(Editor’s note: Heidi and Bill Cusworth visited Cambodia and ran the Ankor Wat half marathon on December 5th, 2004 – http://www.angkormarathon.org)
1. When you landed in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and got settled into your hotel, what were your pre – race thoughts and emotions?
Actually, we landed in Bangkok and toured Angkor Wat as part of an overland backpacking trip. The Thai/Cambodia border was very sketchy and so I would recommend flying directly to Siem Reap.
We toured some of the temples by bicycle the day before the race which got us excited about the next day’s event. I was somewhat surprised at how flat the area was and how large an area that the temples covered. It was once a very large city.
2. On race day, what time did you have to be in the starting area? What was the atmosphere?
I think we were in the starting area by 6am. The race was a fundraiser for victims of land mines left behind from the various military campaigns. The atmosphere was very friendly and we felt very welcome. There were not a lot of competitive runners and not a lot of European or American runners in the race.
3. How was the race – did you run it for fun or competitively? What was it like running by the ancient ruins?
We ran the race purely for the experience. It was amazing running through the ancient ruins! Many of the ruins had been taken over by the jungle and still had massive tree roots embedded into the stone walls. The race route was paved and flat and so the course was easy.
4. Any issues with the humidity?
The humidity which was high would have been a problem if we had been racing hard. The temperature was in the upper 80s.
5. What’s your view of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat? Would you recommend this trip to other runners?
Having toured all over SE Asia, Angkor Wat still stands out as the biggest highlight. It’s really a must-see destination. The town of Siem Reap is very safe feeling and inviting to foreigners. There are all levels of accommodations and restaurants.
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvIXxhMvQfU