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Thousands descend on Angkor Wat for half marathon

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Much to the delight of participants, this year’s race was restored to the conventional route of previous years. KT / Yeun Punlue

Organisers of the annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon have lauded the events continued popularity as thousands of runners, both amateur and professional, descended on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, to test their limits at the 23rd edition of the marathon, principally sponsored by Manulife.

Valentin Cuzzucoli of France was the overall victor in the men’s race in a record time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, and 18 seconds with Japan’s Daisuke Yamauchi following closely behind in 1:18:12.

In the women’s half marathon race, Rose Bec of Australia registered 1:28:45 to grab top spot. Singapore-based Irishwoman Maire Nic Amhlaoibh crossed over in second place registering a time of 1:31:33. She had bagged first-prize in the women’s half-marathon last year.

There was some medal cheer for Cambodia in the 10-km race, as the kingdom ensured a Cambodian one-two with Van Pheara and Chea Sampors nabbing first and second place respectively in the men’s race. In the female equivalent, Lyndsay Clarke of the United Kingdom crossed the line first, followed closely by Japan’s Chiharu Watnabe.

Much to the delight of participants, this year’s race was restored to the conventional route of previous years. Last year’s route was interrupted by a government function attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and Minister of Tourism Thong Khon estimated that 10,500 runners from 78 countries participated in this year’s event. The event offers runners different categories from 3 KM to the half marathon (21KM) as well as races for the disabled.

“The Increasing number of Cambodian and international runners is testament to Cambodia’s peace, political stability, and development throughout the country, said Mr. Khon. “[It] is a result of the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia which has enabled international events to attract more and more visitors. So we he hope that foreign guests will return for the 24th Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in December 2019.”

Mr. Khon also praised the continued increase in participation by competitors both domestic and foreign.

“This year’s race has created a new record that we are proud of, he sadi. “This year’s Angkor Half Marathon saw a total of 10,500 Cambodians and foreigners from 78 countries, up 15 percent compared to 2017.”

According to latest statistics, almost 2 million foreign tourists travelled to Siem Reap over the first nine months of the year.

Manulife Cambodia, the first international life insurance company in the Kingdom, became principal sponsor in 2015. As an internationally recognised half marathon, organised by National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and Cambodia Events Organizer (CEO), the race raises relief for the victims of antipersonnel mines in Cambodia.

Proceeds from race continue to be donated to charitable institutions like the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, the Cambodian Red Cross, and mine clearance organisation CMAC. With the support of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, brave Manulife staff also tested their running chops while raising money for Siem Reap Children’s Hospital and others.

“Manulife’s main target is helping to build a better future for Cambodian families,” explained Robert Elliott , Manulife CEO. “We are trying to promote healthy living and healthy living among the Cambodian community. And this is why we support and sponsor the Angkor Half Marathon.”

The company also operated the ManulifeMOVE Fair 2018 where guests stood the chance to win prizes alongside a host of special guests and celebrities including musical band Small World Small Band, MC and actress Hin Channiroth, singers Kanhchna Chet, Peace Chong, and dancers Lyka and Ovantin of OMG Girls Dance.

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