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Runners set to race at sixth edition of Pursat River Run

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Local kids set off at the start of last year’s 5km race of the Pursat River Run in Pursat town. Photograph supplied.

This Saturday, Cambodia’s second largest road race welcomes its sixth edition as athletics enthusiasts run along the banks of the Pursat river in Pursat town.

Since its first appearance in 2007, the number of participants in the annual Pursat River Run has grown steadily, as well as the media attention.

Last year there were 1,100 registered runners, although due to heavy rains that fell moments before the start, the field being reduced to 800.

As in the past few years, the main events will be a 10km and a 5km race, a race for amputees and a race for wheelchair-bound athletes. However, for the first time in the history of the event, there will be a volleyball match between teams of players with a disability from Phnom Penh and Pursat.

The 10km run gets under way at 6:30am at Spean Thmor (Stone Bridge) in Pursat town centre.

Smart Mobile, the main sponsor for a few incarnations already, is again involved to help make this year’s run the most successful ever.

The local mobile-phone operator is donating the prize money and a T-shirt for every competitor, while the Australian Red Cross is also contributing with running costs.

The event was first brought to life by an NGO called Disability Development Services Project (DDSP). With very few road races in Cambodia, other then the annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in Siem Reap, the organisation wanted to create a possibility for kids and people with a disability, as well as local runners, to integrate more sport into their lives.

“Now in its sixth year, the event has in the past attracted many of Cambodia’s top runners, including Olympic star Kieng Samorn and national marathon record holder Hem Bunting.

However, the race welcomes runners of all abilities from around the Kingdom,” Pursat River Run founder Steve Harknett told the Post.

For the first time in its history, organisational duties have been left solely in the hands of locals, with Harknett unable to attend due to work commitments abroad.

For more information and to register, please email DDSP at ddsp@camintel.com, or phone Pheng Samnang on 070 796 239. Admission fee for Cambodians is $1 and expats will be charged $10 for a place.

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