SINGAPORE - Reigning SEA Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong announced on Monday (Nov 13) that he will run in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) for the first time next month as he bids to become the Republic's national champion in the marathon.
The SCSM is doubling up as the official National Championships race this year, following a tie-up between Singapore Athletics (SA) and race organisers Ironman Asia in July.
Soh's decision was influenced by SA president Ho Mun Cheong, who wrote to him after the SEA Games asking if the 26-year-old would support the National Championships.
"Ho said it would greatly help the association and fraternity market the sport if the SEA Games champion is in the national championship," said Soh, who retained his SEA Games title in August with a time of 2hr 29min 3sec.
"He has been supportive of my push to win gold this year and I wish to support him in return."
Soh's entry ensures that there will still be a marquee local name in the elite men's open category, as rival and fellow SEA Games champion Mok Ying Ren is set to give this year's edition a miss.
Mok, who has been the fastest Singaporean at the SCSM seven times, is busy with year-end wedding preparations.
Few would bet against Soh taking top honours on December 3, as his personal best of 2:24:55 is faster by some way than those of other local contenders like Ashley Liew (2:32:12) or Evan Chee (2:42:18).
For the SCSM, Soh is targeting a sub 2:34:00 finish, something no Singaporean has accomplished on home ground before.
"It won't be easy as I have zero experience with StanChart, while others have done this race every year," he said.
"But it's fine - I'll just focus on the process of getting fit, running a good race and the result should take care of itself."
Registration for the SCSM is still open at https://singaporemarathon.com