Inspiring local athletes overcome disabilities at Pattaya Fun Run

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Wheelchair athletes and able-bodied runners competed side by side and had great fun along the way.
Wheelchair athletes and able-bodied runners competed side by side and had great fun along the way.

While the 2019 Pattaya marathon and the half marathon races may have taken the runners on a scenic route around Pattaya, Pratamnak and Jomtien on July 21, there was a smaller run on the same day that did not go quite as far.

The Fun Run saw participants follow a route down Beach Road towards the Dolphin Roundabout, then along Second Road before turning right onto Pattaya Klang and the finish line back on Beach Road.

Nat (right) was the winner of the wheelchair race, followed closely by Ole (left), both taking part in their very first Pattaya Marathon event.
Nat (right) was the winner of the wheelchair race, followed closely by Ole (left), both taking part in their very first Pattaya Marathon event.

The 3.75km race started with more than forty wheelchair racers, all current and former students, and several teachers, from the local Technological College for people with Disabilities, part of the Father Ray Foundation.

As soon as the klaxon was sounded the wheelchairs raced down the road, all except one young man that is. Unable to use his brand new electric wheelchair, donated to him by a sponsor, he was back in his manual chair, and unable to use his hands due to cerebral palsy he was left with just one foot to pull himself along.

He was swamped by the hundreds, if not thousands, of mostly children on the Fun Run and he refused all offers of help, and he received many. He was never going to win and he knew he would come last, but he wanted to finish his first ever race all by himself.

Before he had even reached the hill up to the Dolphin Roundabout, several of his school mates had already finished the race, but he continued at his own pace and was cheered on by fellow racers and spectators.

The annual Fun Run is just what it says it is, a lot of fun. Families run together, the elderly trying to better their personal best times, groups of school children and even super-heroes. This young man in a wheelchair perhaps proved to be the biggest inspiration of all to the many who took part this year.

A young man with cerebral palsy and with the use of just one foot showed a ton of guts and courage to finish the course without any assistance.
A young man with cerebral palsy and with the use of just one foot showed a ton of guts and courage to finish the course without any assistance.