Nearly 4,000 national and international guests took part in the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon on Sunday, June 11. The runners crossed the line in front of the Royal Palace to celebrate Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk’s birthday.

The half marathon women’s event win went to Japanese woman Ota Natsuko, who crossed the line in 1 hour 37m, while Cambodian Van Pheara took out the men’s category with a time of 1 hour, 13m.

The ultra-competitive 10km event fell to Cambodian women Lay Srey Rath, who covered the distance in just 50 minutes. Her countryman Ouk Rohit claimed the top step in the men’s 10km, with a time of 34 minutes.

Sem Phalla, general manager of the event, told The Post that as this was the 11th time to event has been held in the capital.

“We have held this even for 11 times to celebrate the queen mother’s birthday, which is always held on June 18. A marathon is the kind of sport that allows almost anyone to participate, and at times there have been tens of thousands of competitors. This year we have almost 4,000 participants,” he said.

According to Phalla, there are four distances. Of the entrants, about 400 have registered for the full 21km, 1,700 opted for the 10km, while about 1,300 and 200 people have registered for 5km and 2.5km respectively.

The organisers announced that the 21km runners set off at 5.00am, the 10km at 5.45am, the 5km at 6.00am and the 2.5km at 6.10am.

“The committee did not allow anyone who is not pre-registered or without a registration panel to run the course. A pre-departure inspection team assisted in maintaining order, and prepared fruit and drinks for the athletes,” they said.

The committee asked all participants to keep the city clean by throwing water bottles in the garbage bags near each of the water stations, which are 2km apart. The committee also instructed runners to stop and seek assistance if they were concerned about their well-being.