This morning, the Emperor of Long Distance Running, Haile Gebrelassie, made his South East Asian race debut – at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS), with more than 53,000 runners starting.
He took part in the 10km race category at SCMS, and finished in third position, with a time of 00:30:00 minutes.
Winning the race was not on Gebrelassie’s mind
However, winning the race had never been on Gebrelassie’s mind. Instead, he had come to Singapore to have fun and enjoy himself – which he did. The third position was merely the icing on the cake for him.
Said Gebrelassie, “The crowd in Singapore had been fantastic and I treated the race as a celebration. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and everything was great, except the weather. The humidity was not something I expected but the guys from Kenya pushed me to go faster.”
Pushing Gebrelassie all the way were Kenyan runners Solomon Kipyego Keter, who had won the race in 29:44 minutes, and Thomas Maritim, who claimed the second spot, in 29:50 minutes.
Keter said that Gebrelassie, Maritim and he were running alongside each other until the last 600m when he pulled away.
Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara reclaims his SCMS Marathon Title
In the Full Marathon (Men’s Open Category), Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara successfully reclaimed his earlier title as the champion of the SCMS. He had completed the 42km race – which he had last won in 2010, in a time of 2 hours 16 minutes and 42 seconds.
Clearly delighted that he had won, Mungara said, “The race today was very nice. The weather was good and I enjoyed it. But I was alone and didn’t have someone to push me to go even faster. I want to be back again to set a new course record.”
Finishing in second and third positions respectively, were fellow Kenyans David Kiptui Tarus, in 2 hours 19 minutes and 7 seconds, and Charles Kanyao, with a time of 2 hours 19 minutes and 18 seconds.
Kenyan dominance finally broken in the SCMS Women’s Race
However, Ethiopian marathoner Waganesh Amare broke the Kenyan’s dominance on the SCMS race, by clinching the 42km Women’s Marathon Open in 2 hours 46 minutes and 46 seconds. She narrowly beat Kenyans Elizabeth Chemweno (2 hours 47 minutes 50 seconds) and Pauline Wangui (2 hours 48 minutes 59 seconds) by a narrow margin.
Said Amare, “The weather was really warm, but I am very happy to win the race here, especially because it’s been won by Kenyans so many times. I really didn’t expect to win, but in spite of my fatigue at the 39km mark, I felt that if I pushed a little, I could really win the race, so I persevered.”
Singaporean Mok Ying Ren Defends His Title
Closer to home, Singaporean marathoner Mok Ying Ren mounted a successful defence of his 2013 SCMS title, by wining the Men’s Closed category of the Full Marathon in 2 hours 53 minutes and 42 seconds.
Said Mok on his win, “I am very happy. This is my longest run since my shin injury. This is a good comeback run and a good sign.”
An Enjoyable Run for Mok
Added Mok, “I felt that the run was really enjoyable as I ran the first 30km with a group of friends. Moving on, I want to qualify for the next SEA Games and focus on the training once I finish National Service in April. For the 2016 Olympics, I am exploring to work with coaches overseas.” And Kenya is one of the countries that he has firmly on his mind.
Rachel See clinched the women’s Closed category of the Full Marathon, in 3 hours 17 minutes and 13 seconds.