Half marathon to launch in Luang Prabang

The monk's procession in Luang Prabang

Laos is set to host a unique half marathon at the world heritage site of Luang Prabang in October this year.

The area, which is famous for its procession of monks who walk through the town each morning collecting offerings, will offer a setting like no other for the half marathon, which is to be called ‘La Procession’ after the event.

“Every day in Luang Prabang begins with giving to others,” said founding race organiser and HSBC equities director Michael Gilmore, “so it’s only appropriate that the focus of our race should be on giving too.”

The race is being run for local charities in a way that will not damage the fragile infrastructure of Luang Prabang while raising sufficient cash to justify it taking place, explained Gilmore.

“Running around this beautiful town is a unique opportunity, and there will be a very limited number of places so as not to overload infrastructure and be respectful of the local community. I thought that as runners we should really pay for this privilege, but we can only do that if we get full transparency that all the money goes to a local charity. To do that we got corporate sponsors, both locally and internationally, to pay for the race costs, so now runners just raise money for charity.”

“We believe it is a way we can capture the natural tendency of runners who want to help other people.  In many of the destination races after the costs of race fees, flights and hotels, less than 1% of an average runner’s spend goes to the charities. By re-structuring the registration and funding process, we hope to change that, possibly raising up to 100x more per runner than similar races,” he added.

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