King Kirwa stretches Kenya's dominance to 15 years
SCMS debutant wins men's title to stretch Kenya's dominance to 15 years
For the 15th year running, a Kenyan took home the men's title at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).
In a sprint finish at the Padang yesterday, SCMS debutant Felix Kiptoo Kirwa breasted the tape in 2hr 17min 17 seconds, to bag the $50,000 prize money.
The 23-year-old was closely followed by his countrymen.
Finishing just three seconds behind was Paul Kios Kangogo.
In third place was David Kipkorir Rutoh, who trailed by a further 12 seconds.
Kenneth Mburu Mungara, who had the chance to become the first male runner to win the SCMS thrice after previous triumphs in 2010 and 2014, finished fourth in 2:18:38.
Kirwa, whose personal best of 2:14:42 was clocked in March last year, said he grew in confidence towards the end of the race, despite the close finish.
"I was not expecting to complete the run in this timing as it is very hot and humid in Singapore," he said.
“I was not expecting to complete the run in this timing as it is very hot...”Felix Kiptoo Kirwa, on his winning time of 2:17:17
"Last year, (the winner) finished in two hours and 17 minutes, and I was not sure I could do the same.
"We have so many runners here and they are very competitive.
"When I reached the 40km mark, that was when I realised I (could win) the race."
Kenyan runners also dominated the women's category, with Rebecca Kangogo Chesir taking the title in 2:43:03.
Her compatriots Viola Jelagat (2:44:28) and Peninah Jerop Arusei (2:44:53) finished second and third, respectively.
National marathoner Mok Ying Ren was the quickest local runner, finishing the marathon in 2:41:05 to claim his seventh win.
It was also the 28-year-old doctor's fourth title in a row.
This year's SCMS saw 46,000 participants taking part across five different categories - the Kids' Dash, Ekiden, 10km, half and full marathon.
For the first time, the half and full marathons flagged off in waved starts at 4.30am, under the Christmas lights in Orchard Road.
These runners were later joined by participants of the 10km race, which started at 6.45am at Esplanade Drive. All races finished at the Padang.
This year's SCMS was organised by Ironman Asia for the first time, and they were lauded for the smooth handling of the event.
Geoff Meyer, managing director of Ironman Asia, said: "I'm pleased with the turnout and success of the event this year. The event is one that has been largely popular among the local and regional community and the numbers certainly showed.
"This is our first time at the helm of the SCMS and, while we are happy with the outcome, we will strive to make it even bigger and better, and work towards our goal of making SCMS a leading marathon globally."
The event, though, was marred by the death of a 29-year-old overseas participant who collapsed near the end of the half-marathon.
The Straits Times Online reported that the man is believed to be Mr John Gibson, a Briton living in Hong Kong.