04 December 2012

let's call it an experiment: running a race throughout an ancient temple complex

This past weekend, I did something I've never done before:

I completed a 10 kilometer race inside Angkor Wat with the sweetest running companion: a zippered owl pouch named Ollie.

And I even got a faux-gold finisher's medal!

Before arriving in Cambodia, I didn't even know that Angkor Wat hosted a half marathon each year.  Last year, Chris and I chose not to participate alongside many of our fellow PCVs but we both knew it was a priority for this year.  I trained decently well for three months, but the month before the race, I slacked off completely and it showed.

While I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, I did finish, and I can definitely say that learning how run in the heat and humidity of Cambodia is quite an arduous experiment.  I am so glad I did it, and I am already looking for my next 10k run while living here- which will likely be in March in the coastal town of Sihanouville.  Here we go again!


Chris and I arrived in Siem Reap on Friday afternoon, and walked the mile or so to the expo to pick up our running items the next afternoon, on Saturday.

It wasn't crowded at all, and we moved seamlessly through the stops, picking up our bibs, our timing chip, and our tee shirts.   I was getting pretty excited and a bit nervous as it all became very real.
When we got back to the hotel, I laid out all of the items I'd picked up and began to mentally prepare myself for the next morning.

Chris' half marathon start time was 6:30 AM and my 10k was 6:40 AM but our information packet instructed us to arrive even earlier, around 5:30 AM.

Which is how we ended up at Angkor Wat at sunrise, with thousands of other runners and some tourists too.
 It was pretty stunning, to say the least.
 We readied ourselves for our run: Chris tied his bandanna for sweat and sun protection, and I...took more pictures.
 And then we were off.  Chris started first as I corralled into a huge group of runners with some friends.
 I had my camera with me throughout the race, inside Ollie my Owl Purse.  Unsurprisingly, most of the pictures of me sweaty and running are pretty terrible.  So, here's what I looked like passing the Elephant Terrace in the last third of the race, when I was taking a running break.
 The course was really, really freaking gorgeous.  The sun had just risen when we began, and most of the race was under the cover of ancient, tall, grande trees.  Sunlight passed through and provided an idyllic scene to take my mind off of wanting to stop running.
 As I crossed the finish line first, I had some time to wait before Chris would return.  When he did finish, I was cheering his name and there was sweet relief on his face as he collapsed into a giant hug in my arms. 
 We were both pretty excited to have completed our individual races.
 We were sweaty, tired, and at least one of us was delirious yet happy.
 A decent group of PCVs ran the 10k or 21k and I managed to convince a fellow runner to snap a photo of those I could find post-race.
 We tuk-tuk'd back to our hotel and immediately showered and ate.  We both had some fun blisters, and spent the rest of the day napping and basking in our victories.
 Oh and I ate a giant chocolate bar that I'd been saving to celebrate.
What did you "experiment" doing this year?


  1. I love running races and that course looks beautiful!

  2. Also CONGRATS on your finishes. I was over here reminiscing and forgot to congratulate you two!

  3. Wow, sounds like it was such a fun experience! :)

  4. great job! i'm so impressed that you ran the race despite the heat and humidity.