The 22nd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon concluded yesterday morning around the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, with an estimated 10,000 runners participating in this year’s race, comfortably beating last year’s record of over 9,000.
For the second consecutive year, the overall winner in the men’s 21-kilometre half-marathon was Chinese runner Qi Bian who with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes and 42 seconds held off the challenge of Cambodian running duo Kuniaki Takizaki and Ma Viro who finished second and third respectively.
The Chinese athlete also narrowly beat his 2016 race record of 1:13:16.
Singapore-based Irishwoman Máire Nic Amhlaoibh bagged first-prize in the women’s half-marathon crossing the line with a time 1:28:45. She was followed closely in second by Frenchwoman Veronique Messina, with Briton Lyndsay Clarke rounding off the podium.
Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and chairman of the kingdom’s National Olympic Committee, said the weekend was one of the biggest annual tourist events in town and was vital in growing Cambodia’s sports-related tourism sector.
“International tourist arrivals in Cambodia have increased every year, especially in Siem Reap, a world-class tourist destination, he said.
“Cambodia is developing Siem Reap and Angkor to become one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world. More than 5,000 foreigners from 76 countries took part this year. We hope it will only be bigger next year,” he added.
This year’s event course was rerouted to the northern side of the Bayon Temple due to a clash with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s two-day prayer ceremony.