Kawaii kitty! Bangkok gets cute at Hello Kitty Run (PHOTO ESSAY)

The air turned pink and Bangkok became the epitome of cuteness on Sunday morning as Hello Kitty — the symbol of Asian pop culture and the most famous feline-themed character in the world — led over 5,000 fans in a five-kilometer run.

At 8am on Sunday, Makkasan Airport Link station was bustling with runners sporting Hello Kitty pink T-shirts. Like most running events with a fantasy theme, “Hello Kitty Run Bangkok” was not labeled as a race, but rather a healthy gathering of people who share a love for the popular Sanrio character — and of course, this was their big chance to meet the real Hello Kitty.

Tickets reportedly sold out days before the event and as expected, about 85 percent of the runners were Thai girls, who likely grew up adoring the Sanrio character. However also showing their support for the cartoon kitty were families and dads who ran the 5k race with their toddlers strapped on their backs.

As runners lined up at the starting point, the one and only Hello Kitty came out from her VIP room in an iconic white and red dress. The organizer told Coconuts that the person in the costume was not a random entertainer, but a REAL Hello Kitty representative flown to Thailand by Sanrio themselves.

Before any running started, Hello Kitty was invited up on stage for a brief interview and media photo opps as the crowd cheered for her. Although the event’s host spoke to her in English, Hello Kitty only answered her interview questions with body language: dancing, waving, and acting excited. It was just too damn cute.

Looking out of place in the pink crowd, Badtz Maru was a big hit among fellow runners

Runners had two hours to finish the five kilometers, so many were spotted taking it slow, walking and taking selfies in the running course.

Runners who made it to the finish line were greeted with a high five from the staff and a Hello Kitty medal, which they could brag about for a lifetime — for completing the cutest sports event on earth.

“Hello Kitty Run is the perfect event for those who love Hello Kitty. I am a runner myself, and I’ve gone to many running events with a fantasy theme. Previously, I joined ChomBueng Marathon, where I dressed up in a hill tribe traditional costume.” — Chaiwit Jamtiangtrong


“I dressed in the Hello Kitty theme today. I’ll definitely finish the race in this outfit. I’ve been always a Hello Kitty fan.” — Wanichaporn Nantharit, Designer


“This is my first time in a running event. My friend asked me to join them, and I thought the event was cute. I only made it two kilometers on the treadmill, but I finished the 5k today!” — Sasirin Chumchuensuk, IT Manager (second of the right)


“I never run, not at all, and I feel like people joined the event because it’s cute. They’re definitely not hardcore runners. My friends and I took about 45 minutes to finish.” Siripin Rochanavibhata, pharmacist (right)

“I actually heard about the event on Coconuts, so I shared it with my friends, and before I knew it, they booked everything for me. I just handed them the money. It’s a good way to get healthy and spend time with friends.” Thanita Na Chiangmai, bank employee (second from the right)


“I feel like they should hold this event again next year. I personally love Hello Kitty, so does my sister and my mom, who had just started training. She’s not finished yet!” — Saruttaya Ngam-usawan, professional golfer (right)


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