CHIANG RAI – Rock star Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai of the band Bodyslam was given a triumphant welcome by a large number of admirers when he finally reached his destination in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai at 6.20pm Monday, after having logged 386 hours of running in 55 days for a distance of 2,215 kilometres from the southernmost district of Betong, Yala province.
Thousands of people lined up on both sides of the road, waving their banknotes for the donations and cheering as the runner, Artiwara Kongmalai, was approaching the finish line at the northern gate which is the northernmost point of the country, where he rang a bell there to signal the end of his ambitious charity mission.
Latest figure of the donations was reported to amount to 1,142 million baht against his original goal of 700 million baht to fund 11 needy hospitals across the country.
At the order of Army Commander-in- Chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart, Toon and his team will be flown back to Bangkok in a military aircraft on Wednesday. A motorcade will be arranged to take the runner and his team from Don Meuang airport to a destination likely to be the Government House to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.
In order to support individuals who sacrifice for the good of the society, the army chief said the military had been instructed by the prime minister to take care of and to provide convenience to the runners throughout their super marathon run from Betong to Mae Sai.