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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Angkor Wat International Half Marathon

This was supposed to be my 6th and final race of the year but instead it was just the 3rd race. But what a great race it turned out to be!

Held in the beautiful Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, this is a half marathon organised as a fund raising project for the underprivileged and poor people in Cambodia. The race is popular with Caucasians from all over the world and the Japanese.  
Flags of all the countries of the participants
It was a small race by Singapore standard though - just over 8000 participants but that means it was never going to be a congested course for the runners unlike a certain race held in Singapore on the same day. On top of that, even though there were 4 categories (the half, the 10km and the 3km and a wheelchair event), the routes were designed such that there were minimum overlap even with 10 minutes difference between each event's start time.
Runners waiting for the flag off
The support for the race by the locals were fantastic. Even though we were running in the temple complex, the villagers staying there all turned up to support. All the darling little kids were there, either to give out the water or pick up the bottles or just to cheer and high 5 the runners. I had such a wonderful time just looking at the smile on the kids' faces.
Children high fiving the runners
Villagers out in full force to support the runners
The organisation was superb. They even paid so much attention to the little things like putting up signs to warn runners of the various type of terrains they might be expecting ahead; although I do think they tend to be a bit kiasu and exaggerate the degree of difficulty,especially the Danger Course sign which turned out only to be a speed hump on the road.
Warning Signs of what to expect up ahead
But of course, the main highlight are the sights and that means the various ruins and temples. There weren't that many to see though. Just enough to make me curious to pay a return visit in the afternoon for a real tour of the place.

Singapore of course has not just me running in it. Here are a snapshot of some friends from Singapore at the race. And these are the people I know or friends of friends. Spotted a few others in Singapore's running event's well. Me think we all did the right choice - to do this instead of the Singapore Marathon.

All in a great race for a good cause. Nevermind that my timing wasn't great. After all, where got time to run with so many things to see?

More photos of the race here and blog posts on the visit to Cambodia coming up soon in the other blog.

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