SCSM 2018: After the Race is Run

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Now that the dust has settled on the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon run in the early hours of 9th December, who were the winners and what were the duds?

For starters, 24-year-old Joshua Kipkorir and 38-year-old Priscah Cherono, both from Kenya, came out victors in the men’s and women’s elite categories respectively. Both are also first-time competitors of the SCSM.

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Kipkorir crossed the finish line in a time of 02:12:20, the second fastest time in the race’s history. 2016 SCSM champion Felix Kirwa did not have the firepower to catch Kipkorir, and had to settle for second place, a minute behind.

In the women’s race, Cherono defeated her competition with a time of 02:32:12, again setting the second-fastest ever timing for the women’s elite category at SCSM.

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Amongst the locals, SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong proved that the fire was still in his belly as he finished the fastest Singaporean with a time of 02:41:49. The competition had no chance of catching him. The highly experienced Mohamed Iskandar was eight minutes adrift in second place and the fast-rising Giebert Foo, also a veteran of many road races, finished nearly 13 minutes behind Soh in third place.

A surprise from the local women’s field was when Lim Baoying, a veteran endurance racer and runner of more SCSM marathons than most can remember, crossed the line ahead of Team Singapore marathoner Rachel See to finish as the top Singaporean woman. The sports doctor completed the race in an impressive time of 03:16:36, and was visibly overwhelmed with emotions at the finish.

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The SCSM also hosted its inaugural elite Wheelchair Marathon category this year. Kota Hokonuie from Japan and 2016 Paralympic champion Zou Lihong from China took home the top prizes for the men’s and women’s category with a time of 01:13:36 and 01:46:48 respectively.

Zou expressed a desire to return to SCSM. “I really enjoyed the course, the city is very beautiful, and I really hope to return with my teammates to participate in the race next year.”

Ekiden runner Lester Tan, who ran the marathon in relay with his friends, noted that, “This year’s SCSM experienced truly lived up to the hype. Despite the challenging weather conditions, I was heartened to see many participants make valiant attempts to transcend their limits. It was an inspiring sight.”

Cheryl Tay, who leads the ROCKrunners running club, said after the race, “The organisation for this year’s SCSM was definitely a few notches higher than before, with more thought for the participants.”

The magnitude of the race, with participants from 127 countries, and a race course that needed to be reopened to the public as soon as possible, did mean that there were still challenges though. A 4.30AM starting time for the Elite Wheelchair, Marathon, Half Marathon and Ekiden meant that the majority of runners were waiting in their respective starting pens from 2.30AM in the morning.

Any seasoned runner in Singapore will know that while starting in the pre-dawn hours does take some of the heat off, the humidity is still stifling.

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The wave-based start did alleviate congestion in the early part of the route, and the thousands of volunteers at the aid stations did their level best to keep things moving along smoothly.

Two key stretches of road stuck out along this year’s route: the long exposed stretch along the West Coast Highway Viaduct, and for full marathoners, the steep climb up the Benjamin Sheares Bridge from the West end, at the 38km mark.

The West Coast Highway Viaduct was also where the misting tunnels were placed. Designed to help cool down runners along almost nine kilometres of exposed and elevated tarmac, they drew a mixed response.

Many were grateful for any kind of relief, but the majority remarked that the water flow and misting pressure was so weak that they barely felt any relief.

The finish was at the front of the Marina Bay Floating Platform, and in the interests of crowd safety, the organisers had race finishers walk over to the F1 Pit Building, close to a kilometre away, to pick up their finisher entitlements. Needless to say, it did not go down well with the runners that already gave their all to complete 42.195km to have to walk even further after the race.

Summary of Results:

Men Open Elite

  1. Joshua Kipkorir (2:12:20)
  2. Felix Kirwa (2:13:43)
  3. Andrew Kimtai (2:14:30)

Women Open Elite

  1. Priscah Cherono (2:32:12)
  2. Stella Barsosio (2:33:23)
  3. Jane Jelagat (2:35:38)

Men Closed

  1. Soh Rui Yong (2:41:49)
  2. Mohamed Iskandar (2:49:46)
  3. Giebert Foo Xiao Wen (2:54:14)

Women Closed

  1. Lim Baoying (3:16:36)
  2. Rachel See (3:18:36)
  3. Hu Xiuying (3:18:57)

Men Elite Wheelchair

  1. Kota Hokonuie (1:35:36)
  2. Sho Watanabe (1:37:37)
  3. Joshua George (1:37:37)

Women Elite Wheelchair

  1. Zou Lihong (1:46:48)
  2. Madison de Rozario (1:48:36)
  3. Eliza Ault-Connel (1:50:06)

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Exclusive: The Singapore Marathon. A World Marathon Major?

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Ironman Asia has made no secret of the fact that wants to push for the Singapore Marathon to be one of the elite road races in the world. The only way to do so is by joining the six current World Marathon Majors (WMM), and become a possible seventh event. A pipe dream? Perhaps not.

Tim Hadzima, Executive Director of the Abbott World Marathon Majors was seen at this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. He also attended the Mass Participation Asia 2018 Conference held in Singapore the day after. In this exclusive interview, Hadzima lets on that he has been coming down here for the last three years.

“The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a family of the six most renowned marathons around the globe,” explains Hadzima. “Besides the marathons, we also have a new offering around our age group rankings. These feature other races around the world to rank age group runners, to qualify for the World Championships with.”

The World Marathon Majors first came together in 2006, and while the corporate office is headquartered in Chicago, USA, they have an office in every city that holds a WMM race. As of today, these include Tokyo, Boston, New York, Chicago, London and Berlin.

Since 2006, the only new inclusion has been the Tokyo Marathon, which joined the Majors in 2012. Hadzima reveals that it took five years of work to get the Tokyo Marathon integrated with the WMM standards.

“I can reveal that we have a 10-year partnership in place with China’s Wanda Group to potentially add three races to the series. There are long-term plans based on a very strict criteria, and I can say that we are in Singapore to evaluate the options here. We’ve seen plenty of progress in bringing the Singapore Marathon to WMM standards, but there is still some way to go yet. We are working with the guys here by sharing how things like aid stations are set up for a Marathon Major, and I’m glad to say that we are seeing continued progress,” says Hadzima.

He further adds that the World Marathon Majors are seriously looking into growth across Asia and Africa. “These are the places that we yet to have race events in,” he adds. “The real goal is to have events that meet our standards. We start with the criteria that to be a World Marathon Major, you’ve got to meet our standards and then we work upwards from there. China is also a logical place to look into for the future, with the growth of leisure fitness in the country. Africa is another country that we are seriously exploring options in, but like many future plans, these things are constant moving targets.”

RUNSG

RUNSG

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