Cambodian multiple half-marathon winner Ma Viro realised a life’s ambition of succeeding over an energy-sapping 42km in the men’s section of the fifth Khmer Empire Marathon run around the sprawling Angkor Wat Temple complex on Sunday morning.
The irrepressible Jill Hamill, whose inspirational story of adversity, adventure and achievement, has grabbed widespread attention had no opposition worth the name among the women as she led a British podium sweep.
Viro and Hamill won the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon two months ago.
With the number of registered runners exceeding 3,000 for the marathon and other supporting events like the 21km, 10km and 3km fun run, overseas entries surpassed 1,600 from 50 countries, while local participation showed a near 15 per cent increase.
National Olympic Committee of Cambodia president and Minister of Tourism Thong Khon performed the start at 4:30am and expressed relief that the general election the previous Sunday hadn’t impacted the number of entries.
“I am very happy the event passed off so well, allaying our concerns about the possible impact of the political situation on the numbers. It is growing and it is a good sign,” the NOCC chief told The Post.
Japan’s Kawamoto Koji and compatriot Ota Tuo were the only two Ma Viro had to look out for as he set his own tempo in the last quarter of the race But the Cambodian, whose previous best over the course was only third, this time conserved his energy well enough to win in 2 hours 56 minutes and 24 seconds, sparing two minutes on Koji And almost five to Yugo.
The fact that Jill hadn’t been able to train much over past few weeks had no bearing on her fitness or endurance as she won comfortably.
“I did not even think of what was going on behind me, I just kept going,” Hamill told The Post.
She clocked 3:06.58, ahead of fellow Brits Amy Mumford (3:25:38) and Sarah Easter (3:33:44).
“I am heading to a night marathon in Thailand on August 25. This was a good preparatory run and I will have two weeks to train,” Hamill said.
Meanwhile, Cambodia had reason to celebrate as emerging long distance talent Vann Pheara won the men’s half marathon.
In his breakout win, Pheara clocked 1:21:37, beating off challengers from China, Tam Tszhong (1:23:55), and Wang Zhen, (1:30:53)
The women’s race was won by Sasaki Natsuko of Japan in 1:39:58, with Gao Rui second (1:45:04) and Gawasawa Ayumi third (1:50:32).
Cambodia’s Heng Mengjou won the women’s 10k in 48:28, while Matsuji Mina came home in 49:38, with Sum Hau Wun third in 49:58.
Ethiopian Andarge Ayal Tamiru topped the men’s 10k, in 36:35, beating Cambodia’s Kang Thoeurn (37:20) and Klaing Bebunnara (38:09).