UK runner David Hellard secured first place at the recent (26 November) Bagan Temple Marathon in Myanmar. Hellard, an experienced ultra runner who completed the notoriously difficult Marathon des Sables, is also known as the man who sprinted and lead the London Marathon for 400m in 2013 as part of his fundraising campaign for the African charity Street Child.
The event, tucked away in central Myanmar, is known for a route of striking beauty, with runners taking in numerous historic temples and pagodas over the 26.2 miles. Despite an early start of 6:15am, the field was faced with warm, humid temperatures and a course that consisted of dirt roads and asphalt.
Departing from the 800-year-old Htilominlo Temple, runners headed towards the ancient city of Old Bagan and the Dhammayazika Pagoda. After moving through a number of Burmese villages, finishers were treated to temple-speckled vista for the final run along a dirt trail back towards Htilominlo Temple.
Despite the testing conditions, the course is relatively fast due to its generous profile. Hellard, no stranger to the testing world of endurance running having also finished the Sierra Leone Marathon earlier this year, took first in an impressive 3:00:56, with his closest competitor, Vincent Meers, almost 10 minutes behind (3:10:16).
If a running adventure to the historic Bagan Temple Marathon has caught your fancy, Sports Tours International organise five and six-night trips. The event also includes a half marathon distance. More information, including detailed itinerary, is available here.