Two Britons have this year taken the seasonal Christmas gift run to a whole new level by raising $100,000 for charity after running more than 300km across Cambodia.
Matt Pocock and Mark Ferguson, who both live in Hong Kong, began their unprecedented challenge to run from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the province the Kingdom’s world-famous ancient temple complex is situated.
They began the run on November 27 and ran an average of 50km a day through rural communities across two provinces, Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom, for six days. They then wrapped up their mission on the seventh day by joining over 10,000 runners at the 21km Angkor Wat International Half Marathon on December 3.
The run had the goal of raising £60,000 (around $80,000) to support Temple Garden Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that helps disadvantaged, rural communities in Cambodia.
The two runners were accompanied by a local tour guide on a bicycle and a medical van sponsored by financial services group Manulife.
“There are two reasons we ran. Firstly, it was to raise as much money as possible for Temple Garden Foundation. Secondly, it was to raise the awareness of poverty in rural Cambodia,” Pocock explained.
“We have both lived in Asia for a long time – it is something that we feel passionate about. People should be more aware of what is happening when you get out of the major cities.”
Ferguson added: “Just the fact we are helping the villages that the Temple Garden Foundation supports, and they are doing such amazing job, and that we are going to help young children and families in the villages, that gave us the motivation to get to Siem Reap.”
Over $100,000 has so far been raised since donations started being accepted two months before the run.
“Cambodia is a place we had both visited in the past and really enjoyed. Mark knew the people behind Temple Garden Foundation and we both really like the work they are doing,” Pocock said.
All the funds will go towards Temple Garden Foundation’s projects for next year working with villagers in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng district in the areas of health, children’s education, water and sanitation and agriculture.