Luang Prabang Half Marathon: “La Procession”

Congratulations to all who competed in the first ever Luang Prabang Half Marathon: “La Procession”! Over USD$125,000 was raised for our Lao PDR program Peuan Mit! This money will go towards opening a new vocational training restaurant in Luang Prabang.

Well done to Friends runners Kanchan, Kristi, Steinunn and Allan who were able to use the opportunity of running around town to scout good sites for the new restaurant!

Friends runners (from left) Kanchan, Steinunn and Allan with Laos Country Program Director Ket and event organizer Michael.

Friends runners (from left) Kanchan, Steinunn and Allan with Laos Country Program Director Ket and event organizer Michael.

A special mention to event organizer Michael Gilmore worked tirelessly in the lead up to, and on the day of the event, ensuring the day ran (pardon the pun…) extremely smoothly. It was a wonderful, festive morning for all.

Below is an update from the official Luang Prabang Half Marathon: “La Procession” website.

The event organizers will be seeking permission to host the half marathon again next year. If another run around Luang Prabang isn’t reason enough to come back next time, then surely checking up on the progress of Friends, and our new project will be!

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Pre race, Luang Prabang

Again, thanks to all who participated in the event.

The team at Friends-International


The dust has settled, we’ve all got home safe, happy and a little bit fitter hopefully – so it’s time to say thank you. Here’s how we’ve changed the front page of our website ( Please read to the end….

“Khop Chai Lai Lai”. Thank you all so much. 

We hope every runner had a great time: certainly all of the ones who have written to us since have said they did, and we can assure you that all of the organisers did too! So thanks are due to everyone who took part, from runners to fundraisers to sponsors to organisers to volunteers to photographers to the kids who came out to cheer unexpectedly: everyone. If you were a part of this, and you know you were, thank you!

Luang Prabang Half Marathon Start/Finish line, moments before the starting gun...

Luang Prabang Half Marathon Start/Finish line, moments before the starting gun…

It’s supposed to be unfair to single one person out, but not this time. All of the organisers worked hard to put this race together, but all except one would openly admit they had no idea what they were doing! Barbara Oravetz was our guide through all of this, and even though Bere Olmedo, Michael Gilmore and Justin Crane worked (almost) as hard as she did in the days leading up to the race, the race wouldn’t have been the success it was without her. In fact, it would probably have been a disaster. Thank you Barbara.

On a more official note, this race could not have taken place without the generosity and assistance of so many people and organisations:
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His Excellency, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, the Governor of Luang Prabang, and his entire staff. 
Mr Sitthideth and Lester Song of Lao Airlines
Matt Cannon and Roland Wee of HSBC Capital Markets
Gary Tyson, Carolyn Turnbull, Malai Wuvanich of Amanresorts
Serge Ditesheim of Maison Souvannaphoum, Angsana Resort
Mads Brinks and team at Beer Lao and Tiger Head
Kirsty Danks-Brown at De Le Paix, Luang Prabang
Rodolphe Gay of Luangsay Residence
Axel de Boynes of Villa Maly
Ivan of The Apsara, Urban of Mekong River View, Paul of BelleRive and Guillermo of Xiengthong Palace
Emi Weir of Ma Te Sai and Bananaboats
Julie and team at Luang Prabang Yoga
The JOMA Cafe Crew
Everyone at L’Elephant
Ock Pop Tock, Caruso Lao, Khiri Travel
But maybe most importantly, we need to thank two more groups of people:

The staff of Friends International, who do such important and inspirational work that it makes it easy and rewarding to support them. And also thanks to Tessa Boudrie of Boudrie Advisory for helping us find them.

And the people of Luang Prabang for always being so hospitable, and preserving a town that is just so lovely to run around, that so many of us wanted to do it not once or twice but three times!

(Or maybe more… we will be asking for permission to host the Luang Prabang Half Marathon again next year. Watch out for details.)

(I knew I’d forget someone REALLY important! Her Excellency, Siew Kheng Kang, the Singapore Ambassador to Lao PDR. Thank you so very much!)


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