Running enthusiasts participate in a myriad of races throughout the year to challenge their limits, fuel their passion and run for different causes, even if it means flying across the globe to roam the grounds in an entirely different environment and climate. Voted as one of the world bucket-list races to participate in, the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2015 (AWHM) on 6th December 2015 had nearly 8,500 runners from 75 countries running through the ruins in the Kingdom of Wonder, Cambodia. Manulife is the 5-year principal sponsor for AWHM starting from this year’s.
Let us take look at 5 highlights of the 20th AWHM that gave participants an unforgettable and meaningful race experience of their lives!
1. Magical and legendary temple run in Angkor Wat, a World UNESCO Heritage Site
Many visitors to Cambodia have graced the mystical temple complexes of the ranked No. 1 Landmark of TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award. However, not many have explored the grounds of the majestic Angkor Wat with a pair of running shoes, race bib and endless adrenaline rush. Race participants of AWHM 2015 found themselves running back in time and history as stone sculptures, carvings and structures of traditional Khmer architecture dating back to the 12th century greet them along the well-planned race route.
2. Uniquely Cambodian Race
Participants made their way to the starting pen on race day not by car, public buses or taxis, but via TukTuks – the most common and popular mode of transport in Cambodia. Seated in open-air sedans attached to the driver’s motorbike, runners were treated with the raw sights and sounds of the daily activities in Siem Reap. Not to forget, Manulife-labelled Tuk Tuks went on a Tuk Tuk parade around the streets of Siem Reap after the race, celebrating one of the largest fundraising events in Cambodia.
In addition, there were many elements of Cambodian culture throughout the race event – Cambodian music paraded participants who were making their way through the starting pen; prize presenters were dressed in beautiful, elegant Sampot and local established brand sponsors.
3. Festive race atmosphere and supportive crowd
The race route of AWHM directs runners into different parts of the majestic Angkor Wat complex, including the well-shaded paths along the local homes. Kids from these homes would line up along the race route with curiosity and interest, holding out their hands for hi-fives and cheering race participants on. Nearing the starting line, huge placards, pom poms and loud cheers in different languages could be seen and heard, providing runners the extra boost for the last stretch. It was an amazing and heart-warming sight for runners receiving support from both local and international communities. It was never a dull moment for runners throughout the race!
4. Running buddies –From all walks of life, from all parts of the world
With nearly 8,500 runners from 75 countries, race event volunteers and supporters from both local and global communities, the AWHM was indeed an international race event meant for anyone and everyone to participate in. Runners were speaking in different languages, dialects and many new cross-border friendships were formed on race day as well.
Moreover, race participants who competed in the artificial limbs and wheelchair category were applauded for their amazing and admirable determination for overcoming their physical barriers to complete the challenging route. Their participation served as a solid statement to raise awareness for victims of antipersonnel land mines in Cambodia and their support for the Cambodian community.
5. Run for self, run for others
Every step you take towards the finishing line is a step towards health and wellness for self and for others. All of the proceeds of the AWHM 2015 went to the selected Cambodian beneficiaries and one of which was the Angkor Hospital for Children, where Manulife made a gracious cheque donation of US$25,000 a day before the race.
The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is more than just a race of fitness and speed; it is a global event that celebrates international friendship, values of charity, health and wellness, as well as preservation of heritage and history. Now that the new year is approaching, why not pen down the AWHM 2016 in your New Year’s wishlist? JustRunLah!