The Phnom Penh International Half-Marathon will not be held as scheduled on June 14, event organisers said.
The Cambodia Events Organiser announced on its website yesterday that the marathon will be postponed, making it the latest ‘victim’ of the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the world.
The Cambodia Events Organiser, together with the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), is the main organisation behind the event.
“Because of COVID-19 infection around the world, we would like to inform that the 10th Phnom Penh International Half Marathon will be postponed until the next announcement,” the notice read.
This year’s edition of the race was supposed to be the largest ever held, with the NOCC expecting more than 10,000 runners from Cambodia and other parts of the world to enter.
Last year’s edition drew more than 6,000 professional and amateur runners from Cambodia and 35 other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Italy, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.
Japan, China and France brought the largest number of participants last year.
“While as a runner and race organiser, I regret the decision to postpone the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon, I agree with it. At this critical juncture, race organisers look to political decision-makers for guidance, as only decisions based on such guidance will be accepted by the running community,” Juergen, Wittstock, CEO of Running in Cambodia, said.
“I hope that a financial burden on the runners will be avoided and the fees already paid can be carried over to the next event, which may require Government assistance. On a positive note, I firmly believe that outdoor sports events should be the first to resume when the crisis comes to an end. Let’s be ready,” he added.
Some ‘big names’ in the international marathon circuit like Koji Kawamoto of Japan and Jill Hamill of the UK have joined the event in the past. Ma Viro, one of Cambodia’s leading runners, is among the regular participants of the race.
The announcement was greeted with understanding from veteran runners in Cambodia and abroad.
The Phnom Penh International Marathon is held every year in the capital to celebrate the birthday of Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and at the same time, commemorate the World Olympic Day and World Environment Day.
Participants compete in three categories: 3km fun run, 10km run and 21km half marathon.
There is still no word if the Khmer Empire Marathon, another major running event in the Kingdom which is scheduled for August 2, will suffer the same fate. But with the Government decision to ban all sports gatherings and events, ‘most likely’ it will be rescheduled as well.