The Angkor Ultra Trail, Cambodia’s most well-known and prestigious trail running competition, is back to the delight of runners and enthusiasts from Cambodia and many other countries from Europe to North America.
The 6th Angkor Ultra Trail is scheduled to be held in Siem Reap on February 4.
The local press reported that the previous edition of the race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept through Cambodia and other parts of the world in 2021.
A media conference was held yesterday at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) building in Phnom Penh to announce the return of the race. NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun was among the dignitaries present at the media briefing.
There are nine categories for the event: Angkor Ultra Trail (UTA 100), Bayon Trail (64km), Marathon Trail (42km), Jungle Trail (32km), Temple Run (16km), Nordic Walking (16km without timing), Walk and Hike Without Timing, Elephant Trail (8km) and Humanitarian Walk.
The Angkor Ultra Trail is one of the very few sports events in Cambodia where participants are allowed to run along and within the Angkor Wat temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Cambodia’s number one tourist destination. The other two are the Khmer Empire Marathon and Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, which are also held every year.
The route also allows participants to run through villages, palm groves, rice fields, temples, mountains, golf courses and other scenic spots in Siem Reap.
Frenchman Jean Le Cornec and his team at Sports Development and Performance Organisation (SDPO) organised the inaugural Angkor Ultra Trail in 2016.
The event is a collaboration between SPDO, Phoenix Voyage, Ministry of Tourism and NOCC.
Some 1,300 runners from 45 countries competed in the race in January 2020, just before the pandemic struck. The 2019 edition of the Angkor Ultra Trail drew more than 1,200 participants from Cambodia, United States, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, China, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Australia and 29 other countries.
Europe, especially France, produced the most participants in the past.
Previous participants spoke highly of the event.
This is the most memorable trail race I have ever done. The friendliness of the local villagers whom stay up all night in the jungles to cheer, to the spectacular and mesmerizing and ‘eerie in the evening’ temples which are all about us,” runner Ross Cain said in a testimonial posted on the event website.
“It is a sheer pleasure to be in this beautiful historic park, thank you to the excellent organizers also whom made sure all racers were safe and cared for,” he added.
Guilhelm Vince agreed in a testimonial posted on the same website.
” Great run, mesmerising sceneries, cozy atmosphere. I felt privileged to run among those temples and rice fields. Big thanks to the organisation. Seems to be managed by many volunteers. Big up for you guys,” he said.
Siem Reap was also the site of the inaugural Kulen Mountain Trek-Run, which was held in February 2022.
This article is adapted from BPVE News Cambodia, reported and edited from Cambodia Sports Review.
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