A mix of the old and the new graced the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore yesterday morning.
Once again, runners from Africa bagged the top spots in the elite categories for the 42.195km race with Julius Maisei winning the men's title in 2hr 17min 26sec while fellow Kenyan Doris Changeywo took the women's crown in 2:44:26.
Both led a Kenyan sweep of the podium in their categories with Chelimo Kipkemoi (2:17:32) and Barnaba Kibii (2:17:38) following Maisei home. Peninah Arusei (2:44:41) and Sharon Cherop (2:44:53) were second and third in the women's field.
Said Maisei, a first-time winner of the Singapore event: "The race was very humid and I was not expecting to win. The No. 2 (Kipkemoi) almost caught me as I was getting tired towards the finish line but I was able to push on."
STANDARD CHARTERED MARATHON SINGAPORE 2015
1 Julius Maisei
2hr 17min 26sec
2 Chelimo Kipkemoi 2:17:32
3 Barnaba Kibii 2:17:38
1 Doris Changeywo 2:44:26
2 Peninah Arusei 2:44:41
3 Sharon Cherop 2:44:53
1 Mok Ying Ren 2:43:06
2 Fang Jianyong 2:51:49
3 Evan Chee 2:56:51
1 Neo Jie Shi 3:15:06
2 Mok Ying Rong 3:15:38
3 Rachel See 3:19:19
1 William Chebor 1:05:06
2 George Njoroge 1:06:05
3 Hosea Kogei 1:08:20
1 Peninah Kigen 1:21:43
2 Esther Karimi 1:23:16
3 Isabellah Kigen 1:27:31
1 Paul Kiragu 00:30:51
2 Charles Njoki 00:30:54
3 James Maregu 00:31:06
1 Tarus Jepkechei 00:34:13
2 Cheptoeck Careen 00:35:19
3 Monica Ndiritu 00:36:06
Kenyans unless stated
Changeywo, a 10,000m and cross-country specialist running in her maiden marathon, also had difficulties battling the punishing heat and humidity.
"The weather was terrible for me. This is also a new race for me so I was not even thinking that I could win. I was hoping maybe if I could be No. 3, it would be okay because it is my first time, but I am very happy to be the winner," she said.
However, there was less joy for pre-race favourites Evans Cheruiyot of Kenya as well as Volha Mazuronok of Belarus and Olena Burkovska of Ukraine.
All three failed to finish.
Race organisers said records showed Cheruiyot and Mazuronok stopped at the 25km mark while Burkovska ran for only 10km. They were unable to provide details on why the trio had called it quits.
Mok Ying Ren once again topped the local men's field, his sixth win in the event.
The doctor, who was returning from a freak eye injury suffered while training in the United States in October, clocked 2:43:06.
While the time is far better than the 2:53:42 he clocked last year, also returning from an injury, it is still some way from his personal best of 2:26:30 which he set in 2013.
He said: "This year, I wanted to run comfortably. I think I'm in really good shape and just need to get in consistent work and try not to get injured. I'll be trying for the Olympic Games probably in March."
The 27-year-old, who endured a month's disruption to his training after suffering a torn retina, added: "These six months of training overseas have made me realise that running is just about consistency.
"There's really no secret to it."
There was a new face on top of the local women's field, with Neo Jie Shi romping home in 3:15:06, ahead of Mok's sister Ying Rong, who came in at 3:15:38.
Said Neo, who was 10th in the overall women's category: "My target was about 3:15 and this was my local PB so I'm very happy with my timing today.
"The win was really a bonus."
The 14-year-old race, which attracted nearly 50,000 participants, also featured other kinds of achievements as well.
Singaporean Ranjith Vijayan, 39, successfully completed a Guinness World Record attempt for solving the most Rubik's cubes during a full marathon, coming in just under the time limit of five hours.
The computer programmer solved 200 3x3 cubes and clocked in at 4:55:59.
His world record attempt will be submitted to Guinness World Records for official verification.
The father of two said: "The cubing part was not challenging, it's muscle memory. But the heat made the last five 5km really tough for me as a runner."
One new feature was Friday's surprise announcement by Singapore Athletics (SA), which governs the sport in the Republic and sanctions the event, to introduce mandatory dope tests for all top-10 placers in the elite categories.
SA president Tang Weng Fei said the testing went smoothly and will be repeated at next year's race. Results are expected later this week.
"I spoke to some of the agents for the elite athletes and they think it's a good idea. The message is clear - we have a zero-tolerance policy."