him from running ultra distances. That didn’t stop him from participating! He was already signed up and booked to participate in this event so he decided to learn how to ride a unicycle and he rode for 24 hours covering 145 km and raising a lot of money as well!
Mick started his 12 hour race at 2pm but due to some physical issues had to drop from the race. After some medication and a good night’s sleep, he signed up for the 6 hour race final start at 8am so that he could “finish something”!
A few days before the race a couple of women who were already signed up for the 12 hour category decided to up their game and go for it in the 24 hour event!
Race directors from two other local ultras participated: Putsadee of the DS100 and Thailand Mountain Seb of the Ultra Trail Chiang Mai. The DS100 group also made a sizable contribution towards Relentless.
Several people who ran this in previous years decided to up the ante and register for a longer time category. MANY people attempted the 24 hour event for the first time! Others have told me that they’ll return next year to run longer!
The runners overcame heat, blisters, cramps, nausea, chafing, and their own internal battles to finish what they came to do!
The Relentless Endurance Race is a fundraiser to benefit Relentless, a non-profit organization I founded that fights slavery through health care. As an ultra-runner I sought out a way to combine my passions of justice and running through this event. Briefly, we provide direct health care, equip assistance programs to address health problems of trafficked people, and train health care professionals about how they can leverage their skills to fight human trafficking. For more about Relentless, please visit our website www.gorelentless.org.
I challenged the RER participants to collect monetary pledges for each kilometer they run. One runner had pledges of 20 and 50 baht/km. A couple of her sponsors got creative by giving bonuses for reaching 40k, 50km, and 70km distances! In this way, each lap could mean 100’s of baht raised!
Iker Martin Urbieta from Spain has a project called “5 Continents, 5 Causes” in which he chooses a cause in a country/continent and runs an ultramarathon there to raise money for that cause. He decided to choose Relentless and the Relentless Endurance Race for Asia! He has raised 900 Euros and counting!
Chris Pye also launched his own social media fundraising campaign in Australia and was able to raise 35,000 Baht for Relentless!
I’m amazed and humbled at the creativity and passion that people put into the fundraising and awareness of Relentless and the cause of human trafficking. At the time of this writing, the funds are still rolling in from people collecting and sending in pledge money but I expect to net over $4000 USD for this year’s event. After expenses for the race, 100% of the funds goes towards the work of Relentless.
Volunteers The volunteers also pulled out a non-celebrated, but much appreciated ultra-event of their own! My whole-hearted thanks, on behalf of the participants goes out to them! We cannot run this event without you! Thank you to Khun Pavida who for so long helped make this a bilingual event. Khun Wut and others came and donated time and energy to photograph the race. Lauren and Sheldon Nest, new staff at Team Relentless, get special attention as they put in so many hours before, during and after the event. Khap khun MAAK MAAK!
- Laguna Phuket Marathon donated 2 free entries to the 2016 Laguna Phuket Marathon and each entry came with 2 nights free accommodation at the race site.
- Brooks Running Thailand donated the race t-shirts as well as prize vouchers for the top three male and female finishers in each category.
- VitalThai provided the Gu Brew GU electrolyte drink for the course, prize vouchers for winners, and donated 10% of all sales during the race to Relentless.
- The Dorm Bakery provided loads of organic granola bars to the athletes.
- Khun Bay from Bay’s coffee served his best pour-over coffee and donated the proceeds to Relentless.
- Tara Izuzu donated 10,000 baht in cash for the event.
Runners – if you don’t sign up, train well, show up and give your best effort, there is no RER! You make the event!
I look forward to seeing you here next year 13-14 November!