Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat Archaeological Park will supply the backdrop this weekend for the Kingdom’s first ever Ultra Trail d’Angkor, which will be run over 128 kilometres and wend its way through the ancient avenues of the sprawling complex.
The 2016 Ultra Trail d’Angkor is set to start on Saturday evening at 5pm and finish on Sunday morning at 9am, departing and finishing in front of the Elephant Terrace.
Ultra running has been a fast spreading discipline among hardcore endurance runners in Asia and Europe, and now Siem Reap has taken a huge leap from the two decades old half-marathon and two-year-old full marathon to the ultimate challenge for a human body – an incredibly tough, mind over body experience.
“This is a great logistical challenge for us and we are ready to cope with it. This will be a unique experience not just for the participants but Cambodia as a whole as a never seen before adventure,” Vath Chamroeun, the secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, told the Post.
To make it open to runners of varying endurance levels, three shorter versions of the 128km run will also be held.
These races include the 32km Nordic Walking, the 32km Angkor Trail and the 64km Angkor Trail.
The Ultra Trail d’Angkor can also be tackled by a team of four runners with each of them completing a distance of 32km in relay finishing as a team and joining up 3km before the finish.
The other attractive alternatives provided are:
1) Master Relay UTA 128 Challenge for the 128km – relay runners in teams of four mixed gender, male or female teams
2) Team 128km – teams of three or five running together, mixed, male or female teams.
3) Duo UTA 128 – mixed teams of two running together.
4) Angkor 224 – teams of three each taking part individually in one of the 32km, 64km or 128km races.
Jean Claude Le Cornec’s ambition when he started “Foulees de la soie” in 1996 was to have a race for runners by runners around the world.
The event has attracted more than 250 participants with official registrations from 26 countries as well as locals, Le Conrnec said at a press conference at the headquarters of the NOCC yesterday.
“It is long distrance running held at night and the competitors will run through natural courses and fields with only one 10-minute break for food,” Le Cornec said, adding that this event is the first of its kind in the Kingdom.
“This is a popular event in Europe because not only is it fun, but it is also important for tourism and brings different cultural experiences to a highly proficient class of runner,” Le Cornec added.
“The event will give opportunities for runners in the world to run through the beautiful scenery of Cambodia with the aim of attracting more tourists to the Kingdom and to promote sport and culture in the country,” said Vath Chamroeun, who is also the deputy minister for tourism.
“Funds raised from the event will go to charitable non-governmental organisations,” he said.
Additional reporting by Yeun Ponlork. Translation by In Sopheng