January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
As a journalist, I’ve had the good fortune to travel on assignment to a variety of desirable destination events. None, though, has so stoked my fancy as the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Laguna Phuket, Thailand.
Laguna Phuket is a collection of seven integrated resort properties perched on 1,000 acres of tropical parkland and beachfront, neighboring old-town Phuket. It’s a gem of a place, set upon the shores of a country opulent with natural beauty. I traveled to Thailand to report on the destination and its signature triathlon events (the Laguna Phuket Triathlon, the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship and the Tri-Fest that spans the week between the two races), as well as to test my own mettle swimming, cycling and running in the tropical humidity and heat.
While race day itself was a wonderful adventure, some of my most cherished moments from a week in Phuket are of casual, rambling runs through the resort property and the nearby town. My own two feet are my favorite exploratory vehicle when someplace new – nothing beats the up-close viewpoint gained by cruising streets and pathways at a rhythmic running pace. Phuket offers numerous options for a laced-up venture – whether a winding jungle road replete with overgrown vegetation, the village’s main street brimming with storefronts and food stalls or the resort’s own meandering roads and manicured sidewalks. There’s even a taste of sandy trail cutting through a park inhabited by elephants, should a flair for exotic animal life tug at your heartstrings.
And while the resort’s beachfront itself can at times be too steep and deep with soft sand to make for an ideal running surface, it’s certainly the spot you’ll want to finish your jaunt. Take a refreshing post-run dip in the waters of the Andaman Sea, followed by a fifteen-dollar-per-hour beachside massage, capped off by a delicious fresh coconut or fruit smoothie and you’ll understand why Laguna Phuket ranks #1 in my active travel book.