Monday, September 28, 2009

Banyan Tree Bangkok – The 11th Vertical Marathon, 20 September 2009

Banyan Tree Bangkok held its 11th Vertical Marathon in aid of the HIV Formula Feeding Fund. I was lucky enough to make it in time after a long swim from Banyan Tree Bintan, and inspired by the enthusiasm of the athletes and the well-organized event that ran like clockwork, here are my notes of the festivities……

8pm – 19 September 2009
What a workout. I finally arrived on banks of the Chao Phraya River and headed onto the deck of the Apsara, Banyan Tree’s dinner cruise, to enjoy the delightful culinary journey after my long swim.

After dinner, a limousine from Banyan Tree Bangkok came to pick me up and after a quick and efficient check-in, brought me to my Premier Suite. Although I was enjoying the sweeping views of the city, I was SO tired from my long swim that I went to bed almost immediately.

20 September 2009
It’s the day of the 11th Vertical Marathon! I heard so much about the charity run, a race up 1,093 steps to the award-winning Vertigo restaurant on the 61st floor. The 350 baht registration fee goes fully to the HIV Formula Feeding Fund of the Thai Red Cross, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali.

6am - 20 September 2009
I gathered with the rest of the staff and participants at the starting line to observe the action, as the runners started to arrive and register for the event. The registration brochure explained that this is the 11th year that the Vertical Marathon is taking place in Banyan Tree Bangkok.

8am - Let the race begin!

The vertical marathon was divided into male and female categories, different age groups and categories (couples and team relay). Runners were flagged off in groups of 10 at 2 minute intervals and officially timed.

Still tired from the previous night’s swim, I chose the lazy way out and decided to take the lift up to the finish line on the 61st floor instead, enjoying spectacular panoramic views of the city and watching dances and performances while waiting for the enthusiastic athletes to finish.

Attentive Banyan Tree associates were on hand at the finish line to ensure the runners were hydrated and healthy. Medals were given out to the top finishers from each category, as the faster runners rested up and we all cheered for the rest of the 629 participants to finish in their various categories.


Its over! All 629 runners successfully completed the Vertical Marathon, as seven-time winner Boonchoo Chandaicha defended his title once again as the overall winner in the men’s category with a time of 6m 19s, and Jutharaj Intharavichian emerging the champion in the women’s category with a time of 8m 20s.

This is the 9th year that Banyan Tree Bangkok will be donating the proceeds collected from the Vertical Marathon to the HIV Formula Feeding Fund. Mr. Bernold O. Schroeder, Senior Vice President & Managing Director – Hotel Operations of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, said, “We are pleased to have contributed over THB 3million (US$88,000) to date for the HIV Formula Feeding Fund. We hope that this amount will go a long way in achieving its aims, and I encourage everyone to sign up for the challenging run and join us in supporting this worthy cause.”

I can’t wait for the next run, and this time, I might even participate!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Greening Communities in Banyan Tree

Did you know? Guiding our ecological philosophy, Banyan Tree increased our commitment to tackle issues of climate change, by launching a group-wide initiative in 2007, challenging each our resorts to plant 2,000 new trees per year for the next 10 years.

While the initiative will offset a small amount of the globally produced atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main goal is to drive greater awareness of climate change among our communities, associates, and guests.

When carrying out the plantings, our teams engaged community members, guests, and associates in order raise awareness of the issues and potential consequences of climate change.

Read more about Greening Communities here.