Kenyans reign supreme at StanChart run

Luka Chelimo Kipkemoi took the men’s race in 2hr 14min 59.94sec ahead of Eliud Kaptanui and Mike Mutai, as runners from the African state swept the podium.

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Here is the report in full:

SINGAPORE - Kenyan long distance runners continued their racing dominance at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS), with Chelimo Luka Kipemoi and Sharon Cherop today claiming top honours in the Marathon Men's and Women's Open categories respectively.

Asia's marquee running event flagged off at exactly 5.00am, under the dazzling Christmas lights lining the Orchard Road shopping belt. With five different categories, namely the Marathon, Half Marathon, Ekiden, 10km and Kids Dash (750m), this year's event saw more than 54,000 taking to the streets in the wee hours of the morning from three different start points around the city nation.

Following the Marathon and Ekiden, which flagged off on Orchard Road, was the Half Marathon with its start point located on Sentosa Gateway. The 10km and Kids Dash participants then got their race underway from Esplanade Bridge.

With a timing of 02:14:59, Chelimo Luka Kipemoi ended with a spectacular finish in the Men's Open category, narrowly achieving victory over nearest rivals and Kenyan compatriots Eluid Kiptanui, who clocked 02:15:25 and third-placed Mike Mutai, who came in at 02:15:40.

The humidity was certainly not an issue for Sharon Cherop who topped the Women's Open category (02:41:11.04) with a split second victory over Ethiopia's Debre Godana (02:41:11.71). Prokopeva Alina from Russia finished in third place with a timing of 02:41:15.

"Being my first win at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, I am extremely happy to have clinched this and will use my winnings to pay for my children's education," said Men's Open champion Kipemoi.

Women's Open victor, Cherop, commented: "The race was so close and I was breathing so hard towards the finishing, but I am so happy that my strategy to sprint only when I was close to the finish line worked, and (I) would like to say thank you to the race organisers for a very exciting race. I will be back next year."

The winners in both the Men's and Women's Open categories each received US$50,000 in prize money.

Local runner Mok Ying Ren claimed the top spot in the Singapore Men's category with a timing of 02:54:17, while Qi Hui took top spot among Singapore's women with a winning time of 03:07:30.

Mok, who donated 25 per cent of his US$10,000 prize money to SportCares, said, "It was a great run and I met my objectives of acclimatising to the heat in preparation for the SEA Games, plus I greatly enjoy supporting Singapore's marquee Marathon."

Acting Minister for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong, who flagged off the start of the Half Marathon commented, "The unique thing about the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore is that it's a people's event, with not just elite athletes running. It provides an opportunity for runners of all levels to take part with their family and friends, bringing everyone together to share the common joy of sports participation."

Mr Wong also took part in the Ekiden with several young beneficiaries from SportCares, with the team completing the race with an impressive time of 03:48:24.

This year's event once again saw a variety of participants taking to the streets, ranging from the very young, to the young-at-heart. Among these was 83-year-old Chan Meng Hui - the oldest participant in the Marathon category.

"Being 83 years old doesn't stop me from participating in the SCMS, in fact this is one of the Marathons that allows me to participate and I am truly grateful," said Mr Chan.

The Padang played host to thousands of participants and spectators throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, with a host of family activities keeping everyone entertained as all runners made their way to the finish point on Saint Andrew's Rd.

"We are thrilled with today's event and the general feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. The weather gods also did us a favour and provided some more comfortable temperatures for runners," said Mr Chris Robb, Managing Director, Spectrum Worldwide.

"After months of planning, it was fantastic to see all the hard work come to fruition and to witness the thousands of smiling faces as they crossed the finish line," Robb added.