The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and other involved parties have scheduled the Sihanoukville International Half Marathon for April 7, aiming to showcase the country’s beaches and boost tourism.

NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun announced that the ninth iteration of the race will start and finish at Ochheuteal Beach, during a March 18 press conference held at NOCC headquarters in Phnom Penh.

He said the committee has opened the application process and invited the public to join the event.

Chamroeun urged people, especially residents of Preah Sihanouk province, to participate, emphasising the opportunity to spotlight the country’s exceptional beachfronts alongside regional sporting events. 

“The tracks along Sihanoukville’s seashore are stunning, particularly following government-led repairs and infrastructure development. Without people’s participation, however, an event cannot be successful,” he added.

He also encouraged the community to contribute to the development of the province, with a particular focus on environmental protection. 

Chamroeun highlighted the necessity of preserving the coastline, sea and marine biodiversity and addressing environmental issues, noting their appeal to tourists. 

“Our half marathon and other events aim to promote the natural beauty and greenery of Cambodia to all,” he said. 

“The run can also benefit local businesses, tour operators and vendors. Besides charity, our other focus is the environment, so we need to come together,” he added.

Sem Phalla, organiser of the event and also general manager of the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon, reported that over 1,160 individuals had already registered for the races.

He said that over 250 runners will participate in the 21km race, 455 in the 10km, nearly 300 in the 5km and over 170 in the 3km fun run. He added that the application period will extend until April 5-6.

Chamroeun said that he expected the number of runners to increase drastically in the future. 

“This year, we expect the number of participants to reach 2,000, and next year we anticipate a significant increase, potentially in the tens of thousands. This is because, unlike our neighbouring countries, we have beautiful coastal infrastructure and trails. Their marathon events attract tens of thousands of participants, so why can’t we do the same?” he remarked.

“We have the natural advantage of beautiful beaches with clean air and environments. I urge everyone to come together, as it’s only with the participation of all that we can successfully accomplish our goals,” he added.