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Half marathon sees 10,000 at Angkor

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France’s Valentin Cuzzocoli dons his medal after winning the men’s half marathon at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Pha Lina

Half marathon sees 10,000 at Angkor

Over 10,000 runners from 78 countries took part in the 23rd Angkor Wat Half Marathon in Siem Reap this year.

Valentin Cuzzocoli of France won the men’s 21km event and Vann Pheara of Cambodia won the men’s 10km race.

Jack Van Dokkum, who ran the race for the fifth time despite suffering a fractured leg in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh, opted to take part in the 3km race instead of his usual 10km run.

“The event has grown a lot in the past five years since I first started running it,” he said. “It seems like more and more large groups of companies and organisations are taking part . . . it’s great because it expands the reach of sports in Cambodia.”

Canadian insurance company Manulife is supporting the run for the fifth year.

Prior to Sunday’s big event, senior executives at the company expressed a strong desire to continue the partnership, which supports children in need and communities around Cambodia.

Manulife CEO and president Roy Gori said: “We do a lot of charity work in the various communities that we operate in and we’re promoting healthy living.

“This year, with the support of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Manulife fundraised over $70,000 from its employees globally and donated to the Angkor Hospital for Children.

“But we’re also raising money and donations to support very important causes. Our ultimate goal is to help those less fortunate than us.”

Participants really enjoyed the race this year. The start line was placed directly in front of Angkor Wat for all three races.

The 21km runners paced themselves through Victory Gate just after the 15km mark and reported catching a second wind at the sight of Bayon temple around the 18km point.

“The race is fantastic. I can’t think of a better place to do a run than here in Angkor Wat . . . the amazing scenery, the beauty around you, the temples and, most importantly, the people are all here to support you and encourage you along the way. It’s my favourite event in the whole wide world,” Gori said,

For his part, Francesco Lagutaine, chief marketing and experience design officer for Manulife Asia, tried to jump-start donations from his team and raised nearly $10,000 for the Angkor Hospital for Children.

The event drew a number of international tourists who said they wouldn’t have otherwise visited Siem Reap.

These included five friends of Ricardo Cima from Spain. They flew in from Brazil and China after they heard about the event last week. Sima had run races in Amsterdam and Barcelona before making his way to Siem Reap.

“I have to come back with my family,” he said. “This place is incredible.”

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