Running through Angkor Thom. Image © Megan/ Creative Commons
Two well-established marathons claim precedence in the year's racing calendar.
The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon runs a 21-kilometer course that begins and ends at the historic Angkor Wat temple complex. Over 7,800 runners from all over the world joined the last marathon, with even more signing up year after year! The next Angkor Wat International Half Marathon takes place on December 4, 2016. For more information, visit their website: angkormarathon.org.
The Angkor Empire Marathon goes the whole 42 kilometers, with revenue benefiting the Cambodian Red Cross and other charities that campaign against antipersonnel mines. Over 2,000 racers joined the 2015 event. This race takes place in August every year; for more information, visit their website: angkorempiremarathon.org.
The newest entry in the Angkor race calendar, the Ultra Trail d'Angkor, traces no less than 128 kilometres of trail through the Angkor temple grounds, crossing through rice fields, villages, and the majestic Khmer temples of old. The second edition of the Ultra Trail d'Angkor takes place on January 21, 2017. For more information, visit their website: ultratrail-angkor.com.
Apart from the advertised full lengths of each marathon, the races also feature shorter distances between 3k to 10k, ideal for less grizzled runners, or for casual runners who come to take in the view, not to set a race record!
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For other sports-heavy Southeast Asia celebrations, check out the MotoGP and Ipoh International Run, both in Malaysia; and the Vietnam Elephant Race Festival.