Ricky Ekkarat Phanthip announced his return to form with a win at the Powerman Malaysia Asia Duathlon Championships last weekend. The “fastest man in Phuket” saw action for the first time after taking a year off after knee surgery, but his patience and discipline were rewarded with a first place in his age group.
Phanthip led his athletes from the Born Free to Run grassroots running program to top three age group category finishes over the Powerman Short distance of 5-kilometer first run, 32.5-kilometer bike ride, 5-kilometer second run. Foofa Songklod Jearanaisil took third place alongside Phanthip in the men’s 30-34 age category while Annie Sukanya Chuaywang replicated the same feat on the distaff side. Aoy Suthipa Sae-Heng claimed second place in the 45-49 age group, while Bee-Jackkapong Ramchai placed 10th overall and recorded the fastest bike split in his age group.
Born Free to Run offers free run training sessions for the local Phuket community, finding and encouraging young talent and building them into future running stars. What started with one athlete, Phanthip, being given a pair of running shoes has now grown into a club 40 members strong. These athletes come from rural areas around the region of Phuket who would otherwise not have the means to train and excel in running and multisport.
Thanks to a grant from the Phuket Community Foundation and the corporate support and use of the world-class facilities of Thanyapura Phuket, these athletes train in swimming, cycling, and running alongside famous athletes and world record holders. Racing not only locally but also internationally, they have garnered not only trophies but also racing experience and maturity.
Born Free to Run is now focused on training 10 young people, all local students studying not far from Thanyapura. The plan is to develop them to compete at the national level or higher.
We are delighted to announce that Wittawat Waree (Thep) finished 140 km inline cycling race with bronze medal at the 32nd National Youth Games Suphanburi, in his first time racing at national level. Thep was the only Phuket athlete who took home a medal in the road bike category.
Coach Ricky created a special weekly training programme for him here since October after Thep qualified for the National Youth Games.
Learn more about Thep’s training and “Born Free To Run”, Coach Ricky’s non-profit initiative supported by Thanyapura. Born Free To Run is opening doors for the next wave of Thai superstar athletes, on the road to get Thailand a Gold medal at the 2020 Olympics.