Organisers of the inaugural Luang Prabang Half Marathon, “La Procession”, are confident they can attract a field of 800 to 900 runners for the 5 October 2013 charity event in this UNESCO World Heritage town.
The event will raise funds for Friends-International (FI), an award winning International NGO with an upcoming project in Luang Prabang.
More than 100 runners had signed up within the first three weeks of registration opening.
La Procession is divided into three separate race distances – 7 km, 14 km, and 21 km – over a mostly flat 7 km circuit, which starts at the National Museum and passes many of Luang Prabang’s most famous attractions. To register, visit www.luangprabanghalfmarathon.com.
All the race categories are fully-sponsored, though entrants are expected to make charitable donations to compete, with the minimum donation set at US$200, while Gold Medal runners contribute US$1,000 or more. This ensures that FI receives all of the entry donations, without any deductions for race logistics. Sponsors cover the organisational costs. There is a different fee structure for Lao runners.
The LPHM organisers and sponsors stressed that unlike some destination races that take place in poor areas of the world, but are run for profit, La Procession is solely for the charity.
“There are many things going in Friends-International’s favour for this run: that it will set up a sustainable social enterprise, that it focuses on vocational training, and that the restaurant training school should be a valuable asset for Luang Prabang,” said one organiser and runner, Michael Gilmore.
Financial supporters include Aman Resorts, HSBC, and Lao Airlines, and several local businesses. Interested sponsors are still welcome to back LPHM.
Mr Gilmore concluded that the objective is to hold the event annually. “That’s definitely the aim, as races generally become more ‘valuable’ over time. Runners really like to know that an event is in the calendar, and either do it again and again, or look out for it if they missed it the year before. That’s how we’ll get more and more people wanting to run in Luang Prabang, by keeping it on the same weekend every year, if we can.”