Twice this year, Nick Impey went head to head with training partner Soh Rui Yong in a race - and lost.
But that changed at The Straits Times Run yesterday, with the 37-year-old Briton winning the men's 18.45km title in 1hr 2min 22sec. The 28-year-old Singaporean was second in 1:02:43.
Japan's Maki Inami won the women's 18.45km in 1:11:55 for her second straight ST Run title.
Impey, who won the 21.1km race at last year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, said his race strategy was to "try to keep up with Rui Yong, first of all".
He added: "I just tried to stay strong (so that) at the end, I would maybe have a bit more energy to go faster. We were side by side the whole way and, just at the end, we started to fight it out and I managed to pip him at the end.
"It's always pleasing to win, we had a great run together and it was a very enjoyable race."
On what pushed him to overtake Soh, a two-time SEA Games marathon champion, at the last stretch, Impey said with a grin: "I needed the TV, that was my No. 1 goal."
The men's and women's winners of the 18.45km race each got a Panasonic 65-inch Ultra-HD 4K Pro HDR TV worth $3,399 and New Balance vouchers valued at $300.
Soh and Impey started training together in April and have been working out twice a week at the Kallang Practice Track.
EYE ON THE PRIZE
I needed the TV, that was my No. 1 goal.
NICK IMPEY, ST Run 2019 winner, on his determination to win the men's 18.45km race as he wanted the Panasonic 65-inch Ultra-HD 4K Pro HDR TV prize.
Impey, who works in sales and marketing for Haymarket Media, believes training with Soh, the national record holder for both the half and full marathons, has helped him as he has benefited from the Singaporean's experience.
THE STRAITS TIMES RUN 2019: THE WINNERS
Nick Impey 1hr 2min 22sec
Maki Inami 1:11:55
Jerome Besnaud 35:51
Vanessa Lee 39:05
"My pacing has really improved and there's good motivation and healthy competition," he said. "I also have a coach and he's helped me with a bit more speed training for this race."
They had both targeted quicker times than the 1:02:49 clocked by last year's race winner, Briton Ben Moreau. While disappointed at falling short of his goal of becoming the first Singaporean man to win the ST Run's longest race, Soh was happy for Impey.
He said: "The competition did us both good as we both ran faster than last year's time.
"I ran a good enough time but Nick just had more in the tank in the last kilometre... He made his move at a very strategic time and I was tired as well, so it was good that we pushed each other and maintained a consistent rhythm before that."
Soh, who is this year's ST Run ambassador and is employed by The Smart Local, will next focus on his Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon title defence while Impey is targeting a time of 2:25 for the Fukuoka Marathon at the end of the year.
Soh is confident Impey can lower his marathon personal best of 2:29, saying: "I told him his pace was very good and, if he can run at this pace in Fukuoka, he should be able to clock between 2:24 and 2:25 there, where the weather is better."
Women's winner Inami, 38, was especially pleased to have retained her title after being out for two months with a knee injury.
"I couldn't run in June and July and could only run a little in August, so I didn't have enough training," said the Japanese housewife, who was accompanied by her sons, aged two and seven, on stage during the prize presentation.
"I'm a bit tired but very happy to finish first."