The organizer of the Bangkok Midnight Marathon (BMM) 2020 was blasted online on Friday after its “new normal race” policy was perceived to be barring foreigners from entering the race.
The Bangkok Midnight Marathon Facebook page and social media accounts were flooded with angry comments about the “new normal race.” Many foreigners called the ban completely racist.
Now in its third year, the Bangkok Midnight Marathon — which Thai authorities created to jump-start sports tourism — introduced a “new normal race” policy for the event that will take place on Dec 13.
Runners and organizers are expected to comply with social distancing rules. They will also need to do fever checks, screenings and mask wearing.
But what has fueled outrage is the online registration that only permits Thais to register. Consequently this immediately prompted accusations of racial discrimination.
Gregor Rasp, a former running and sports endurance coach who has lived in Thailand for 20 years, said that the policy is misguided.
“If you follow the news then you know that 99% of recent Covid-19 cases are imported by Thai nationals. And just like foreigners, these Thais have to spend 14 days in quarantine. One is only released from quarantine if he/she tests negative after 14 days,” he said.
Boonperm Intanapasat, the Bangkok Midnight Marathon race director, on Friday issued a statement apologizing for “failing to take into account that there were many expats here who would want to take part in the race”.
“Offending this community is the last thing we wanted to do. We love athletes of all nationalities” Boonperm told the Bangkok Post.