After a storm of criticism, organisers of Bangkok’s Midnight Marathon (BMM) 2020, have reopened the race to foreign runners in Thailand following an earlier policy that had prevented non-Thai runners from entering.
An initial online application form that only allowed Thai nationals to register raised the question of racial discrimination with one foreign running coach and long time resident of Thailand named Gregor Rasp being quoted in the Thai media as saying the policy was “misguided” from the start.
“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,” Rasp said.
The official race Facebook page was hit with a flood of criticism with officials hurrying to deflect the attacks by claiming they had acted in “good faith” and that the initial precautions were to avoid spreading the virus.
To date, Thailand has seen 3,348 cases of coronavirus with 58 deaths attributed to the disease.
The 2020 running of the BMM, the third to date, is scheduled for December 13th, with all participants – Thai and foreign – currently expected to practice social distancing and submit to temperature screenings and the wearing of masks.
BMM race director, Boonperm Intanapasat yesterday said he was sorry for “failing to take into account that there were many expats here who would want to take part in the race”, adding that “Offending this community is the last thing we wanted to do. We love athletes of all nationalities.”