Veteran Cambodian runners Ma Viro and Pheara Vann lorded it over the competition to win the top two spots in the main event of the Kep International Half Marathon.
Viro placed first in 21-km half marathon with a time of 1:20:22. He was followed closely by Vann, who took the second spot with a time of 1:22:44 in the race, held in Kep province on Sunday.
Viro’s dominance in Kep was not surprising. The legendary runner has competed and won in many local and international races, including half marathons in Angkor Wat, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.
The third to tenth spots went to Yugo Ota of Japan (1:24:13), Klaing Babunnara of Cambodia (1:28:58), Hiroshi Ake of Japan (1:33:30), Kim Saroen of Cambodia (1:46:10), Jack Cooper of Australia (1:47:18), Arthur Fourdraine of France (1:50:28), Arayama Masahiro of Japan (1:51:19) and Chen Sin of Cambodia (1:52:09).
Chhun Bunthorn of Cambodia took the first place in the 10k category after completing the course in 36 minutes and 18 seconds. The second to tenth spots also went to Cambodian runners.
Second place went to Phat Soput (00:37:10), followed by Huy Seang Nho (00:38:39), Sat Nanvireakyuth (00:40:28), Lia Piseth (00:40:29), Sorn Pisey (00:41:25), Phon Seanghay (00:42:37), Chhat Phat (00:44:28), Bo Samnang (00:46:57) and Meng Hak (00:47:54).
Juergen Wittstock, CEO of Running in Cambodia, said they were happy with the turnout for the race. Running in Cambodia and Delight Cooperation Japan were the main organisers of the event.
More than 120 runners from Cambodia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Germany and other countries joined the race. Among the participants were 70 Cambodian schoolchildren.
The route for the race took the runners around Kep National Park, one of the most popular and well-known attractions in the coastal province.
The Kep International Half Marathon returned after a three-year hiatus. The first two editions of the race were held in 2015 and 2016, before it was temporarily halted between 2017-2019.
“There had been two trial events in the past, but this was the first edition with government participation and prize money,” Wittstock said.
Wittstock also took the time to thank everyone, including Kep Governor Ken Satha, who supported and helped organise the event.
“A special thanks to Kim Kok for bringing his team, and to Hiroya Kon for managing the Japanese Souyukai. Hiroya-san was indisposed and could not run; we hope for his swift recovery,” he said.
“And, of course, we want to thank the Khmer Athletic Federation and local police for making this event possible,” he added.
Part of the proceeds from the race went to marine conservation efforts in the province.
“The next Kep Half Marathon has been scheduled for the same season next year,” Wittstock ended.