Toon hopes for huge turnout on new run for small hospitals

Toon hopes for huge turnout on new run for small hospitals

Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai trains for his next effort to raise funds for hospitals, a two-day mini-marathon from Nong Khai to Khon Kaen next month. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai trains for his next effort to raise funds for hospitals, a two-day mini-marathon from Nong Khai to Khon Kaen next month. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai will hit the road again next month, and he expects a big crowd of runners to join his latest project to help underfunded small and mid-sized hospitals.

The Bodyslam singer is planning the next installment of the acclaimed Kaokonlakao project, a two-day charity race covering 180 kilometres from Nong Khai to Khon Kaen that will start on June 15.

The iron-man completed an epic 2,191 km run from Betong district in Yala to Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai from Nov 1 to Dec 24 last year to raise funds for medical equipment needed by 11 large hospitals. By the time he reached the finish line in Mae Sai on the night of Dec 24, donations topped 1 billion baht.

This time, Toon's goal is to enable eight smaller hospitals to provide better medical services to patients. And he does not want to do it alone -- he wants others to sweat alongside him by participating in series of shorter relay races along the way.

"We will hand little pieces of inspiration to one another in this relay race," he said during a practice run in Bang Bo district of Samut Prakan.

The highlight will be a 11km mini-marathon in Muang district of Khon Kaen, and Toon hopes to make it the largest running event -- for both amateurs and professionals -- that the northeastern region has ever seen. 

"If we can help develop the potential of community hospitals, they won't have to transfer as many patients to bigger hospitals," he said in a video to promote the new run.

The hospitals to receive donations in the upcoming run are located in Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen. Some hospitals, such as Sa Khlai in Nong Khai, have only three doctors to treat more than 100 patients every day.


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