Runners from France beat their counterparts from many other countries to top the Angkor Ultra Trail 2020.
Antoine Guillon took the first place in the male category of the 128km Ultra Trail, now in its fifth year, while his compatriot Veronique Messina won in the female category of the race.
Guillon finished the race in 12:12:57, while Messina registered a time of 17:30:26.
The 128km race was the main event for Angkor Ultra Trail 2020. Other French runners also did very well, topping further categories of Cambodia’s premier endurance race.
Four other French runners placed in the top 10 of the male division. Cristophe Le Saux bagged the second place, while the 7th, 8th and 9th places went to Pierre Dechnik, Jean-marie Guemas and Richard Voilquin.
The other male runners who won a place in the top 10 were Choi Deokgyu of South Korea (3rd), Gordon Parkinson and Richard Chatterson of the United Kingdom (UK) and Dajun Li of China..
On the female side, Messina was joined on the winners’ podium by compatriot Gwenaelle Simon, who placed third overall in the category.
The other female runners who placed in the top five are Yin Kwan Cheng of Hong Kong (2nd), Han Sookjung of South Korea and Shujing Sun of Hong Kong.
In the 64km Bayon Trail (male) first place went to Yohan Dercourt of France, followed by Ali King of the UK (2nd), Salvador Calvo Redondo of Spain (3rd), Paul Antone of France and Brandon Chase of the United States (US).
The top five winners on the female side were Katell Corne of France (1st), Harri Washington of the UK, Jamie Aarons of the US, Carole-Anne Labine of Canada and Christine Lerchundi of France.
In the 32km Jungle Trail, first place (male) went to Pierre-Alexandre Fagot-Briand of France. The second to fifth places were won by Willy Labbe and Valentin Patural of France, Julius Dochler of Canada and Romain Laures of France.
Laurie Phai of France topped the female category, followed (in order) by Naomi Henshall of Australia, Emma Collinge of the UK, Marie-Laurie Leprovost of France and Mary Gorski of the US.
The winners received their trophies and other prizes during the closing ceremony attended by Minister of Tourism and NOCC President Thong Khon.
A total of 1,255 runners from nearly 50 countries participated in the race. Participants included 350 Cambodians and 905 competitors from countries including France, Japan, the UK, Poland, Canada, China, the US, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines.
For engineer Lim Pisal, one of the Cambodian participants in the race, it was a memorable experience, despite the long distance.
“Starting early in the morning made me feel fresh and relaxed,” he said.
Lim was also impressed by the warm reception offered by spectators along the route, which also passed through some remarkable scenery.
“The villagers came to welcome us, including a young girl who offered us palm juice. It was some of the best I’ve ever tasted,” he said. “I also saw beautiful rice fields and ancient temples along the way.”
The race had several categories: 16km (Temple Run), 16km (Nordic Walking), 32km (Jungle Trail), 42km (Marathon Trail), 64km (Bayon Trail) 128km (Angkor Ultra Trail), Walk and Hike Without Timing and Humanitarian Walk.
The competition, which is one of the few races allowed inside the world-famous Angkor Wat Temple Complex, was primarily aimed at promoting Cambodia as a tourist destination.
Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), said in a prior media briefing that the race is also part of the effort to protect and preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Sites nearby.
Sports Development and Performance Organisation (SDPO) and Phoenix Voyages organised the event with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and NOCC.