Photo by: Photo Supplied
Cambodian long distance runner Kieng Samorn leads the pack during the men’s 10km race of the Pursat River Run last year.
The fifth annual Pursat River Run along a picturesque route is set for a flag off on November 6 in and around the provincial capital which is surrounded by Cardamom mountain ranges and is more famously known for its marble carvings.
The event features 5 and 10-kilometre road races for men and women and two wheel-chair races for the disabled. Since its inaugural run in 2007, the event has grown steadily in its stature and appeal and is expected to attract up to a 1,000 runners from all walks of life.
The three-dimensional objective of an event the 25,000 odd people of Pursat take pride in, is to encourage participation in athletics, promote equality for the disability and stimulate the local economy.
The wider appeal for participants is the warmth of the Pursat residents and the chance to run a winding course along one of the Kingdom’s major rivers.
In its five-year history, the Pursat River Run is second only in its status and field strength to Siem Reap’s annual Angkor Wat Half Marathon. Last year the event attracted 800 registered runners.
Participants came from all over Pursat province including many enthusiastic young runners from remote, rural schools. The large field includes runners from other provinces like Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap apart from members of the national athletics team, expatriates and foreign tourists.
Some of the touring foreigners are known to time their visits to have a go in this event. Trophies and prize money totalling more than US$2,000 are up for grabs from first to 15th places.
The event is organised by the Pursat Department of Education, Youth and Sports, while a local NGO, Disability Development Services Programme, facilitates the disabled races. Cell phone service providers Smart Mobile are the main sponsors with many private donors chipping in.
Entry costs $15 for expatriates and $1 for Cambodians.
While appealing for additional donations, event co-organiser Steve Harknett revealed that all registered runners will receive a T-shirt.