You don’t have to be an anthropologist, historian or world traveller to appreciate Angkor Wat in Cambodia because this breathtaking destination, named the 7th Wonder of the World, is reason enough to travel here. We are giving you an excuse to do just that: Justify your trip by running a half marathon to add to your 2017 accomplishments!
An epicentre of 12th Century architecture, Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II as a tribute to the Hindu god Vishnu. The ruins are so awe-inspiring, if you don’t bring a camera and allow extra time to see the sacred complex that took 30 years to build, you’ll probably suffer regrets.
This magnificent venue will serve as a backdrop for the 22nd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon on 3rd December so your trip can serve many objectives. It’s to be held “in the neighbourhood,” so distance won’t be a problem for anyone living in Southeast Asia. And can you think of a more glorious way to cap your 2017 running calendar?
A marathon beloved by international runners
When the first Angkor Wat race was staged back in 1996, Cambodian organisers credited Japanese running enthusiasts for helping get this event on Asia’s relatively young running calendar. But it was the mission behind the marathon that immediately appealed to the sensibilities and collective humanity of runners: the race was organised to raise funds for victims of anti-personnel landmines throughout the nation.
Despite the conflict that ravaged Cambodia, Angkor Wat managed to avoid being destroyed, so like the victims of landmines who have recovered their lives, this sacred World Heritage Site has survived and remains the pride of the nation. Symbolically, this half-marathon offers hope, courage and a nation’s gratitude for sacrifices made by people of all ages.
5 categories from which to choose
Imagine this: You queue at the start line and once released, you enter a sanctified space that serves as your racecourse. Sprint along a route filled with history in the company of international competitors. Not every participant will run by your side; some will need wheelchairs to reach their goals. This event offers multiple categories, so no matter which of these five meet your criteria, you’ll find your place:
- the 21km wheelchair half marathon
- the regular half-marathon
- the 10km road race
- the 10km race open only to those with artificial arms and/or legs
- The 3km family event that offers a delightful mix of sport and fun.
The importance of registering now
While there’s still time to start a conditioning programme that will ready your mind and body for this December event, you’re going to need time to make your arrangements that may require transport, lodgings and other bookings. Since there is no race pack collection on race day, arriving at Angkor Wat early is mandatory.
Reserve your slot via Spacebib and consider adding extra items to your itinerary once you’re registered. You can opt to inspect the marathon course at either 9 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. on 2nd December to get then lay of the land before the big day. That evening, attend a dinner gala at The Ancient Bayon Temple and mingle with officials, competitors, sponsors and supporters.
Entitlements include a cool running singlet, race bib and finisher medals will be awarded for those completing the 10km and 21km categories. Use compulsory race pack collection dates to push up your arrival date. You will have three days to grab your entitlements (30th November, 1st and 2nd December) at the Street 60, Angkor Cultural & Tourism Complex Junction site.
Why your support is so important
The number of people who benefit from the Angkor Wat International half marathon is staggering. Landmine injuries have endless repercussions which is why the organisations working on behalf of victims casts such a large shadow across this area of Asia.
From companies supplying prosthetic limbs to social service organisations offering reintegration programs, even children’s hospitals caring for the youngest victims are financially helped by this one event. But while leading organisations, companies, governments, publications and nonprofits throughout the Pacific Rim support this annual half-marathon, if you end your year in this magical place, you’ll also be a winner just by competing.
You’ll meet runners who are happily getting their lives back on track despite catastrophic landmine injuries and make a once-in-a-lifetime “pilgrimage” to this remarkable historic site. The warmth and hospitality of your hosts will charm you and there’s a good chance you’ll have a new perspective on life upon your return, which is why you may wish to look upon this race as more than just a chance to medal.
Have you ever run a marathon at a historic site? What additional plans did you make to turn your participation into a runcation?