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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and