So, alarm set for 4:45am!!!!!
I woke, was amazed to not be feeling any ill effects of yesterday’s cycling (probably helped I’d cycled in training with Jel before I left)
Was up and ready and in a tuk tuk for 5:15, had a malrone, a royal D and some cookies for breakfast and after a quick pit stop at Richard and Alla’s we were ready to go!
Strange to be up so early, still dark, but the town was already busy with people heading to the temples for sunrise and a half marathon.
We got there in good time, I’d taken my phone to get some photos on the way round, so managed to get some of sunrise over Angkor Wat before the race started.
Richard, the super speedy runner, had made his way to the front, where as Alla and I were happy in the middle!
The race started on time and off we went – the reverse direction of the previous days cycling. Although the sun had risen the temperature was still relatively cool, but running in vest and 3/4 leggings and my vivos I was still warm and sweating!
The first part of the course was out along a road and back, I think to make up the distance, before we headed towards the temples again.
The run is essentially flat and so beautiful, even the roads you run along are tree lined and initially lined with friends/family/police/security all taking photos/videos – I think we must be a strange sight. Of all the entrants only 30% come from Cambodia. After the f&f faded away they were replaced by 100s of children put to get as many high5s as possible – they give really strong ones, so it was quite tiring high5ing a row of 20 children (Gray, sorry, not v energy efficient!)
There was meant to be water every 2.5km but it seemed like it was more often than that – all bottled water – so it was great. There were also some cans of what I think was energy drink, but I resisted that and relied on my Clif bar I’d brought from the UK!
The route was spectacular, how could it not be?!
Everyone was so friendly with runners stopping to take pictures of each other, language being no barrier and encouraging each other along.
True to form I had a bit of a cry at one point – we were approaching Victory Gate and I was overwhelmed with the reality of where I was, what I was doing and how much I was loving it all – not only the run but also my trip!
After the crying, taken by a lady from Wimbledon!
There were a few people I ran most of the way among, we’d all have faster/slower moments but got round together. Towards the end we were passing runners that had finished and everyone was so supportive.
As I crossed the line I heard a shout from a girl who was in my guesthouse in Battambang, but once I’d crossed and looked back to see her she was lost in the crowds.
And this is where the organizers let themselves down. I finished with a relatively slow time of 2.45, but there were still a lot of people behind me. But the organizers had run out of water, bananas and I think more importantly medals – for the faster runners they are less important, but for the slower ones I can’t imagine the disappointment of making it to the finish and there being nothing there for you to reward your achievement.
Everyone was asking where the medals were and we were told we were ‘too slow’ to get one, needless to say that didn’t go down too well!!!
Just after that I spotted Richard and Alla and still having the lung capacity I yelled at them and they spotted me. Alla had finished about 10mins in front of me and didn’t get a medal either. Richard, who lived up to his reputation, finished 10th (so proud of him and his modesty) but didn’t even both taking a medal!!!! They really should save them for the slower runners!
We’d traveled in the tuk tuk with another guy from their guesthouse who did get a medal! So as we traveled back together – very happy that we were still in time for breakfast – he said we were more than welcome to have photos taken with his!
When we got back we discovered that one of the staffs sisters had run the 10km and so we now had 2 medals to borrow! There were lots of photos of all of us, such a friendly group of people (although in our excitement we may have ruined what was a very peaceful Sunday breakfast for the 3 other guests!!!)
Richard and Alla had arranged to do a river cruise in the afternoon, but before that we had ice cream to eat!
At Richard’s suggestion I did a nice ‘recovery jog’ back to my guesthouse (almost exactly 1 mile and downhill) treated myself to a Sprite before a quick shower, discovered that my tummy button was chafed (nice) and was ready to go again!
We went back to the Blue Pumpkin, excitingly we got to sit on the massive daybeds and this time I treated myself to a full on ice cream rather than just 1 scoop – I felt I deserved it!