Preparations are well under way for the running of the third Sihanoukville Angkor Beer International Half Marathon on March 9, raising the curtain on a new season of charity runs which this year for the first time will include Cambodia’s first full marathon in Siem Reap on August 17.
Granted membership to the International Club of Most Beautiful Bays in the World in May 2011, Sihanoukville is not only one of the Kingdom’s tourist hotspots but is also gaining popularity among international participants for its picturesque running route.
One of the port city’s major tourist attractions, Ochheuteal Beach, will once again be the starting point for the 21km run and three other supporting events: a 10.5km road race, a 3km fun run and a 3km fun walk for men and women of all ages and any fitness level.
“We have set a target of 1,500 runners in all. Last year we had about 1,200 and going by the response so far I am confident we can reach the number we are aiming for,” National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary-general Vath Chamroeun told a media conference at NOCC headquarters yesterday.
The half-marathon route this year has been slightly modified so that the runners can avoid the normally busy central part of the city.
“It is important for us to keep the safety of the runners in mind. That is the reason why we have diverted the route away from the market area, but the participants will get the pleasure of passing by the most beautiful beach lines,” Chamroeun added.
Cambodian Events Organizer Co will be handling the organisational aspects of the run under the aegis of the NOCC and the Cambodian Amateur Athletics Federation.
Like the two previous runs, Angkor Beer will be the title sponsors while Smart Axiata and Royal Rattanak Hospital are among a host of co-sponsors.
Meanwhile, Cambodian Events Organizer managing director Sem Phalla has singled out the non-availability of direct international flights to Sihanoukville as the main reason for comparatively smaller number of overseas runners.
“We get a huge number of international runners for both the Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh runs because they can directly land in those cities. We need to address this problem in Sihanoukville,” he said.
The last date for registration is March 8. The entry fee for the 21km run is $45 for foreigners and $15 for Cambodians, while other fees range from $5 to $35.
For registration in Phnom Penh, contact Cambodian Events Organizer Co, No.79C, Street 155, Toul Tompoung, Chamkarmorn.
For registration in Sihnoukville Province, contact VLK Tourism Co Ltd, No.6 Ochheuteal Street (phone: 034933656).