SINGAPORE - With the dazzling city skyline as his backdrop, Joshua Kipkorir of Kenya stormed home to successfully defend his Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) title on Saturday (Nov 30) night, in the first evening edition of the annual running event.
The 25-year-old breasted the tape at The Float @ Marina Bay in 2hr 19min 13sec, ahead of Munyo Solomon Mutai of Uganda (2:19:46) and Benson Seurei of Bahrain (2:20:25).
Fellow Kenyan Priscah Cherono also retained her title in the women's race, winning in 2:28:53 to set a new SCSM record - the previous mark was 2:31:55 set by her compatriot Salina Kosgei in 2006.
Another Kenyan, Stella Jepng'Etich Barsosio, was second in 2:30:18 while Alemnesh Guta of Australia (2:37:03) rounded off the podium places.
Both Kipkorir and Cherono won US$50,000 (S$68,390) in prize money and ensured Kenya's dominance at the SCSM for a fifth straight year.
The 42km race attracted over 15,000 participants with the overall event - which includes a kids' dash, and distances of 21km, 10km, 5km as well as a wheelchair category - seeing over 50,000 entrants.
Unlike the previous editions when the marathon began before dawn - last year's start time was 4.30am - this year's 42.195km marathon flagged off at 6.05pm at the F1 Pit Building.
The switch is part of the effort to fulfil various criteria in the organisers' bid to get the SCSM listed among the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM), a series of the most prestigious marathons in the world.
None of the six WMM races - Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo - are held at night.
This year's course took runners from the F1 Pit Building through the Central Business District to places such as West Coast Highway, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands, before ending at The Float.
Meanwhile, national record holder Soh Rui Yong was the top local male finisher for the third year in a row, crossing the finish line in 2:45:52. He earned $10,000 for his efforts.
Sharon Tan celebrated a first title as the fastest Singapore woman, finishing in 3:12:49.