Athletics: Soh Rui Yong meets SEA Games qualifying mark in marathon debut

It was his first time running a marathon, but that did not stop Singapore runner Soh Rui Yong from clocking the fastest time recorded by a Singaporean since Murugiah Rameshon's national record feat in 1995.

Soh, 23, completed the California International Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2hr 26min 1sec. The timing placed him fifth in the men's 20 to 24 year old category, and 37th overall. Murugiah's national mark stands at 2:24:22.

Soh, the national 10,000m record holder, also met the SEA Games 2015 marathon qualifying mark of 2:30:30, which was the bronze medal timing at last year's SEA Games. Singapore's Mok Ying Ren won the event last year with a time of 2:28:36.

Soh is based in the United States, where he is a Sport Singapore scholarship holder pursuing a business administration degree at the University of Oregon.

Said Soh: "My target was to match the gold medal timing from last year's SEA Games so I'm satisfied with how the run went and my timing, given that it's my first attempt at the marathon. I'm happy to have qualified for the SEA Games. It's been a long season, and now I'm giving myself a well-deserved break until the end of the year."

siangyee@sph.com.sg