The fourth Angkor Empire Marathon and other added attractions, like the 21km, 10km and 3km fun run, will start from the Angkor Wat complex gateway on Sunday with overseas entries, headed by China, hitting a new high.
Responding to Cambodia’s major push this year to encourage Chinese tourists, over 700 runners from the Asian powerhouse are expected to line up, outnumbering the entries from 50 other countries.
For the first time in four years, the total number of participants for the various events on offer is poised to break the 3,000 mark. “We expect a record turnout this year. We are very happy Chinese runners will once again be present in a big way, like last year, as we continue to promote this event as sports tourism diversity for the off-season when tourists numbers normally drop,” Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) Vath Chamroeun said.
“With the course taking the participants back to the ancient wonders and monuments, every yard of the way, this will be an unforgettable experience for everyone taking part, not just in the marathon but in the supporting events as well,” he said.
The proceeds from the event, organised by the NOCC and other federal agencies, will go to charitable causes.
The marathon runners will be sent on their way around the 42km course, which weaves around ancient temples, monuments and forestry, well before the crack of dawn. The mass start is set for 4:30am in front of the main entrance to the temple complex, where the race will also end.
The half marathon runners will break the line at 6am, while the 10km participants take off at 6:15am followed by the 3km fun run for people of all ages and abilities.
As the marathon is to be run within two weeks of the start of the SEA Games in Malaysia, none of the national long-distance runners will take part in the Siem Reap event, including the winner of the inaugural run, Cambodia’s Neko Hiroshi.