The fifth annual Pursat River Run, set for a flag-off this Sunday, has surpassed all expectations and is heading for a record turn out when this highly regarded race takes a picturesque route along the Pursat river.
Entries for the 5km and 10km runs have been pouring in with the organisers anticipating a tally of 1,000 participants, well over the previous record of 800 set last year.
“Registrations have been better than in previous year with 700 runners so far. We are hopeful of reaching 1,000. This includes a large contingent of fast emerging national level athletes who are being sponsored by well wishers in the expatriate running community,” event co-organiser Steve Harknett told the Post by email.
Cell phone operators Smart Mobile, the main sponsors of the event, have come up with a novel offer of a free SIM card to all runners who finish the race.
“Smart Mobile is pleased to support the Pursat River run again this year after a highly successful 2010,” Smart Mobile CEO Thomas Hundt said in a statement.
“Smart Mobile is engaging in events and social activities all over the country which are in line with the company’s understanding of a smart life. Sport is one of the key aspects of a smart life and we hope to attract more and more people to do sports activities.”
One abiding theme of the fifth edition of the event is women in sport. Among the guests of honour will be Cambodia’s leading female distance runner Ly Nary and recently crowned Miss Fitness Cambodia Ang Sokunthea.
Meanwhile, the President of the Cambodia Body Building and Fitness Federation Rasmey Sokmongkol, who supports the run through the Kingmaker Foundation, is strongly backing the idea of inviting female achievers to the event, contending that the presence of leading Cambodian sportswomen would inspire local women and girls to take up sport.
In a related move, US Embassy official Elizabeth Chambers and her friend Robin Morrison Martz are sponsoring 14 local athletes to take part in the Pursat River Run. The sponsorship includes transportation, registration and accommodation.
As in previous years, wheelchair and amputee races are expected to draw full participation. A new race has also been introduced for local mentally handicap children.