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Phnom Penh International Half Marathon returns after a two-year absence

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PHNOM PENH: After an absence of two years due to the covid19 pandemic, the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon returned in fine form with over three thousand competitors. Organizers, were happy with the registrations and are now looking forward to the 7th Khmer Empire Full Marathon starting and finishing in front of Angkor Wat Temple Siem Reap.

Due to a two-year absence due to covid19, the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon returned with a vengeance. Over three thousand competitors competed and hundreds of volunteers help to put the marathon back on track. The organizers were overwhelmed with the response they received.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the event were presided over by Dr Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), Vath Chamroeun, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Tourism and Secretary of the NOCC, Kol Bunly, Secretary of State, Ministry of the Royal Palace and with the participation of Nuon Pharath, Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh.

Eac News went to the Half Marathon expo to chat with organizers and competitors, and also had the privilege to interview the Managing Director Sam Phalla.

Q. Can you tell us about your organization?

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘our organization we are the members of the international network. We are a member of the AIMS which means Association, International Marathon road races. So we are a member of more than 100 100 countries, more than 100 countries that are a member of the aims of the International Marathon World Marathon. So in Phnom Penh we also the international race and in Siem Reap we have two race international and also in Sihanoukville next year.’

‘We stimulated by the support of the government site, and also the authority in every place that we organize this event, for example, in Phnom Penh, we are very happy and also very grateful to the support from the authority of Phnom Penh from the Phnom Penh government site, also, Siem Reap and also Sihanoukville so their support is like security, traffic control and ambulance platform medical care also from the provincial or capital government side also supported by this one.’

Q. ‘What’s the feeling like today from the runners?’

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘Today is a very happy day for everybody who is running, the runners they come to collect the sponsor the race kit today and tomorrow for the on a 19th they we have a big marathon event in front of the Royal Palace, the for the celebration of the 10th anniversary, also our Phnom Penh international half marathon’.

Q. ‘This is your 10th year running the half marathon in Phnom Penh?’

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘Yeah the 10th anniversary of the Phnom Penh international half marathon in Phnom Penh, the first one we organized in 19 in 2013, and until today its 10 years already, but we have some problems with the COVID pandemic period two years. We didn't do anything and we just start again for this year 2022. Marathons Yeah’.

Q. What are the distances of the marathon and have you received a lot of registrations this year.

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘Half marathon we have a 21k or 10k and 3k and total runner we got almost 4000 at the moment. 21k we have around 400 runners 21k and 10k, we have more than 1000, 1500 are that and also 3k Maybe we got around 2000 runners so it's only around a little bit more than 4000. So far this year's, so if we compare with the last two years before the pandemic in 2019, we got more than 6000 runners and this year we got more than 4000 I mean two-thirds of the last year so very successful I think it's very, very warm in my heart from the organizer of the event because we just wrap things up or two-thirds of the last event. Yeah, so it's I think it's good. It's good enough’

Q. Do your runners come from all over the world?

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘Yeah, they come from actually 52 countries including Cambodia. 52 countries so we have the first top three countries we have Japan, China and we have another one. I maybe Australia something I forgot a bit sorry about that. Yeah, we will check again’,

Q. ‘The Marathon is for anyone to join?

Sam Phalla Managing Director

‘Yep Family is not limited to open for the family from kids to the old people for the whole family.’

Q. ‘How does everyone feel the marathon takes place in front of the Royal Place’

Sam Phalla Managing Director

A. ‘Yeah you see we are very happy because the giant Place is to give us to organize this one in front of exactly in front of the gate at the Royal Palace. And this even in Phnom Penh especially for we celebrate on the way we organized for the 10 years already with the main purpose for the Celebrate the King’s mother's birthday, this the main purpose of our event, and the second one for the health of the Phnom Penh people and people around Cambodia’.

Andrew from the UK has been living in Cambodia for about 14 years, and was glad to see the Marathon back, he had run the marathon a couple of times and this year he’s the whole family is going to join.

Andrew competitor.

‘I'm going to do the 10k race, the marathon, the half marathon and I'm too old to kind of get my old legs all the way around there. But the 10k I think I can just about do and the rest of sorry and the rest of my family. My two kids and my wife are going to do the 3k’.

‘I've done the 10k here a couple of times before Yes’.

Andrew was also asked if he had competed in any other marathons in Cambodia and what preparation he had done for training.

Andrew competitor.

‘In Cambodia, I've done I always try to do the Angkor Wat, sometimes the half marathon sometimes the 10k’

Andrew competitor.

In preparation for training, I think I've done probably even more mental training than I have physical training. But I hope that kind of positive visualization will help get me over the line I might quite not make the Olympic qualifying time. But as long as I get around the one piece I'll be happy.

Two teenage boys Kruy Mong Sreng and Gauy chihok who are friends from school, came to the expo to sign up for the 21 km run. They were asked if they had run a marathon before and what training they had prepared for the marathon.

 Gauy Chhok competitor.

‘Well, we actually train together we run around. Whenever we find like tracks like these, we just run them around for like, an hour or two hours. And we would do five to 10 K's every single day basically’.

‘I just want to challenge myself. Because, like, my whole life has been about studying so I want to do something that's physical. So this is a good place to start’.

In the men's 21km race, the first place went to Cambodia's Van Pheara, the second to Cambodia's Maviro and the third to Japan's Ota Yugo. The woman’s 21Km first place went to Japan's Ota Natsuko, followed by, Hong Kong's Lee Yin Ling and Japan's Fukunari Mizuki came in third.

In the men's 10km race, the first place went to Ayal Andarge from Ethiopia, the second to Cambodian Kaing Thoeun and the third to Cambodian Ouk Rohit, while the first place in the women's went to Cambodian Thun Somavathy. Second place went to Cambodian athlete Uon Chanphatra and third place to Cambodian athlete Eng Muy Jing.

PHOTO: EAC NEWS


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