Rocker and charity runner Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai greets supporters in Muang district, Chiang Rai province, on Sunday. (Photo by Chinnaphat Chaimon)
CHIANG RAI: People in Mae Sai were preparing a warm welcome for rocker Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai, who is expected to conclude his 2,191-kilometre-long South-to-North charity run in Thailand’s northernmost district on Monday evening.
Somsak Khanakham, the Mae Sai district chief, said Toon is scheduled to arrive in Mae Sai between 5pm and 6.10pm – and local residents would be there to greet him at the Mae Sai district office. They will hand Toon a donation which totalled about 1.8 million baht as of Sunday evening.
Mr Somsak said it will be quite a party: Blind students would sing Christmas songs with Toon, while residents will line the road from the Mae Sai district office to the Thai-Myanmar border bridge in Mae Sai, the finish line of the epic run to raise funds for cash-strapped public hospitals.
More festivities are planned at the border bridge, the Mae Sai district chief said. Members of local ethnic minorities will gather to welcome Toon, while Somsak Amornratanachaikul, chief executive of Asian Seafoods Coldstorage Plc, would make a donation of 10 million baht.
Toon was expected to resume his run in Chiang Rai’s Muang district at about 3am on Monday, traversing Mae Chan district before arriving in Mae Sai. The final 30km stretch completes the mission he began in Betong district, Yala, on Nov 1.
Total donations exceeded 1 billion baht as of Sunday.