Bangkok Marathon Still On Despite Toxic Smog

BANGKOK — A marathon organized for this weekend in Bangkok will go ahead despite the hazardous levels of smog that have clouded Bangkok for weeks, the Tourism and Sports Ministry said Friday.

While many outdoor activities and all classes have been canceled this week due to air pollution, Sunday morning’s Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok will go on as planned, according to Yuthasak Supakorn, director of the tourism authority.

Marathon and half-marathon runners will start at Rajamangala Stadium bound for the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Road.

Other runs, including 10K and 3.5K races, will start at Wat Ratchanatdaram and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on Ratchadamnoen Road respectively, before heading to the finish line at City Hall.

Yuthana said organizers would check smog levels Saturday morning to consider whether to call the race off. He said participants would receive refunds if the event is canceled.

Marathoners paid upward of 1,500 baht to register for the race. Last year over 20,000 runners participated in the event’s first outing.

According to Yuthana, measures have been taken to reduce the unhealthy levels of smog, including spraying water on roads since Wednesday and asking nearby construction work to halt until Sunday.

Similar discredited methods have been carried out citywide to no discernible effect.

Yuthana’s comments come a day after Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang called an emergency meeting of experts in which he said he didn’t know how to tackle the city’s pollution levels. Medical personnel for the event will be increased from 35 to 90.

Other running events scheduled this week have been postponed. They included Sunday’s Thai Run for World Cancer Day and Harathon, which was scheduled for Feb. 17.