Athletics: First time's a charm for Great Eastern Women's Run

Left: Mother-and-daughter pairs leaving the starting point during the new Mummy + Me 2km category at the Great Eastern Women's Run. Below: Jin Mingming raising her arms as she crosses the finish line for the half marathon in first place. The professi
Mother-and-daughter pairs leaving the starting point during the new Mummy + Me 2km category at the Great Eastern Women's Run.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
Left: Mother-and-daughter pairs leaving the starting point during the new Mummy + Me 2km category at the Great Eastern Women's Run. Below: Jin Mingming raising her arms as she crosses the finish line for the half marathon in first place. The professi
Jin Mingming raising her arms as she crosses the finish line for the half marathon in first place. The professional runner was participating in her first race outside her native China.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

Chinese runner Jin achieves goal of emerging victorious in maiden overseas 21.1km race

Jin Mingming has been a professional runner for about eight years and participates in 10 to 15 races each year. But yesterday's Great Eastern Women's Run (GEWR) was her first time competing outside her native China.

The 21-year-old completed her first international race in style, winning the elite open category of the half marathon in 1hr 20min 34sec.

Jin, who raised her arms in triumph as she crossed the finish line at the Marina Bay Floating Platform yesterday, had come to Singapore aiming to win the race.

Although she was not used to the humidity here yesterday as it is winter in China, she coped by keeping herself hydrated to replenish lost fluids.

Said Jin, who received US$8,000 (S$10,886) in prize money: "I feel pretty good and this is a very well-organised race. There are a few sharp turns so I had to decrease my speed as I approached my turns. That took up a fair bit of my energy.

"I would like to spend the next two days sightseeing in Singapore... I will probably use some of my prize money to buy more training products for myself."

About 13,000 runners took part in the 12th edition of the event, which featured a 2km race for mothers and their daughters in addition to the 5km, 10km and 21.1km categories.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was the event's guest of honour, and she flagged off the 10km race before participating in that category.

Mok Ying Rong was the top finisher in the 21.1km elite closed category race for Singaporeans, clocking 1:30:46.

The elite open category attracted a field that included SEA Games champion Mary Joy Tabal, who was fifth with her 1:30:06 effort.

The Filipina said the event is one that she looks forward to each year, but rued getting lost midway through the race yesterday.

According to her, a man whom she thought was a race marshal had pointed out that she was going the wrong way. It was only after she followed him and started running in a different direction that she realised she was lost.

"I know getting lost is sometimes part of the race for us, but the longer you're lost, the harder it is to catch up," said the 28-year-old, who said four other elite runners had the same experience.

Still, Tabal said her overall experience was positive.

"It's a privilege for me to be competing against elite runners in Asia, and nice to see familiar faces and good friends here," she added.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Randy Tan, general manager of event organiser Infinitus Productions, said: "We are aware of the feedback from one of the runners, Mary Joy Tabal, about being led the wrong way on the race route.

"While no official complaint was lodged with the race officials, we conducted an investigation and can confirm she wasn't led off course by our officials. We have spoken to her and addressed her feedback."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline 'First time's a charm at GE Women's Run'. Print Edition | Subscribe