Traveling in a team to Cambodia with the 2h Project isn’t a one off encounter. For many, it’s an eye-opening experience that leads to continued support of the organisation. Some, like Michelle Cioffi, return with a desire to contribute above and beyond. And the results are often extraordinary.
Early December last year, Michelle ran the 10km Angkor Wat Half-Marathon, raising over $2000 for the 2h Project. If the thought alone of running 10km’s makes you break out into a sweat, imagine running it in a tropical climate! Here’s what Michelle had to say.
What inspired you to run the 10km Angkor Wat Half-Marathon?
When I came across the Angkor Wat 10km race online, the idea immediately jumped out at me. I wrote to Kate and Kevin straight away and said, “I’m going to run at Angkor Wat and raise money for the 2h Project”. I knew there was no turning back!
It was great to be able to combine a personal goal as well as my commitment to the 2h Project and turn it into a creative way of raising money. And it just seemed so fitting that I could return to a country to a people that made their way under my skin and into my heart and run for them on their soil – knowing that it was all for the greater good.
You travelled with the 2h project to Cambodia in 2009, what sort of impact did it have on you?
The impact is life changing. What I saw then in Cambodia, what I have seen since in Laos, China, Vietnam, Thailand – it has left me with a sense of responsibility. I can’t turn my back on the poor and impoverished – the 1.4 billion people on the same earth as me living on or below $1.25 a day. It has to change and it can. It does, every time someone reaches out a hand, donates a few dollars, gives of their time or resources.
How did you feel after finishing the 10km’s?
A lot better than I did in my last 2km!
Seriously though, I felt a real sense of achievement. I’d aimed to run 10km within an hour and I ran 54’14”, just under 6 mins below. It was a Personal Best for me and a huge improvement from my first 10km with Siri, which took one hour 11 minutes.
Any advice for someone aspiring to run the half-marathon in Cambodia?
If you’re going to pick any race, Angkor is the one! I mean, what better way to distract yourself from feeling tired than to be surrounded by 12th century ruins? Running through the surrounding forest, through the Bayon Gate, past the faces of the Bayan Temple and returning to the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat was a treat. Yes, there were tough moments, the last 2km especially, because I knew how close I was and I was getting tired. I was looking at my watch, trying to maintain my speed and at that point I had a thought: At the end of the day, my race time didn’t matter – the best part of the day was running the race knowing that it was in support of something worthwhile.