In the twilight hours of Sunday morning, 53,000 runners made their way to their respective starting points, while most of us were still in bed.
It might sound crazy to some but this could possibly be the best way to end the year. Post-race adrenaline and the sense of achievement wrap up the year nicely while the endurance workout gives runners an extra reason to savour the Christmas ham.
At 5.00am, the 53,000 runners started off their races in the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore across various categories of Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km and Kids Dash. Featuring three different routes, runners took in the sights of Singapore’s iconic landmarks, including Orchard Road, Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa, Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay.
Supporters and entertainment acts lined the route and Padang was decked out in festive trimmings. Supporters were treated to an exciting close finish where Kenyan Kiproo Lilan Kennedy, 25, emerged as winner of the Men’s Open category with a time of 2:17:20. The course record holder, Luke Kibet, was only a mere 5 seconds behind.
Fellow Kenyan Irene Jerotich Kosgei won the Women’s Open with a time of 2:37:53, becoming the first woman to win the category for three consecutive years.
Kennedy, who had a great year in racing with three wins, was quietly confident of his chance in Singapore. He said,
“My time here is a little slow but I’m very happy to have won this race. I will definitely want to come back next year and defend my title.”
Kosgei commented on the strong competitive field and how they pushed each other as a group till the 38km mark. She also added that Singapore feels like her home, she likes the weather and she will want to be back next year.
In the local Men’s category, Ashley Liew, 25, clocked 2:45:06 and took the crown from perennial favourite, Mok Ying Ren, who came in third.
Liew said he dug very deep because this was a very important race to him. Although he struggled a bit at the end, and had flashbacks of bad races, he reminded himself “to stay focused and stay in the present moment.”
32 year old, Anne Qi Hui claimed her fourth consecutive crown of the Local Women’s Category with a time of 3:17:06.
“Today was the perfect day for me, the weather treated me well and I really enjoyed the race,” said Anne.
She also stated that she would certainly be back to try to achieve a sub 3-hour timing.
Acting Minister for the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong, flagged off the start of the Full Marathon category. He highlighted the constant improvement of the event, as it has become more of an experience than just a race with more volunteers, families and sports.
To some, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore is like an annual ritual. Like Mr Lawrence Ang, 48, who has run in this event for the last nine years. For him, it marks not just the end of the year but also the beginning of the festive season.
In the next weeks, we will definitely see runners strut the streets proudly in their finisher tees and they have every right to do so. Just like how they should celebrate the festive season without worrying about training for a while.