Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s Viro takes Sihanoukville half marathon




Cambodia’s Viro takes Sihanoukville half marathon

Vath Chamroeun presents a medal to Ma Viro, the winner of the men’s 21 kilometre run in Sihanoukville, yesterday. SARETH MEAS
Vath Chamroeun presents a medal to Ma Viro, the winner of the men’s 21 kilometre run in Sihanoukville, yesterday. Sareth Meas

Cambodia’s Viro takes Sihanoukville half marathon

One of Cambodia’s well known long distance runners Ma Viro won the 6th Sihanoukville-Angkor Premium Beer International Half Marathon with a measure of comfort, as Lois Woodward of Great Britain took the honours among the women in the port city’s annual charity run yesterday.

A little over 2,000 participants including 200 overseas runners from 32 countries, set out early in the morning for the 21 kilometre run, and added attractions like the 10km and 3km fun runs, on a route offering a lot more sea breeze over longer stretches of shoreline following the removal of several barriers along the beach front.

The lowering of barriers along the Independence Beach section of the road that was blocking the seaview enabled the runners to soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy the cooling breeze. Almost all the participants were appreciative of the new experience.

“Removing the blockade of the sea-view on many beach fronts during the Sea Festival had created a better environment for the runners,” secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee Vath Chamroeun told The Post yesterday.

“I strongly feel that once word spreads about this new experience we can expect more overseas and local runners after this event,” Chamroeun added, expressing hope that more foreign runners take part in next year’s edition.

In a race he dominated from almost start to finish, Viro, who has several half marathon wins across the country to his credit, set his own pace and won in 1hour 21minutes 39seconds, well ahead of Brendon Thomas of the United States (1:25.29) and James Happell of Australia (1:27.55).

In sharp contrast to this well spaced out finish, the women’s event saw the closest call in recent times, with Woodward touching off Hilary Smyder of the United States by a mere second. The 36-year-old Briton won in 1:44.53 ahead of the much younger American, who clocked 1:44.54. Sara Bowden of the United States finished well off the pace at 1:52.56.

Cambodian runners swept both the men’s and women’s 10km runs. While 20-year-old Van Pheara won the men’s race in 38.40 just ahead of Chea Samphors, experienced Heng Meng Chu took the women’s event in 49.03, finishing well clear of Samnang Bo and Anelise Thomas of the United States.

While Sihanoukville as a tourist hotspot continues to attract visitors in great numbers, the patronage for the half marathon has been pegged at the same levels for the past couple of years, unlike the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap versions, which have regularly shown increased participation from overseas runners.

One of the reasons as to why foreigners had been somewhat put off is the non-availability of direct international flights to the town, which inevitably means additional costs and extra travel. The current domestic scheduling of flights has not been convenient either.

The Sihanoukville run marks the first of the long-distance charity events on the national calendar that include the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon in June, the Angkor Empire Full Marathon in August and the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in early December.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there