Arriving in Phnom Penh, the heat and humidity hit us straight away outside the terminal building. We were told it is a short drive to the hotel – 2 hours later, blaming rush hour, we finally arrived. I am just glad we did not take a tuk-tuk but had an air-con car.
After clearing the gear and medical check, the welcome dinner was the first opportunity to catch up with the other 33 runners, volunteers and medics from 18 different nations, aged between 26 and 69. The girls were a bit under represented with only seven runners.
The next morning we were off for a good 4 hour/180km drive north-west of the capital to our first camp – a temple hall in a small village. Along the way we had a short stop at a market selling local specialties such as fried spiders, frogs, cricket’s – some keen runners could not hold back – apparently extra protein is always good to have for a 220km run.
We all however collected later at the camp our 3 bottles of water – every day we got one bottle at each check-point during the run and 3 bottles at finish which had to last to the first check-point of next days stage
After a hot night with lot’s of snoring and little sleep, we had to get up at 5am for breakfast and ready for 7am start.
Excitement on first morning when one of the runner’s shoes were missing. As we stayed in a temple all the shoes had to be left outside over night. With the help of the local chief who did not hesitate to walk straight to a nearby house, finding the culprit and the missing shoes were returned….for a small finders fee 🙂
After an emotional start ceremony and blessing from the local monks, we were sent off at 7am on our first stage of 30km, starting with a short 3km loop through the village.
Luckily it was overcast and a light wind head wind helped to start towards our first finish due west for 27km with hardly any shade
With raising sun and dropping of the wind it got hotter and harder to keep going, but the many kids along the way who cheered us on helped us along the way.
Arrived at the finish line at 10:30am with a sore big toe and a vey hot head. First things first – straight to the orange esky in front of the little shop next to our sleeping quarters (a local house) for a cold coke!
After finding a free mosquito net and settling in and with lunch eaten, I join everyone else trying to find a shady spot with some breeze to relax.
Sleeping on hard floors with another twenty or so smelly and snoring runners during a hot and humid night needs to be part of my next training schedule – we all had little success falling into any deep sleep and rest for our 2nd stage.