Is the Singapore ready to be the new Southeast Asian capital for marathons? FOX Sports Asia speaks to two top runners to see if the Singapore Marathon is worthy to be the next World Marathon Major.
Selling out for the first time in its 35-year history, the 2017 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon saw over 48400 participants from 126 different countries.
Beside the momentous crowds, the IAAF Gold Label Road Race runners were also treated to a new city route on Sunday that included the iconic local landmarks such as Gardens by the Bay, the Esplanade and Chinatown just to name a few.
Staying true to their words, the marathon organisers provided a vibrant atmosphere by transforming the finishing area into a running carnival. Participants and their loved ones enjoyed relaxing massages and refreshments while shopping for fitness products at the Padang.
Nonetheless, the bustling finisher expo did not take any attention from the marathoners.
In the elite runners’ category, Cosmas Kimutai came in tops in the men’s category clocking in at 2hr 22min 48sec. The Kenyan runner, who has ran in the Istanbul and Eindhoven Marathon, also made off with the $50000 cash prize.
While in the Singapore category, national runner Soh Rui Yong took top spot in the men’s category when he clocked in at 2hr 35min 55sec – just falling short of the 1994 national record by 1min 53sec.
The two-time SEA Games gold medallist, who was making his Singapore Marathon debut, was crowned the first men’s national champion with the race doubling up as the official National Championships this year.
We caught up with the two winners and asked them what they thought of their win and the Singapore Marathon.
How do you feel about your win?
Soh Rui Yong: It feels good. My training hasn’t been ideal coming in – I’ve been keeping fit, but I haven’t been really pushing the envelope like I did before the SEA Games. I only decided to run this race a couple of weeks ago, so I came here to see what I can do on limited training and run as fast as I could.
It was definitely a challenging marathon in terms of the weather conditions – it was humid. But it was fun for me to go out there and do my best.
Cosmas Kimutai: The marathon was a little bit hot. It did not affect me because I was well prepared – when I was in Kenya, I was training in the sun.
What was the highlight for you?
SRY: The route is really nice this year – it really showcased the Singapore landscape. I like that we did not run half the race in East Coast (Park), so this marathon was super super fun. Big props to Ironman Asia for changing the course, showcasing cool places such as Arab Street, Chinatown, Little India and Orchard Road.
It was nice to be a part of this big event where there is so many Singaporeans and it is nice to see them leading happier and healthier through sports.
CK: I did not managed to see the sights because I was too focused on the race. But I like the place, but it is very hot; too hot if you ask me.
How does the Singapore Marathon stack up to other international races?
SRY: I would say that Singapore Marathon is on its way to become one of the best races in the world. In term of the course, it is beautiful. The weather will make it challenging to attract some of the faster runners in the world, but city wise, it is beautiful.
CK: Going by my Istanbul Marathon experience, I will say that the only difference is the weather – I was not on fire in Istanbul in 2014.
Do you think that Singapore is ready to become the next World Marathon Major?
SRY: I think nothing is impossible right – I think that Singapore can one day produce runners who will compete on the world stage, so I am sure that we can organise a race on par with everything in the world.
But, we have to be humble and learn from others and fit it into our context to make our race the best in the world.
CK: Yah, it could be. I feel that the course is similar if not better than Berlin (Marathon). The only difficulty I would say is this weather.