19 NOV 2009 General News

Kibet returns to a hot reception in Singapore

Luke Kibet bounces back with a solid victory in Singapore (Pat Butcher)Luke Kibet bounces back with a solid victory in Singapore (Pat Butcher) © Copyright
Singapore may be one of the world’s smallest countries, as evidenced by the ‘city-state’ designation, but the organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon put on an event which bears comparison with the biggest on the planet. This year’s marathon on Sunday, 6 December also has an elite entry to match the numbers which make this the biggest event in Asia.

The Singapore Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

The 2007 World champion, Luke Kibet of Kenya, returns to defend the title he won last year in record time, and he is joined by several illustrious compatriots. Vincent Kipsos, Evans Ruto and David Langat, along with Tanzanian neighbour John Saya have all run under 2:09; while John Kelai, winner in 2004, Leonard Mucheru, and Ethiopian Ashebier Demissie have gone sub-2:10.

The women’s race also features the best in-depth entry, with eight sub-2:30 marathoners, headed by Russian Lyubov Murgonova, with a best of 2:25:12.

Achieving those sorts of times, however is unlikely. One thing that Singapore will never be is a World record course, for despite being flat and scenic, with a long stretch beside the coast, the temperatures rarely drop below 24C, with high humidity. Hence Kibet’s course record last year, of 2:13:02, and his compatriot Salina Kosgei’s superlative women’s record from 2007, 2:31:55, over two minutes faster than next best, the 2:34:18 that her colleague Edith Masai ran to win last year.

Where the event does score highly is in its superb organisation, scenic course, taking in the East Coast Parkway, its superb food and open-air dining, and its exotic finish on the famous Padang, the park in front of City Hall, with its old-style ‘village’ church and cricket pavilion.

All of that attracted the limit of 50,000 entrants in the three events, Marathon, ‘half’ and 10k, in a record six weeks, with over 80% of those numbers in the first fortnight of entries being opened.

Pat Butcher for the IAAF