The number of foreign entries from as many as 42 countries for Cambodia’s first full marathon in Siem Reap on August 17 has crossed 1,000, with runners from Hong Kong and mainland China topping the list.
With the expats living in the country and local participants joining in, the total to date has touched 2,500 for the inaugural Angkor Empire Marathon, which starts and ends in front of the famed Angkor Wat temple complex.
There is lively anticipation that the field could be as strong as 4,000 by the time the runners are sent on their way for a unique 42km journey around a historically significant World Heritage site full of architectural beauty and thick forestry
“The whole country is agog with excitement. For years, hundreds of regular participants in our half marathons have been craving for a full marathon, and we are proud to join the league of 100 countries and territories offering this most challenging sporting event,” National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary general Vath Chamroeun told the Post.
Unlike half marathons, which normally start at the break of first light, the Angkor Empire Marathon will come under the starter’s orders at 4:30am to give the runners the comfort of much cooler race conditions.
The Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS), a member-based organisation of over 350 of the world’s leading road races, has marked out the running course for this marathon.
According to AIMS President Paco Borao, the running movement is booming around the world with an estimated 10 million people taking up the challenge to run marathons and other long distance races.
At the recently held 20th World Congress of AIMS, Paco Borao pointed out that running – the world’s original and most affordable sport – was a perfect solution to addressing many health issues such as obesity, echoing medical professionals oft repeated advise that exercise is the perfect remedy.