4 Kenyans win big in debut ST Run

The top three male runners in the ST Run's signature 18.45km race are (from left) Kenyan James Karanga, the winner; Singaporean Mok Ying Ren, who took third place; and Nepali Nimesh Gurung, who was second.
The top three male runners in the ST Run's signature 18.45km race are (from left) Kenyan James Karanga, the winner; Singaporean Mok Ying Ren, who took third place; and Nepali Nimesh Gurung, who was second.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Kenya once again made its presence felt at this year's Straits Times Run, with all four runners from the East African country finishing on the podium in their respective races yesterday.

James Karanga and Jeminah Wayua emerged top in the men's and women's category of the 18.45km race. This is the third straight year Kenyan runners have won the signature event, which was started in 2015 and named after the year the newspaper was founded.

Karanga, 26, clocked 1hr 3min 54sec and was first across the finish line in front of the National Gallery Singapore at the Padang, with the Republic's cityscape serving as a stunning backdrop even as dawn was still breaking.

Nepal's Nimesh Gurung, 23, was second at 1:04.09, with Singapore's two-time SEA Games gold medallist Mok Ying Ren third at 1:04.15.

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Karanga, who arrived in Asia for the first time in May and is now based in Thailand, said he was using the race as part of his acclimatisation process. He added: "I just wanted to test my speed and endurance because I am still trying to see how conditioned my body is in this new climate."

Mok, a 29-year-old orthopaedic surgical resident at the National University Hospital, was pleased with his effort and "that the race went the way it did".

He said: "I had been largely focused on preparing for the SEA Games. It was an honest effort today, and I enjoyed racing among some of the very best."

 
 
 
 

Wayua, 30, won the women's race in 1:13.24, ahead of 32-year-old compatriot Naomi Wambui (1:13.56) and Singapore's SEA Games-bound Rachel See (1:18.32)

Both winners of the 18.45km race received a Panasonic TV worth $2,999 and $300 worth of New Balance vouchers.

Wayua is based in Hat Yai, south Thailand, but is looking forward to installing the new TV back at her home in Nairobi.

She said: "I felt like I ran quite slowly today because I just took part in another run yesterday."

Her countryman James Maregu, 32, won the men's 10km event in 33.17. All four Kenyans were making their ST Run debuts.

Belgium's Vanja Cnops won the 10km women's race in 38.09.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline '4 Kenyans win big in debut ST Run'. Print Edition | Subscribe