In December every year thousands of people from around the world descend on Cambodia’s Temple Town to compete in one of the most breathtaking destination races there is. But the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is more than just a race
Dawn, and in front of Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat, activity begins. Stretching, chatting, smiling, more than 10,000 people prepare for a race that some have travelled thousands of kilometres to compete in. One competitor, Victor, has come all the way from the US.
“I have always wanted to visit Angkor Wat, but having the chance to run through the temple grounds is an experience that I will remember forever.”
Christlinne, who has come from the Philippines and is competing for the second time, says she loves the spirit of the race.
“I wanted to come back because the atmosphere is just great. Everyone is so supportive, and not only that, it’s all for a good cause.”
Since 2015, Manulife has been the event’s principle sponsor and as the race grows each year, so too does the impact it has on Cambodia. Through the event which is organized by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, the company has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, as well as for initiatives to help underprivileged communities of Cambodia.
Roy Gori, president and CEO of Manu- life, says he is very proud of the company’s sponsorship of the event.
“It’s part of our broader global goal of helping people live healthier and better lives. We do a lot of charity work in the various communities that we are operating in and we’re promoting healthy living.
“We’re also raising a lot of money in do- nations to help very important causes, and our ultimate goal is to help those who are less fortunate than us. So, this is a great example of our charitable effort and our ambition to help people live healthier lives.”
The event has become one of the world’s must-experience races for destination marathon runners, and that popularity is helping Manulife to make lives better. For the many people who benefit directly from the funds raised by the annual event, it is far more than just a race.
Victor and Christlinne both plan to re- turn next year, as does Gori, who says it’s his favourite event in the whole world.
“This is my third year at the event and I love coming back here; when you’re surrounded by the beauty of the temples and you’re in awe of the majestic nature of what is in front of you it is hard to not become inspired,” he said.