Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Viro and Hamill are a cut above in S’ville half marathon




Viro and Hamill are a cut above in S’ville half marathon

Britain's Jill Hamill (centre) won the 2018 women’s Sihanoukville half marathon today. Japan’s Sa Saki Natsuko (left) was second and Sara Bawden of the United States was third.
Britain's Jill Hamill (centre) won the 2018 women’s Sihanoukville half marathon today. Japan’s Sa Saki Natsuko (left) was second and Sara Bawden of the United States was third.

Viro and Hamill are a cut above in S’ville half marathon

Seasoned long distance runners Ma Viro of Cambodia and Jill Hamill of Great Britain proved a cut above the rest in the men’s and women’s 21 km charity run as the 7th Sihanoukville Angkor Beer Half Marathon.

The half marathon and its added attractions, as was widely anticipated, recorded just over 2,000 entries for the first time, including 150 overseas runners from 28 countries.

With the route for this year’s event modified to include nearly seven kilometres of a newly built road through the city, the runners went through some residential pockets while enjoying the early morning breeze and the beauty of the coastline the rest of the way.

One of the most visited beaches in the city, Ochheuteal once again served as the start and finish point near the recently installed Beautiful Bay statue as the 140 men and women involved in the half marathon faced a 5:30am start.

The men’s and women’s 10k events and a 3k fun run for all ages and athletic abilities followed at regular intervals as the city marked the first of five runs for charitable causes in the national calendar.

Multiple half marathon winner Viro has found himself either in the shadow of the country’s most successful long distance runner Hem Bunting or Japanese turned Cambodian Neko Hiroshi.

But in the absence of any real threat emerging from any of the overseas runners in the line-up, Viro enjoyed a trouble-free run to complete the course in one hour, 20 minutes and 25 seconds.

Coming in nearly four minutes later was Germany’s Frank Adelmann (1:24.32), with Russia’s Andrei Cenenov Semenov third in 1:26.10.

Triumph over adversity

There is no better example of courage and perseverance triumphing over adversity than Jill Hamill’s inspirational story of life and long distance running.

The 36-year-old from Great Britain was matchless when it came to stamina and determination. She took the women’s event with absolute ease at 1:32.04, slightly over seven minutes ahead of Japan’s Sa Saki Natsuko (1:39.08) and Sara Bawden of the United States (1:43.56).

Hamill has made her mark in several charity events like these over the past few years. But what sets her apart from the rest is her incredible journey from almost losing her life, not once but twice, to being a strong-willed long distance runner determined to succeed whenever or wherever she breaks into her stride.

Two devastating road accidents, the first in 2003 back home in Northern Ireland, and the second, a hit and run involving a car while she was crossing the road just months after emigrating to Cambodia in 2010 left Hamill fighting for her life, and then wondering whether she would even walk again.

But none of these life threatening incidents could rob her of her passion for running.

After finishing seventh in the Belfast marathon before coming to Cambodia, she was declared the winner of the Phnom Penh half marathon in 2011 under unusual circumstances when a group of runners headed by Cambodia’s Ly Nary took the wrong route. She went on to claim the same event in 2016. Since then she has proved her stamina and determination by winning more, including the Bokor Mountain half marathon.

Enthusiastic locals

The Cambodian pair of Thul Chandavuth and Cher Somphors took first and second place respectively in the men’s 10km event, with Ethiopian Andarge Ayal Tamiru finishing third.

British 13-year-old Thomas Ammeliese took the women’s 10k, with 16-year-old South Korean Hu Seo-young back in second place. Eng Muanyin of Cambodia managed a podium finish.

“Enthusiasm among locals, especially the youth has grown in recent years. This was clearly reflected this year,” said CEO of Cambodia Events Organizer Sam Phalla.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,