Elite Kenyan marathoner Kenneth Mungara, aged 42, is aiming to win an unprecedented third time at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) this coming Sunday, in the 15th edition of the local race.
Said Mungara at this morning’s SCMS press conference, “I am happy to be back and I hope to do very well. The different course will not change anything for me, as I have trained very hard for this. The problem is that you are in danger if you do not have enough training, or when you don’t have the proper training. But I am very confident for this Sunday’s race.”
He is aiming to complete the 42.195km Full Marathon race in 2 hours and 8 minutes, which may not be a personal best for him, but would be slightly faster than when he had won the 2016 Gold Coast Marathon Race in July this year, in about 2 hours and 9 minutes.
Weather and humidity is a challenge
Mungara declined to reveal his training plan for the race, but admitted that he trains when the sun is up, in order to combat the Singapore heat – which he considered as the biggest challenge in the race.
Said Mungara, “The biggest problem here is the weather and humidity. The other aspects of the race are good. Actually it’s very cold where I came from in Kenya; only God knows why I keep winning this race. But I try to train in the daytime when the sun is up.”
He has not represented Kenya at the national level before, but Mungara hopes to run in the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics in the future. He said, “I am expecting to be at the Commonwealth Games but I can not be certain as there are many good runners. One day I will be there.”
Did not start running till 35
His motivation towards running is indeed inspiring, considering that Mungara did not start running till the age of 35 after listening in to a conversation of runners discussing their training regimes in his barber shop. Soon after that he decided to take on his first marathon and he has never looked back since.
He says, “I have no idea how I became so good since then.”
Tim Reed and Ashley Liew also at the press conference
Mungara was joined at the press conference by Tim Reed, the Ironman 70.3 World Champion as well as Team Singapore’s Ashley Liew, the only Singaporean to have received the renowned Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy.
Said Ashley on his award, “One and a half years later, I am still humbled by what had seemed like such a small act that went a long way. I have always thought it was not a huge deal; I did what I thought was right and did not want to take advantage of the situation. I am glad that the public saw something deeper in the act and I hope these values can be passed down to the younger generation.”
He added, “Sportsmanship is not about the medals but the things that you do in between and that can speak volumes about who we are and that is better than any medals that we may get.”
Reed hopes to purely enjoy himself
Reed, who had just won the recent Ironman 70.3 Thailand last weekend, is not aiming to go for a timing on Sunday.
Said Reed, who is taking part in the 21.1km Half Marathon, “I plan to enjoy myself and have a great time. I do have a bucket list of other events outside the triathlon. One day i was hoping to do a really good half marathon off the bike, but that is not going to be happening this weekend because my legs are still sore from Thailand.”
He added, “The SCMS run really appeals to me and I am very excited to be here. As a triathlete, I do not necessarily train at top end speed for running too much. My running will not be much faster from the usual this weekend, especially with the training that I do and the muscle mass that I carry. I must say that it will be hard to match up to an athlete that purely runs, as the last time I ran was when I was 20 years old. I want to go out there and enjoy myself this Sunday.”
Though Reed shared that there is the possibility that he may surprise himself. He said, “I may run the first 5km hoping that will happen and then I will have to make a decision; my coach has said not to go too hard and to enjoy the race, but I struggle to contain my competitive spirit, so we will have to wait and see.”
Ashley hopes to do his best
Ashley, who will also be starting together with the elites, has modest expectations of his race and simply hopes to do his best.
He says, “I will do my best. I got back from the United States three weeks ago and I have been working since then. I will try my best and hope that everything will go well.”
More than 27 other elite runners will join these marathon veterans, in an elite entry list that includes a mix of debutants, veterans and Team Singapore athletes. 19 of these athletes will be from other parts of the world. For many of these athletes, the trip to Singapore continues to be an important fixture in the global running calendar due to its iconic routes and its status as the only IAAF Gold Label event in South East Asia.
Ironman Asia reiterates that the SCMS 2016 will be the best edition yet
New race organiser, Ironman Asia, has also reiterated that the adjustments that it has made to the route and start timings, means that this year’s SCMS will be the best one yet.
Said Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of Ironman Asia “We have made some improvements to the race this year to enhance runner experience with earlier start times, wider routes and waved starts.”
46,000 runners to take part across all categories
In all, more than 46,000 runners are set to take part in the Marathon, Ekiden, Half Marathon, 10KM Race and Kids Dash categories this year. The Half and Full Marathons as well as the Ekiden and Kids Dash will take place along Orchard Road – the heart of the city – while the 10km event flags off at the Esplanade Theatres. All categories of runners will complete their race together at the Padang.
All photos used in this post are courtesy of SCMS.