Tar the Runner

Long tail boat sunset - Nathon

Sunset in Nathon

Last night the incredible world of running proved, to me, to be the same – the world over.

It was just past five in the evening when I started the usual routine – Check GPS watch – batteries flat – again, check Mp3 – charged – thank goodness. Slip on the secret socks and gear up before heading out after a few half-hearted warm up exercises.

About 2km’s into my new Samui 5km round trip I see a man frantically gesturing and smiling at me – pointing the direction of where I’m headed. I have my suspicions of what’s going before the running-on-the-spot, pointing and smiling gestures begin for the second time. It’s all too familiar. I’ve found a running buddy, or at least – one has found me. This is actually a reflection of the friendliness of the Thai people.

Runners are friendly people too. Behind the sweat drenched brow, and the almost constant look of pain – we are good people, unlike those cyclist heathen(spit on the ground) whose lean, determined and chiselled chins are but the surface of an even stonier interior, we at least make even the smallest effort of greeting in the form of “The Nod” – as I call it.

After zipping in and out of his beach hut bungalow Tar resurfaces clad in, apart from the colours, the exact same get up as me. One word is spoken “Nathon” (pronounced naa-tonn) – Tar wants me to join him on his route to another suburb considerably further than my destination and over a hill that has been silently challenging me for the past month. I agree to conquer the hill but will turn around after that.

We chatted along the way…well…I asked him whether there were running races on the island and he replied “raining finish for now” (Monsoon season has just come to an end here), and I go on as though that is what I asked. Conversation doesn’t feature highly but I learn that Tar runs a beach bungalow business and he learns that I am an English Teacher (Ajarn in Thai) here. The next few kilometres are awesome but pale in comparison to the hill summit. The view is magnificent, the sun happened to be setting and the ocean opens up to you with the orange hues dancing upon it. We headed our separate ways after that.

An incredible run and an awesome story – I felt really grateful to have experienced that and am looking even more forward to adding more distance and friends to my resurrected run-training as the weeks go by.

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