SINGAPORE - A year ago, Kenyan Hillary Kipkering had high hopes of capturing his first Osim Sundown Marathon in Singapore, but a thigh injury forced him to drop out at the 27km mark.
On Saturday (June 1), he returned and delivered, claiming the top spot on the podium with his time of 2hr 49min 33sec.
He was followed by Lee Wai Kin, who came in at 3:03:55 and Qu Jinchao (3:04:45).
Said Kipkering, 45: "Last year, I had come from another marathon in Indonesia and I injured my thigh muscle there so I stopped at the 27km (mark). It's very nice that I managed to finish first today, I was confident.
"The race was very good. It was humid, but the course was very nice. The only issue was that there was congestion near the end but, besides that, everything else was very good."
In the women's category, Singapore's Sharon Tan finished first in 3:23:16. She was followed by Jade Chow (3:29:01) and Naum Jepkosgei (3:29:01).
Tan, 30, a civil servant, who won this race in 2016, said: "It was a good run, the weather was cool and the course was clear and not as congested as expected since the half-marathoners started with us.
"Only at around the 5km mark did it start getting congested and I accidentally bumped into another runner and spilt water on her. She didn't look very happy about that and I feel very bad about it."
On her victory, she added: "I came in with no expectations and I just wanted to run my best.
"Along the way, I saw another female runner near me, but I just kept going at my pace and I managed to overtake her.
"My goal for this marathon was to beat my personal best of 3hr 30min so I'm happy that I did, even though this is not a certified course."
Organisers for the Sundown Marathon took to Facebook on Sunday afternoon to "apologise for the inconvenience caused" by issues encountered by some runners.
"There was a delay to the flag-off for the 21.1km half-marathon and 42.195km full marathon," wrote the post.
"The delay was due to an unforeseen obstruction on route which had to be cleared to ensure the safety of the runners.
"The race was flagged off once the route was cleared and additional post-race shuttle services were provided to cater to the delay."
The organisers also explained that there was a lack of water supplies at three hydration stations "due to some logistical issues of the deployment of the water".
Meanwhile, the 21km men's title was won by the Republic's top long-distance runner Soh Rui Yong (1:11:47) while the women's crown went to Maki Inami (1:22:19).
Soh edged out Kiptanui Rodgers (1:12:30) and Matthew Smith (1:18:51).
Mok Ying Rong (1:24:32) and Rachel See (1:31:39) were second and third respectively in the women's race.
Said Soh: "I'm pretty happy with the race. My objective for this was to run my marathon pace but as chill as possible because this is not a key race for me.
"Then a Kenyan showed up so I ended up having a through-and-through race with him for about 16km to 18km.
"I had to make a push in the last 3km so that I could get away from him and I finished about 40 seconds ahead from him."
Both 42km champions walked away with a $500 cash prize, an Osim uStiletto Sporty Leg Massager ($599), Sony WF-SP700N Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sports ($299) and a Compressport Calf Sleeve ($79).
The 12th edition of the Sundown Marathon saw over 25,000 race-goers across four categories (5km, 10km, half-marathon and full marathon) spending Saturday evening and the wee hours of Sunday pounding the roads in the Central Business District. All races were flagged off at the F1 Pit Building and finished near the Singapore Flyer.
Runners in the 10km, half- marathon and full marathon ran past iconic sights such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens By The Bay, Marina Barrage and the National Stadium.
Football fans were also treated to a screening of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham at the runners' village with Marvel movies and sunset yoga sessions also helping to keep runners and their supporters relaxed and entertained throughout the night.