The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore is definitely the biggest running event of the year, with plenty of big smiles, high-spirited volunteers and pleasant weather. Over fifty thousand participants trained weeks and months for this day!

The full marathon route saw runners starting off at Orchard Road, winding past various landmarks such as the Istana, Fort Canning Park before looping past East Coast Park and Marina Barrage to the finish line.

83-year-old Chan Meng Hui was amongst the marathoners today. Mr. Chan also has the distinction of being 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 half marathon began at the Sentosa Bridge, heading into Universal Studios Singapore. Many couples were seen taking a nice romantic jog through the theme park, before setting off for a scenic run along East Coast Parkway, and joining the other runners for the final stretch along Esplanade Drive.

Races ended the same way last year, with the 42k, 21km and 10km finish lines at the Padang, where triumphant finishers were ushered to receive their well-deserved celebratory medals, refreshments, and snacks.

Volunteers were also out in full force, giving high-fives, and enthusiastically cheering runners on. The volunteers who were stationed at the water points frantically refilled drinks for runners to hydrate themselves with, and the race would never have run as smoothly without all of their hard work.

An overcast sky around 9am meant the sun was mercifully in hiding today and the clouds provided a great cooling breeze (if you didn’t mind the slight drizzle).

The pleasant weather meant that the elite runners were out in full force, and their results were very impressive indeed.

With a timing of 2 hours 14 minutes 59 seconds, 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 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, and third placed Mike Mutai, who came in at 2 hours 15 minutes and 40 seconds.

Sharon Cherop, with a timing of 2 hours, 41 minutes, 11 seconds and 4 milliseconds, topped the Women’s Open Category with a split second victory over Ethiopia’s Debre Godana, who clocked in at 2 hours 41 minutes 11 seconds and 71 milliseconds. Prokopeva Alina from Russia finished in third place with a timing of 2 hours 41 minutes and 15 seconds.

The winners in both the Men’s and Women’s Open Categories each received US$50000 in prize money.

Local elite athlete Mok Ying Ren claimed the top spot in the Singapore Men’s Category with a time of 2 minutes 54 minutes 17 seconds. But there was some confusion regarding the results for Singapore’s top runners as Alex Ong, who raced in the local leading men’s pack and crossed the line behind Mok, was told by race officials that he was disqualified from the race. The second spot went to Soon Suan Boon instead, at a timing of 2 hours 57 minutes 53 seconds, and Gordon Lim claimed the third spot, with 2 hours, 58 minutes and 7 seconds.

Following this, the event organisers have released a statement identifying a technical issue and are currently investigating the matter with the timing provider, with a commitment to resolve the issue.

Qi Hui won the Singapore Women’s Category with a time of 3 hours 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Mok Ying Ren’s sister, Mok Ying Rong, finished second place with 3 hours 19 minutes and 12 seconds, while Rachel See came in third with 3 hours 28 minutes 29 seconds on the clock.

Mok, who donated 25% 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.”

The fun didn’t stop at the finish line however. The ending area around the Padang was absolutely jam-packed with runners all celebrating the biggest marathon event of 2013. Lovebells rang in the air as I witnessed a touching wedding proposal from a man to his girlfriend, still fresh after crossing the finish line. To everyone’s cheers and delight, the happy lady said yes!

Another issue that arose was the baggage collection for runners. Race finishers had to walk from the Padang to collect their belongings at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay. It is understandable that the Floating Platform was the closest available location large enough to accommodate the volume of baggage, but many runners hope for an improved method of bag collection in the future. There were also timing problems, with some participants reporting that they were disqualified, even though they ran through the entire course.

But through the sweat, smiles and slightly muddy shoes, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014 to resolve its issues and be even bigger and better next year.

Jonathan Chou

Jonathan was a stereotypical couch potato a few years ago. He finally took the courage to take his health into his own hands, and now enjoys lengthy runs by East Coast Park.

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