It’s not too often we hear of running events with a history spanning over three decades. In Singapore’s case, probably not. If we look back over the past five years, the numerous additions to the island’s annual race calendar has definitely been most heart-warming amongst runners with favourites such as the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore and Sundown Marathon still in the strobe as highly anticipated staples. Regardless, RunSociety pays homage to the underrated – in our opinion at least – yet very deserving MR25 Elite 10K Race.
In true competitive spirit, we’ve come to realise that races have all but become commercial novelties. Strikingly, the ‘focus’ has deviated to ‘goodie bags’, ‘FINISHER tees’ and other tangibles rather than the race itself. Sad but true no matter how we choose to deny it. Think: Would you splurge 70 bucks on a marathon if all they gave you was a number bib and time chip? Hold that thought.
With just over a hundred sign-ups, the MR25 Elite 10K is a modest race by relative standards. But we wouldn’t discredit it just yet. Not for its 30-year history – having been around since the inception of the MR25 (Singapore) running club; and surely not for the fact that there were strict cut-off times put in place to select MR25’s elite running team – 42.5 minutes (Men’s Open), 44 minutes (Men’s Veteran), and 49 minutes (Ladies’ Open/Veteran).
“Our races are targeted at the runners with the aim to have a good run and good competition and are not about the goody bags or the number of entrants,” shares Mark Dyson, President, MR25 (Singapore). “The primary purpose of this race is to select the elite runners for our running team which we use for competitions. And additionally, we just want to create a fast race in Singapore that’s for real runners rather than just for joggers. In many races, the actual good runners can’t start at the beginning because you have joggers and walkers at the start line blocking your way. That’s why we deliberately keep the number of runners limited here so that everyone can have a free run and just run.”
Elijah Kipruto, 27, who clinched pole position in the Men’s Open category made headlines exactly a week ago during our coverage of the Newton Challenge (see the article, Newton Challenge 2011: ‘Welfare’ Race of the Year). He was the guy who had to be helped off the road by two paramedics. The Kenyan Professional Athlete is here in Singapore to train in a lead-up to the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. He’s an English teacher by training, having earned a scholarship to study in Uganda during his high school days.
“First time running. I’m from Kenya, Africa. I came for running in Singapore, purposely to run marathon. I’m preparing for the Standard Chartered Marathon in December. I arrived in Singapore a month ago. I’ve ran Singapore Half Marathon. I ran the last 30-kilometre race, Newton Run.” says Kipruto.
When asked about the Newton Challenge, he commented “Yar I had some stomach problem. I led all the way. I was the first but on the last lap, I developed problems so I couldn’t make it to the end. For now I’m okay, I’m healthy.”
Just so you know the calibre of the race with athletes like Kipruto taking part.
RunSociety also stumbled upon a special someone whose effervescent personality at the FINISH line was no less infectious even to us (bystanders). When approached, we learned she’s been an avid runner since 1992, heeding advice from her doctors to pick up endurance sport in order to put an end to the colds that continually haunted her. She’s back after a two-year hiatus, having just recovered from a Plantar Fasciitis injury. Her name is Jet Jon Shepherd, a 56-year old Resident Relations Manager. Shepherd came in second in the Ladies’ Veteran category.
“To be very honest, all my best times were done after a big major injury. I broke my fibula bone in 2003 and 2004 was the year I had all my PBs (personal bests). My PB for 10 kilometres is 41min 25sec. My marathon PB, 3hrs 21min 13sec,” says Shepherd, when asked about her running achievements. “In terms of my age group when I do overseas races, I’m about the sixth in my age group like the New York Marathon. I’ve done the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon, the Boston Marathon, so my only last one is Chicago.”
RunSociety wishes Kipruto and Shepherd all the best in their future running endeavours.
Signing off, we certainly hope we’ve instilled a sense of awareness that the MR25 Elite 10K Race has got the substance to be reckoned with. Still not convinced? The average finisher time was 52 min 32 sec across all categories. If you’re true to the gait, you might wish to consider jumping on next year or perhaps, the upcoming 5-kilometre MR25 time trial. Also, there’s the year-end MR25 Ultra Marathon 2011 happening on 18 December!
- Elijah Kipruto Mitei – 38min 30sec
- Devathas – 40min 23sec
- Alvin Sia – 42min 54sec
- Melissa Keong – 48min 10sec
- Michelle Zhang – 49min 45sec
- Nena Frtiz – 50min 33sec
MEN’S VETERAN (>40 YEARS)
- Stuart McLay – 38min 57sec
- Yuji Mihori – 46min 11sec
- Mark Forgeron – 46min 43sec
WOMEN’S VETERAN (>35 YEARS)
- Roda Mariano Ramos – 49min 50sec
- Jet Jon Shepherd – 50min 56sec
- Sara Tristan Lee – 53min 37sec