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Full details and application forms for the Angkor Wat International Half marathon can be obtained from the website at www.angkormarathon.org. Additionally, details about registration and sponsorship for the Angkor Wat Bike Race and Ride can be found at www.villagefocus.org/bike. For those wishing to take part in the 12km fun ride, contact Raquel at bike@villagefocus.org

IT’S time to dig out those old trainers from the back of the wardrobe, dust them off, and start pounding the streets. This year’s Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is on Sunday, December 5, and beginning training now will save so much pain later on.

This is the 15th year for the fundraiser which just keeps on growing and draws serious athletes from all over the world, as well as those just looking for a different day out. Last year, 3490 athletes from 47 countries took part, running, jogging, ambling, and staggering around the ancient Angkorian temple complex.

“We expect about 4000 runners this year,” said Muy Lath from the marathon’s steering committee. “About half of those will be from Cambodia.”

Five races are scheduled; a 21-kilometre half-marathon, a 21-kilometre wheelchair race, the 10-kilometre road race, the 10-kilometre artificial leg race and a three-kilometre family race.

Fees range from $15 to $50 for foreigners and expatriates. Cambodians will pay $2 to participate in the running races, and the artificial leg and wheelchair races are free.

Funds raised go to the Japanese NGO Hearts of Gold, which participates in the management of the marathon, as well as the Cambodian Red Cross and a number of other organisations dedicated to supporting the disabled in Cambodia.

In more sporting news, the fifth Angkor Wat Bike Race and Ride, organised in cooperation with the marathon and staged by the NGO Village Focus Cambodia, will be held on Saturday December 4.

Also growing in strength and size, organiser Raquel Santos said: “We’re hoping for 300 to 350 participants this year.”

There will be a 30-kilometre race and a 100-metre race, as well as a 12-kilometre fun ride.

“We also hope that we can get the kids from the slum schools supported by Village Focus to participate, if we can get the funding for it,” said Santos.

The fees for the bike races are $15 for Cambodian nationals, $25 for international volunteers in Cambodia, and $75 for foreign nationals.

The 12-kilometre fun ride isn’t mentioned on the event’s website but will, without a doubt, take place.

Another “unofficial” activity scheduled for the day is the now renowned cyclo race. This was born out of the dreams of a group of Peace Corp Volunteers in 2007, and has now become a central feature of the day.

Nicola Scales, from the International School of Phnom Penh, participated in last year’s cyclo race, with her disabled dog Billy whose legs were crushed during his puppyhood. This year the duo is back, ready to hit the track in a specially “pimped up” cyclo.

The staff of the Vicious Cycle NGO donated their time to trick up the cyclo, which, according to Scales, is now “bright red and the cushion just fits Billy”.

After the race, the snazzy cyclo will be donated to a cyclo driver in Phnom Penh.

Most of the other cyclos will be rented by the riders.

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