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Thousands race at Angkor

3,490 runners raced through the Angkor temples complex Sunday morning for the 2009 Angkor Wat Half Marathon, won by Kien Mau Lim and Vivian Tang

Siem Reap
LOCAL and international runners took to the streets around the Angkor temples near Siem Reap over the weekend to take part in the 2009 Angkor Wat Half Marathon events. The participants raced over either 3km, 5km, 10km or Sunday morning’s 21km course, which ended outside the Angkor Wat complex in front of a large crowd of spectators. Numbers were up by 40 percent from last year’s outing, with a total of 3,490 pacing past the stone monuments, announced the organisers.

Malaysian Kien Mau Lim, 28, took first place in the men’s half marathon, in a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 26 seconds. Second place belonged to local amateur Mok Bunthoeun, who came in five minutes behind Kien and just a minute ahead of England’s Andrew Fargus.

Tuk-tuk driver grabs silver
Mok Bunthoeun from Phnom Penh, was impressed by his performance. “I am very happy,” he said after the race Sunday. “I have the mental strength to continue to run. I am tuk-tuk driver. I come to represent our nation.”

The 36-year-old Cambodian admitted that he couldn’t keep up with the Malaysian ahead of him, noting the lack of good training conditions in the Kingdom. “I trained by myself,” he stated. “He [Kien] is far younger than me, and he comes from Malaysia. Their nutrition is better.”

Tang victorious on debut
The women’s event was won by 39-year-old Singaporean Vivian Tang with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, with 34-year-old Victoria Hill from England taking silver with 1 hour 29 mins, and 21-year-old Japanese runner Mio Sadakata in third with 1 hour 33 mintues.

Tang was delighted to win on her first appearance at the Angkor Wat Half Marathon, saying that she planned to compete again next year.

“I like competition a lot,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the views throughout the race, especially when she passed through each of the Temple gates, adorned with large stone faces.



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