The fifth edition of the The Khmer Empire Marathon and other added attractions, like the 21km, 10km and 3km fun run, will be off and running from the Angkor Wat complex gateway on August 5, with overseas entries that hit a record 1,500 last year expected to swell.
Responding to Cambodia’s major push to encourage sports tourism and add more comfort and glamour to the national long distance calendar, runners from nearly 55 countries will be in the mix along with locals who are showing greater enthusiasm every passing year.
For the first time in five years, the total number of participants for the various events on offer is poised to break the 4,000 mark.
“We expect a record turnout this year as we continue to promote this event as sports tourism diversity for the off-season when tourist numbers normally drop,” secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) Vath Chamroeun said.
“With the course taking the participants back to the ancient wonders and monuments every yard of the way, this will be an unforgettable experience for everyone taking part, not just in the marathon but in the supporting events as well,” he said.
The proceeds from the event, organised by the NOCC and other agencies, will go to fund charitable causes.
The marathon runners will be sent on their way around the 42km course, which weaves around ancient temples, monuments and forestry, well before the crack of dawn. The mass start is set for 4:30am in front of the main entrance to the temple complex, where the race will also end.
The half marathon runners will break the line at 5:30am, while participants in the 10km run take off 15 minutes later followed by the 3km fun run for people of all ages and abilities.
“The Cambodian Events Organizer team with other national and international organisations would like to invite both professional and amateur long-distance enthusiasts to enjoy this unique experience of running in the midst of ancient history that dates back more than a 1,000 years,’’ said Cambodian Events Organizer CEO Sam Phalla.
Phalla’s group are organising the marathon in conjunction with the NOCC, the Khmer Athletics Association and the Ministry of Tourism, along with other government agencies.
Stepping up to the energy-sapping 42km run for the first time in their lives, Neil Burns of Great Britain and Corbella Carlota of Spain far exceeded their own expectations by topping the men’s and women’s sections respectively in the fourth Angkor Empire International Marathon last August.
A record turnout of 3,400 participants in the much coveted charity run also saw the number of overseas runners hit a new high.