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Pursat hosts street race

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Cheng Chandara (right) of Phnom Penh receives his men’s 5km trophy and cash prize from event sponsor Steve Harknett.

Hundreds of runners take part in the annual Pursat River Run

PURSAT

THE third annual Pursat River Run took place Sunday, featuring 495 runners registered in four races – a 5-kilometre and a 10-kilometre for all comers, and an amputee race and a wheelchair race. Participants came from five districts of Pursat, as well as from Phnom Penh, Battambang and Kampong Chhnang.

A downpour at the start of the race led to cool conditions, helping runners to record faster times than in previous years. Mok Bunthoeurn, a tuk-tuk driver from Phnom Penh who came second in the 2008 10km race, went one better this time out and took first place in the men’s race in a time of 37 minutes and 32 seconds.

Similarly, in the 5km men’s race Cheng Chandara of Phnom Penh improved on his second place last year to win in 19min, 53sec.

Emily Woodfield of the UK successfully defended her women’s 10km title in a time of 49min, 6sec, and a superb run by Yeut Srey Mao of Battambang in the women’s 5km race saw her win with a time of 24min, 48sec.

There were also some good performances by local Pursat runners, including second place in the men’s 5km by Phan Sopheak, and third in the women’s 5km by Bin Theary.

The event was organised by the Pursat Department of Education, Youth and Sport and mostly funded by British student Steve Harknett and Irish vet Brian Stenson, who both have links with Pursat.

As in previous years, the races raised money to promote sport in schools in Pursat, for example to enable poor, rural athletes to take part in national events like the Angkor Half Marathon in Siem Reap in December. Money was also raised for a local NGO, Disability Development Services Pursat. Stenson stated that the race promoted disabled people’s social participation and highlighted their equal rights.

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