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Uncertainties hang over multiple running events

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A runner approaches the finish line during last year’s Phnom Penh Half Marathon. KT/Yeun Punleau

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over several major running events that Cambodia is scheduled to host in the next few months.

The first one of these big events is the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon, which is supposed to be held on June 14.

The Phnom Penh half Marathon is held every year to celebrate the birthday of Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and to raise funds for various charities, including the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals. The event coincides and is also meant to mark the World Environment Day and Olympic Day.

Last year’s edition of the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon saw more than 6,000 amateur and seasoned runners, including 500 plus foreigners from 35 countries, taking part.

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) said they are expecting more than 10,000 local and foreign runners to join the 2020 edition of the event. The NOCC and Cambodia Events Organiser are organising the race with the support of the Ministry of Tourism.

The other major running event that is in danger of being cancelled or postponed is the Khmer Empire Marathon in Siem Reap province.

The seventh edition of Khmer Empire Marathon is due to be held on August 2. The event is held among the ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination. The race last year drew more than 3,500 local and international participants.

But because of the ongoing health crisis, there is a big possibility that the above events would be scrapped altogether or rescheduled to another date.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that organisers have yet to issue any notice whether these events will push through or not.

The organisers of a few smaller running events remain optimistic that they would be able to hold their own events as scheduled.

Juergen Wittstock, ceo of Running in Cambodia, said they are hopeful that they will be able to stage the Koh Race 2020. The Koh Dach Race 2020 is scheduled to be held in Phnom Penh’s Koh Dach (Silk Island) on July 26. Running in Cambodia is the main organiser of the race.

“As of now, the only thing we can say is that we will keep an eye on the virus situation. But we are convinced that in July, it will have improved to a level where we can have the race,” he said.

The Women’s Run, which drew more than 2,000 runners from Cambodia and abroad on March 8, was the last major running event that was held in Cambodia prior to the intensified restrictions that came with the coronavirus outbreak.

The 8th edition of the Sihanoukville International Half Marathon was once again postponed, not because of health concerns, but because of ongoing construction of the running course.  The event originally scheduled to be held in March 2019, was rescheduled for March 2020, and then postponed again.

“Please be informed that Sihanoukville International Half Marathon is still postponed due to the running course still being under construction,” the Cambodia Events Organiser, the agency behind the event, said on its website.

Just like with other countries, the Cambodian sports sector has been badly affected by the ongoing health crisis, with many football, basketball, baseball, golf and other sports activities cancelled or rescheduled to a later date. As of today, there are 96 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Cambodia.

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