Singaporean women runners earn top honours at Osim Sundown Marathon

Sharon Tan (above) topped the women's category of the full marathon.
Sharon Tan (above) topped the women's category of the full marathon. PHOTO: OFFICIAL SUNDOWN MARATHON SINGAPORE / FACEBOOK
Li Wei (above) topped the men's category of the full marathon.
Li Wei (above) topped the men's category of the full marathon. PHOTO: OFFICIAL SUNDOWN MARATHON SINGAPORE / FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Local female runners took the top honours at the Osim Sundown Marathon, which was held over the night and concluded on Sunday morning at the F1 Pit Building in Marina Bay.

Secondary school teacher Sharon Tan was the surprise winner of the full 42km marathon, finishing in 3hr 35min 45sec, while SEA Games marathoner Rachel See clocked 1:31:14 to win the half-marathon race.

Positions and prizes aside - Tan did not even know what were the prizes she had won, and she was most pleased that she could beat her personal best by about one hour.

The 27-year-old, who started running in 2008, said she drew inspiration from Singapore's Olympic-bound marathoner Neo Jie Shi, who unexpectedly qualified for the Olympic Games.

She said: "I guess I was quite a complacent runner until late last year, when I was inspired by how Neo Jie Shi could run so fast and make it to the Olympics. It's inspiring for people like us - who are not so bad runners but also not the elite type of runners."

To improve her timings this year, Tan joined a running club in January which taught her the importance of speed and strength trainings.

She said: "The interval trainings and the need to push my aerobic and speed capability helped.

"And also my newfound faith (as a Christian). I kept telling and repeating to myself that it is God who strengthens me to do this."

See, 33, was also surprised to win the 21.1km event, as Mok Ying Rong, who had just set a national best time last month, had started strongly and took the lead for about half of the race. But Mok did not complete the race, gifting See the top spot.

See said: "I wasn't feeling too good for the first 10km. I think I ate too full and a lack of sleep, which made me feel like throwing up.

"I thought that since it's a night race, it's a difficult race, I'd just go at a relaxed pace and don't push myself so hard."

This year's event saw 27,600 people across five categories sacrificing their sleep for the run.

In the men's category, lone Kenyan runner Noah Kutung Chepsergon capitalized on the lack of competition and easily strode to victory in the men's half marathon in 1:17:20, while Chinese runner Li Wei crossed the finish line first in the full marathon in 2:37:37.