Well, I can’t believe it. Race week for the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is here!
I fly out tonight on Cebu Pacific, which has the sole direct Manila-Siem Reap flights. This cuts the journey down to three hours in the air, although there are only four Cebu Pacific flights a week. Other flight itineraries include stopovers in Ho Chi Minh or Kuala Lumpur. The other option is to fly to Bangkok then take a six-hour bus trip (which is how backpackers get around in Asia anyway — but I digress).
As part of Team Manulife, my schedule is pretty full from breakfast on for the next three days. I’m looking forward to our temple tour on Saturday which will take us around the Angkor Wat temple complex and into the Ta Prohm and Bayon temples. The idea of getting a peek into an ancient civilization through their religious architecture is just so romantic. Another highlight I’m excited about is the exclusive Team Manulife dinner at the Thommanon Temple. (Talk about rolling out the red carpet!)
We’ll also visit the Angkor Hospital for Children, which is the beneficiary of the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon. Eighteen years since its gates first opened founded by Friends Without a Border, it’s provided over 1.5 million medical treatments to Cambodian children and their families, and is officially recognized by the Cambodian Ministry of Health as one of the few pediatric teaching hospitals in Cambodia.
Some time in Siem Reap itself is also on the schedule, with visits to the Old Market as well as Pub Street, where I can get even more shopping and sightseeing done.
You maybe might start to wonder that with this packed schedule, would I still be able to run optimally? The answer is, I’m going to give it my best on the day, regardless. Maybe that best is maintaining a 6:30 min/km pace, or faster or slower. But there are races that I do when I seek new personal bests, and there are races that I do simply for the experience of the thing. (Besides, we all get the same finisher medal.) And if I do log a slower-than-expected time this weekend then that means I need to come back next year to go faster, which is the perfect excuse to make the trip again. :)