Like with most other running events scheduled for later this year, the 2020 edition of the Khmer Empire Marathon will not be held as scheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In a post on its official Facebook page yesterday, the organisers hinted that the outbreak, which already has infected some 122 people in-country, will make it close to impossible to hold the seventh edition of the race, which has grown to be one of the premier and most-anticipated running events in Cambodia.
“For reason of COVID-19 infection around the world, we would like to inform that, our event, the 7th Khmer Empire Marathon will be postponed the next year,” the post read.
A Government ban on all sporting activities is another likely reason for the postponement. Two weeks, the Government ordered a temporary ban on all sports events and gatherings to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The announcement finally put to an end the uncertainties surrounding the event, which usually attracts thousands of runners from Cambodia and other parts of the world. Before the announcement, there was a glimmer of hope that the event will push through.
Siem Reap province was supposed to host the event on August 2.
The postponement of this year’s Khmer Empire Marathon follows that of the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon. Citing the outbreak, event organisers announced last week that it will be postponed ‘until the next announcement’. The Phnom Penh Marathon was supposed to be held on June 14.
Another ‘casualty’ of the outbreak is the Cambodia Elephant Trail, a major trail running competition that was supposed to be held in the Kirirom area of Kampong Speu province on July 4.
The speculation is that both events would be rescheduled for next year or until such time the outbreak will be contained.
The Khmer Empire Marathon has been held every year since its maiden appearance in 2013.
The Khmer Empire Marathon is notable for being one of the sporting events in the Kingdom where runners are allowed to traverse through Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s leading tourist destination. The others include the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon and Angkor Ultra Trail.
The participants try to outpace each other in four categories: 42km (full marathon), 21km (half marathon), 10km and 3km.
Last year’s edition of the race drew more than 3,500 participants from Cambodia, United Kingdom, United States (US), Thailand, South Korea, Japan and 43 other countries.
Kuniaki Takizaki and Michio Yoneda, both of Japan, won the first and second places in the full marathon (main event). Third place went to Tim Gruber of the US.
The event is a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, National Olympics Committee of Cambodia, Cambodia Events Organiser, World Marathons, Smart and other corporate sponsors.