Participation numbers have risen sharply this year for the second running of the Ultra Trail d’Angkor on Friday and Saturday, which will be run over 128 gruelling kilometres through the breathtaking sights of Angkor Wat’s sprawling complex.
“This will be a unique experience not just for the participants but Cambodia as a whole. The number of Cambodians taking part this year has gone up from 10 to 30 and there has also been a marked increase in the number of runners for the various events,” National Olympic Committee secretary-general Vath Chamroeun told a news conference at the NOCC headquarters on Monday.
“In all, 500 runners from 37 countries will take up this ultimate challenge, compared to 300 from 26 countries last year. Women represent approximately 50 per cent of those entries.”
To cater for runners of varying endurance levels, three shorter versions are also on offer. These include the 32km Nordic walk, 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 before joining up 3km before the end to finish as a team.
Other alternatives include:
• The master relay UTA 128 Challenge for the 128km, relay runners in teams of four, with mixed gender, male or female teams
• The team 128km teams of three or five running together; mixed, male or female teams.
• The duo UTA 128km mixed teams of two running together.
• The Angkor 224 teams of three runners each take part individually in the 32km, 64km and 128km races.
In the inaugural run, Hiam Lim Soh of Malaysia took the top honours in 18 hours 34 minutes and 56 seconds.In the Women’s 128km event, Thailand’s Boonthant Suksodkeaw outstayed the rest with a time of 21 hours 27.57 minutes.
From a Cambodian perspective, the best performance was recorded by Japanese business magnate and sports benefactor Mitsuji Konoshita, who is also a Cambodian citizen.
The chairman of hire purchase and motor finance company GLF proudly competed as a Cambodian and finished fourth (20 hours 39.55 minutes) in the elite men’s group, but he was the winner of the event in his senior category, giving him the honour of being the first runner under the Cambodian flag to win a title.
The online registration for the events has already closed but on-site registration is open at designated centres in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.