Around 200 participants, including twenty from overseas, are expected to take part in the first ever Phnom Penh half marathon to be run in the city. The June 27 event, organised by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) in association with Ad Weekly, is being projected as a dress rehearsal for the full length Phnom Penh Marathon next year. “Every major city in the world has a marathon to its name,” expressed Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the NOCC. “We wanted Phnom Penh to join that select list. It is not only an honour, but it is a big boost for our country’s image. “We are starting with this half marathon as part of our ‘New Phnom Penh’ campaign [Phnom Penh Thmei],” the sports official continued. “We switch over to a full marathon next year and would make that an annual affair.” Vath Chamroeun also noted that all of the profits generated from holding the race would be donated to CMAC, a local demining NGO. “The NOCC is expecting seasoned runners from neighbouring countries to take part in the half marathon the route of which has been specially designed to wind its way through garden-dotted neighbourhoods,” stated the secretary. “The heat and humidity may not be a factor because we are staging the race at 6:00am, and the course has lot of garden patches.” Vath Chamroeun added that students are encouraged to participate.
SEA Games masterplan
Meanwhile, the NOCC is busy taking stock of its infrastructural strengths and weaknesses and also assessing its human resource capabilities in preparation for a master plan to bid for the SEA Games in the next five years. “We have started working on this big project and we will vigorously pursue this bid for say, the 2015 games or the one next to it,” affirmed Vath Chamroeun, adding that Cambodia is the only country in the region, apart from newcomers East Timor, not to have staged the SEA Games.