The Kenyan runners continued their clean sweep of the 42.195km Marathon Open categories at Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2016.
Felix Kiptoo Kirwa wins the 42.195km Men’s Open Category
Taking the 42.195km Men’s Open Marathon category was Felix Kiptoo Kirwa, 21, who won with a timing of 2 hours 17 minutes and 17 seconds.
Said the runner, “I was not expecting to complete the run in this timing as it was very hot and humid in Singapore. Last year they finished in 2 hours 17 minutes… I was not sure if I could do the same. We have so many runners and they are so competitive… when I arrived at the 40km point, that was when I realised that I may have won the race.”
He continued, “I realised that I could out-sprint everyone at the 40km mark so I did and I pushed, to win the race. I was still feeling strong at that point. Till then I had been following the front pack till it was a good time to surge ahead.”
Felix, who had been making his SCMS debut, had arrived from Kenya on Friday night, meaning that he had less than two days to acclimatise to the Singapore weather. He said, “I have never run in these sort of conditions before.”
Rebecca Kangogo Chesir wins the 42.195km Women’s Open category
Winning the 42.195km Women’s Open Marathon category was Kenya’s Rebecca Kangogo Chesir, 24, who clocked 2 hours 43 minutes and 3 seconds. She had been pushed by the chasing pack throughout the race but managed to break away at the end.
Said Rebecca on her win, “I did not expect to win. My plan was to stay with the pack and towards the end to push; I am confident that I could outrun them. And at 35km I realised that I could win, so I pushed and I went alone.”
Due to the heat, she also stopped at the water stations regularly. She said, “Towards the end, with 4km to go, it was getting quite hot. But I am glad that I had stopped at the water stations to take water to drink throughout the race. Fortunately the race flagged off early.”
The race had been flagged off at 4.30am. This had been half an hour earlier than previous years.
The runner added, “Kenya is actually quite cold at the moment, so that made it feel really warm here. I had 2-3 days to acclimatise and I am happy with my win today.”
Mok Ying Ren wins the 42.195km Men’s Local category
Mok Ying Ren, 28, won the 42.195km Men’s Local category, clocking a timing of 2 hours 41 minutes and 5 seconds. This is his eighth win in the event, making him the most accomplished local runner at SCMS.He said, “It’s a good achievement. Coming into this race, I had started working 4-5 months ago and have settled into a routine of running once a day, running home from work. I’ve retained some of my fitness from my overseas training.”
Mok had run in a pack together with fellow Singaporeans Ashley Liew and Fang JianYong, and pushed ahead at the 30km mark. Says Mok, “I had been still feeling fresh by that point; and I am glad that things turned out well in the end.”
Added the runner, “I was worried though, that I would crash and burn in the later stages because I had not done any long runs; the longest run I did was 27-30km. The pace was decent at the start; my strategy was to pace myself well and finish strong.”
Mok also felt that having been in Singapore for the past six months had helped him to get used to the local weather again. He said, “That helped me to adapt to the heat and to sustain my pace as the weather got hotter. Overall I think that I had a great race.”
Jasmine Goh Mei Ling wins the 42.195km Women’s Local category
Jasmine Goh Mei Ling, 37, clinched the 42.195km Women’s Local category with a timing of 3 hours 9 minutes and 49 seconds. Said Jasmine, “I did not expect to win as usual. When it comes to the race, it is really up to everyone’s preparations. As I always say, it is not the best athlete who wins, but the one who is the best prepared.”
She continued, “I am so glad that with the showdown amongst the top female runners, I had managed to come out and perform and to do my club and parents proud, and myself proud as well. I am so glad that all of the effort I put in for so many months has paid off. To win is a bonus and to do a personal best in Singapore weather is a double bonus. I am thrilled.”
Jasmine’s strategy had been to follow her own pace. She said, “It was pretty much like the Great Eastern Women’s Run where I was trailing the other ladies at the start, but I am a consistent runner and I was confident that I could pull it off. I did not go out too fast and I had faith in my training and in my abilities. Run your own race; when you are running, your greatest enemy is none other than yourself.”
She also pointed out that the support provided by the supporters had been great, and had really helped her. She said, “I got those lovely ice sticks from friends; that was a really nice gesture and helped me so much. Singapore weather is crazy for running!”
Staying focused when she is running is also important, according to Jasmine. She said, “Sometimes it gets lonely when you are running alone; running with people keeps you alert but on your own you kind of lose your mind, so you need to stay focused. I think that is the toughest part in marathon running. The fast ones are really fast, the slow ones are very slow, and then there are those in between.”
Running Tips from the elites
What are some tips that the SCMS 2016 winners have to share, to all of the other runners out there?
Said Jasmine, “If you want to run fast, get a coach. If you do it alone, you may not see the results as fast as you want to; it is always good to have someone outside giving you advice. Also, with a team there is accountability; you might not go for training if you are alone but with a team, your friends will be waiting for you and so you can’t give excuses.”
Added Mok Ying Ren, “I think that it is important to be consistent and patient and plan a long term goal. Do not rush into things and do not do stupid things that will get you injured.”
Preparing a training programme is important, according to Rebecca. She said, “You need to set a training programme and stick to it. Train hard and stay focused on it, but at the same time, make sure you have enough time to recover, eat and sleep as well.”