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Charity fitness on the coast

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Cambodia's coast has long been a destination for city dwellers looking to get some rest and relaxation under the sun.

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But for those who want to head for the coast to do something more than laze around the beach, this weekend is set to be one full of active fun, thanks to two athletic happenings taking place in Sihanoukville.

Village Focus International has organised the Sihanoukville Bike Race and Ride, to be held this coming Saturday, March 10.

The race will offer two different categories, 20km and 60km, to give the participants a taste of the Cambodian coastline’s serene beauty. Funds raised for the event will support VFI’s child protection projects.

According to event coordinator Hayley Newnham, Village Focus International has worked in the country since 2003 to focus on local leadership development to bring about positive social change.

“We also work with The Cambodian Centre for the Protection of Children's Rights to support survivors of child sex trafficking and other poor children on education projects such as school renovation,” she said.

Newnham said that the Sihanoukville Bike Race and Ride will lead cyclists on a sunrise journey that meanders through iconic areas within the province.

Riding past local villages and into downtown, the course also explores coastal roads and challenging hills, making for a different view of Sihanoukville than most visitors are used to.

For those who prefer running to biking, Sihanoukville will also host its first International Half Marathon on Sunday morning, organised by the same committee that has put on the Angkor Wat half-marathon over the last 16 years.

The last Angkor Wat Half Marathon was held in December and attracted over 5000 local and international competitors. With 1200 registrations so far, organisers are expecting a strong turnout for Sunday’s run.

To accommodate runners unable to go the full distance, a 10.5 km race and three km family race will be held at the same time.

Marathon organising committee member Muy Lath says proceeds raised from the half-marathon will be donated to the Cambodian Red Cross as part of relief and recovery efforts from last September’s devastating floods.

Muy Lath told the Post that the organising committee was also planning to make a donation to a suitable charity that supported street children.

Pre-registration for the Bike Race is required by Friday March 9. The registration fee is $35 for foreigners over 16 years old, and $18 for foreigners who are in Cambodia as volunteers or are under 16.

Cambodians over 16 are charged a $7 registration fee, while those under 16 pay $3.  All Bike Race registration fees include a post-event beach BBQ to commend winners, runners up, and top fundraisers.

Onsite registration for the Bike Race is available at Off Road Cyclery, #18, Street 360, Phnom Penh; Adidas, #164 Norodom Blvd., Phnom Penh;  Adidas, #598-600, Treet Tep Vong, Siem Reap; ANA Travel, Serendipity Beach Road, Sihanoukville.

Meanwhile, the deadline for registering for the International Half Marathon is this Saturday.

On-site registration is available at the Cambodia Events offices in Phnom Penh, #79CE0, St 155, and at ANA Travel on Serendipity Road in Sihanoukville. The half-marathon and 10.5km run require a $5 deposit from participants. The marathon organising committee is also hosting a seaside gala dinner for entrants on Saturday evening, with proceeds from the event to go to charity.

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