Re-directed runners unworthy of medal?

Re-directed runners unworthy of medal?
Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014.

SINGAPORE - Completing a full marathon is a significant achievement for most runners, especially in an event like Sunday's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.

But a blogpost by a seasoned runner has raised questions on whether everyone who has a Finisher's Medal deserves it.

Mr Christopher Koh, 52, who claims to have been competing in marathons for nine years, had observed at the recent run that there were some participants who had likely skipped about 20km of the 42km route, before crossing the finish-line and getting their finisher's medal and finisher's T-shirt.

He took pictures of these runners, cross-referenced it with their checkpoint timing, and posted his findings on his blog to, he said, "name and shame" them.

Mr Koh told The New Paper yesterday: "I did it because of curiosity and I was hoping that such incidents would be brought to light. As runners, we want to have a good experience during the run itself."

Mr Koh, a credit control manager, was taking photos of runners at Gardens by the Bay during the marathon on Sunday.

His blog post has caught the attention of the organisers, who have since clarified that the runners did not cheat, but were redirected to a shorter route by marshals because they did not pass a certain distance by a specified time. (See other report.)

When told of the response, Mr Koh still felt the diversion was unfair to the other runners.

He said: "Firstly, it requires a lot of training to run 42km. But you have people who don't train and try to run, only to give up halfway and try to collect the finisher's T-shirt. I think they're cheapening the whole value of the marathon itself."

His opinion was shared by two regular marathoners TNP spoke to.

Mr John Tan, 20, a student, felt that the finisher's T-shirt should be given only if someone completes the entire route.

He said: "It's a very challenging route, and only when you have conquered it will you understand the significance of completing this marathon."

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Only those who took part in the full marathon get finisher's T-shirts and medals. Those who took part in the half-marathon and 10km run do not.

Another runner, Mr Bernard Koh, 35, who works in the IT industry, felt that runners should know their limits before attempting a full marathon.

Despite his views, Mr Koh posted an apology on his blog last night for jumping to conclusions and wrongly accusing the re-directed runners.

He wrote: "It irks me a lot to see runners who are totally not prepared attempting the full marathon.

"And everywhere there will be many people who do so just for the finisher's tee and medal."

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