Athletics: Participants laud new race category at Sundown Marathon

10km race participants at the F1 Pit Building for the OSIM Sundown Marathon.
10km race participants at the F1 Pit Building for the OSIM Sundown Marathon. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Briton Stuart Haynes, 39, celebrating his victory in the men's 42km division at the Osim Sundown Marathon.
Briton Stuart Haynes, 39, celebrating his victory in the men's 42km division at the Osim Sundown Marathon.ST PHOTO: JEREMY LIM
Participants of the 5km fun run with scenic landmarks and a fireworks display to contend with during the OSIM Sundown marathon.
Participants of the 5km fun run with scenic landmarks and a fireworks display to contend with during the OSIM Sundown marathon.PHOTO: OSIM SUNDOWN MARATHON
Participants starting their run at the flag off of the half marathon at the OSIM Sundown marathon.
Participants starting their run at the flag off of the half marathon at the OSIM Sundown marathon.PHOTO: OSIM SUNDOWN MARATHON
Young participants at the pen prior to flag off for the 5km fun run, which took place for the first time at this year's Sundown marathon, at the F1 Pit Building.
Young participants at the pen prior to flag off for the 5km fun run, which took place for the first time at this year's Sundown marathon, at the F1 Pit Building.PHOTO: OSIM SUNDOWN MARATHON
SEA Games athlete Rachel See, who was second in the women's half-marathon in the OSIM Sundown marathon.
SEA Games athlete Rachel See, who was second in the women's half-marathon in the OSIM Sundown marathon.PHOTO: OSIM SUNDOWN MARATHON
Ms Sakiko Matsumoto, 28, after finishing first in the women's division of the 42.195km marathon at the OSIM Sundown marathon.
Ms Sakiko Matsumoto, 28, after finishing first in the women's division of the 42.195km marathon at the OSIM Sundown marathon.PHOTO: OSIM SUNDOWN MARATHON

SINGAPORE - Race participants applauded the organisers' decision to add a new race category, up from the usual three race categories - 10km, Half Marathon (21.1km) and Full Marathon (42.195km) - at the OSIM Sundown Marathon this year.

The 5km fun run, introduced for children between six and 12 years old, proved to be a hit among parents. A total of 3,000 runners took part in the new race category, which kicked off the first race of the night.

Elizabeth Wu, 34 who was with her son Benjamin, said: "Soaking up the atmosphere especially along the Singapore River was really, really nice.

"However, I feel that they could lower the age limit for the fun run participants since it is non-competitive and it seemed really enjoyable for the participating children."

The young runners were also given a treat to the fireworks display from the National Day Parade rehearsal held at The Padang.

Benjamin, six, said: "I really like the fireworks. The 5km run was tiring but I liked it."

Elisa Leena Rajwani, 18, who took part in the 5km fun run for adults (17 years old and above) noted the organisers' extra effort in providing finishers' medals for the fun run category: "I participated in the Singapore Skechers Electric Run, which was a similar fun run and was not given a medal so I was pretty surprised to be given a finisher's medal at the end."

The race took them past scenic landmarks like the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By The Bay and The Float@Marina Bay.

In total, up to 26,000 runners took part over the two days, with the marathon attracting nearly 7,000.

Among the runners were familiar faces like Rachel See, Colin Tung and Ravin Kumar, all whom participated at the recent SEA Games.

See, who was second in the women's half-marathon said: "I wanted to keep my momentum going, and today's result was not satisfactory but I will be running in a few short local races to keep myself fit. This year's edition was quite organised with well-lit routes and water points considering how it rained last year and it was a bit messy."

Briton Stuart Haynes recovered his form after an injury-ridden run in 2014 to win the marathon in 2hr 41min 34sec.

Haynes, who has been based in Singapore for the past six years said: "I had a couple of injuries from on my ankles, hamstring, tendonitis and I almost pulled out today. But I felt great during the run and even bettered my previous timing of 2:45 in 2013. I looked around and I did not spot any Kenyans or familiar faces, I thought I stood a chance and left the pack at around the 2km mark and was alone till the end."

Ullas Narayana and Thomas Greene came in second and third respectively in 2:53:54 and 2:57:24.

Ang Chee Yong, 26, was the fastest Singaporean finisher in the marathon, finishing the race in fourth place (3:03:24). He said: "This is my first long-distance race this year after spending 2014 recovering from injuries. My training was revamped, with lower mileage and increased intensity and today's race allowed me to know my weakness and calibrate my training."

However, Ang was not fully satisfied with the race route, saying: "The race was a bit confusing and there were a lot of turns so the route could be more conducive for racing. But given the constraints, it was enough for me."

In the women's division, Kenyans Viola Jepchirchir Kimeli, 28, and Susan Jemutai Chepkwony, 33, came in second and third place respectively in 3:17:48 and 3:24:03 behind Matsumoto Sakiko, 28, (3:07:29)

Said the Japanese of her first Sundown marathon: " I did not expect to win after seeing that the Kenyan runners were in the same race with me. Singapore is very hot and the Kenyans were running at the same speed with me for the first 30km, but I did not give up and am very happy to be a champion."