THE third edition of the Ultra-Trail Angkor race, a punishing race through and around Siem Reap’s ancient Angkor temple complex, will see participants brave a gruelling 128 kilometre slog to the finish line.
Varying distances of competition are on offer for participants ranging from the Angkor Ultra Trail (128 kilometre), Bayon Trail Angkor (64 kilometre), Angkor Marathon (42 kilometre), Jungle Trail Angkor (32 kilometre), Temple Run Angkor (16 kilometre) to the leisurely 16 kilometre Nordic Walk Angkor.
Speaking last week, NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun confirmed the numbers were an improvement on last year. He said the Committee expected 700 runners from 34 countries for this year’s races.
In its inaugural run in 2016, only 250 participants from 26 countries took part.
Last year, more than 500 athletes and runners from 37 countries were present at the starting line.
Beginning in the early hours of the morning and setting off from Angkor Thom’s Elephant Terrace, Frenchman Antoine Guillon was the first across the finish line in the full 128-kilometer race in a time of 12 hours, 21 minutes and 56 seconds.
He was followed by Tran Quang in second place and third-placed Christophe Le Saux.
Le Saux, who will be competing once more this year, said conditions will be difficult this year.
“The Ultra-Trail of Angkor will still sting the eyes,” he said via social media. “At the moment it is 33 degrees Celsius and 90 percent humidity in Siem Reap. A true open air sauna.”
Ross Cain, who was a runner in last year’s edition, had glowing reviews for the race.
“This is the most memorable trail race I have ever done. The friendliness of the local villagers who stay up all night in the jungles to cheer, to the spectacular and mesmerising and ‘eerie in the evening’ temples which are all about us,” he said.
“It is a sheer pleasure to be in this beautiful historic park, thank you to the excellent organisers also whom made sure all racers were safe and cared for.”