Welcome to a new series – Multiple Marathon Monday. This series is intended to help the current and potential marathon maniacs out there in the planning and traveling of your series of marathons. Thanks for reading and good luck!
Multiple Marathon Monday – Asian Edition
As a continuation from my Multiple Marathon Monday post from a couple of weeks ago, I am moving on to the region of Asia. We will look at two separate marathons in the Asian region and how you could travel and run both of them on the same trip.
Unless you have weeks of vacation saved up that you are able to use all in one shot, I am going to assume that your trip abroad would be around 3 weeks long or less. Because of that, we will try to plan our international marathon maniac trip to be within three weeks. Also, we want to be able to experience two countries on our trip, so I will select marathons in various countries. These posts will be organized by continent and have the marathons listed and how to get there. Here we go!
Asian Marathon Option
Bangkok Marathon / Singapore Marathon
Bangkok has received many high marks for its marathon and I figured it would make a good candidate for our maniac duo. In addition to it being a well-spoken of event in an interesting city, it also shares the same sponsor of its sister marathon in our write-up – the Singapore Marathon. Both marathons have their naming rights owned by Standard Chartered Bank. The Bangkok Marathon has 50,000 runners participating in all their various events – the full marathon, the half-marathon, the 10.5KM, and the 5KM races. In addition to huge crowds, the full marathon starts at 2AM! I love night time runs! This would give a great opportunity to see a thoroughly interesting city in all of its lit wonder. As if the late (or early, depending on your perspective) start is not fascinating enough, the late hour would also help the runner traveling from the US. Since Bangkok is 12 hours ahead of the East Coast time (in November), a 2AM start would make the recently arrived runner feel like he is running in the afternoon. That can be very helpful if you arrive within a couple of days of the race.
- Cost: Cost ranges from $71 to $88(depending on when you enter)
- Date: November 17
- Temp: 70° – 80° (can be very humid, especially since it is run at night)
The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is one that I have wanted to run for a while and hope to be able to add to my list of completed marathons soon. Singapore is a exceptional city and one that I have had tickets for Singapore at least 4 times :). Unfortunately, I was never able to actually fly any of those tickets. After my recent experience on Singapore Airlines and the incredible service I experienced, I am looking even more forward to visiting Singapore to meet the people and see the city-state.
Singapore has some incredible sights and man-made wonders. The marathon route courses through many of the famous parts of the city. Over 65,000 runners participate in the various races (marathon, half-marathon, and 10K) on that day. There are many fast runners that take part in the marathon but the times are not on world-record pace due to the heat and humidity that exists during the race. Obviously, this may not be your race choice to PR at the marathon distance but if you are doing this itinerary, then you are not looking to PR anyway with two foreign marathons in 2 weeks. So, the humidity may actually help you to just slow down and enjoy the sights and culture of the city.
Since both of these cities are major hubs for airlines and in somewhat close proximity to each other, it will not be difficult to get tickets to these cities.
American Airline miles can be very useful given the strength of their partners, especially Cathay Pacific. I flew Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Hong Kong and then Business Class to Singapore in January with American Airline miles. American Airlines themselves do not fly to our destinations so we will look to their partners. To experience a better search experience and availbility than using AA’s award system, try using British Airways. To do this, you need to register for their frequent flyer program (Executive Club) and then select to Book Flights with Avios. It may be most helpful for you to search segment by segment (especially if you are trying to leave from a US city that is not an international gateway city). When it brings it to the screen asking if you want a stopover, make sure you select No Stopover as that way you will not have to the UK taxes/surcharges (which are very high for premium cabin travel). American Airlines counts Thailand and Singapore as their Asia 2 countries so it will cost 70,000 AA miles for coach / 110,000 AA miles for business / and 130,000 AA miles for first class on their partners. Those are round-trip prices. You can book them as one-ways for half the cost in miles.
Searching British Airways site, I found a multitude of options to Bangkok from NYC – some going through Europe and others going through Japan. There was plenty of availability in coach either way. It would be better to opt for going through Japan as going through the UK will significantly increase the taxes you will be required to pay.
Continuing on from Bangkok to Singapore, there is tremendous availability again. You can use Malaysia Airlines (which routes through Kuala Lumpur) as well as Cathay Pacific which is a direct flight.
To return back to NYC from Singapore, there is incredible availability, specifically through London. If you do not mind paying extra taxes, you could include London as a layover on the return to tour the city for a while. If you do not want to pay the extra in taxes, you can fly Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific. I would prefer the Cathay Pacific flight myself.
To book these flights, you will search using British Airways and take note of the flight numbers that you are finding. After that, you will need to call American Airlines Award Reservations to book it. Simply feed them the flight numbers and go ahead and have them ticket it! Their phone number is 1-800-882-8880
Delta can have decent availability to Bangkok and Singapore but that availability comes and goes. It will take 80,000 Skymiles for travel to Thailand and Singapore. In addition to using Delta, you can also use your Skymiles to book travel on Korean Air through Seoul. One of the options has a 15 hour layover that would give you a nice amount of time to explore!
United Airlines again comes through as a great source to use for a trip such as this. Not only does their award calendar just work but for an itinerary for this trip works great with United’s partners – Bangkok is the hub for Thai Airways and Singapore is the hub for Singapore Airlines, both are United partners. Another reason to use United Airline miles for this trip is that they only require 65,000 miles for an itinerary such as this. Just too many reasons to go with United (unless you have a lot of other miles).
Unlike American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and US Airways, you can book this trip online without having to call anyone.
You can book the same itinerary as above but it will cost 80,000 US Airways miles. Call 800-428-4322 to ticket it. (please be aware that there is a ticketing charge. There is also a charge to ticket over the phone but you can have that waived by telling the agent that you were unable to ticket the award online and that is why you needed to call in.)
Award Trip Summary:
I have only mentioned trips using coach travel. You can book any of these routes in business or first class. However, the availability is going to be different. For a trip to use miles towards a premium cabin redemption, this would certainly be the trip to do that! To search for those redemptions, use the same techniques as above.
Have fun with the Asian Multiple Marathon Itinerary! 🙂