Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROM) wins Singapore Marathon (Randy Ang) © Copyright
General News 8 December 2002 – Singapore

Tomescu-Dita wins against high heat and humidity in Singapore

SingaporeRomania’s Constantina TomescuDita ran three minutes faster than any woman marathoner previously in Singapore, and Joseph Riri won his third marathon in four starts, but times were academic in 30 degree plus temperatures with high humidity for the 13th running of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

The new course is one of the most beautiful in the world, shaded by trees and fringing the East Coast Parkway for much of the way, but the torrid conditions kept Romanian Tomescu-Dita's time down to 2:36:06, with training partner Aurica Buia second in 2:40:53, while a third East European, Violeta Uryga of Poland, having her third marathon in three months, finished third in 2:45:31.

There was an Eastern flavour in the men's race too, East African naturally, with only Makhosonke Fika of South Africa preventing a Kenyan sweep of the top six places. Fika had promised to give the Kenyans a run for their money - US$15,000 for first place - and he ran a cautious first half. "I decided to wait and see what happened, and when Riri took the lead, I went with him, but I was tired and cramping at 38 kilometres, and had to let him go".
Riri powered ahead to win by over a minute in 2:18:46, with Fika on 2:19:54, and Riri's training partner, Julius Kimtai third in 2:20:45. Riri, who had wins in Belfast and Mount Meru (Tanzania) last year, with a best of 2:12:10 for third in Verona in May, said, "I didn't realise I could win until 38k, but I'm not used to running in such heat. My ambition now is to run 2:09".

Former US Olympian, Mark Coogan (Career PB 2:13:05; 2002 best 2:17:35 19th Boston)  put things into perspective. After the 36 year New Englander suffered badly in the conditions, bringing his career to a sorry end with 2:45:08 for 25th place, he said of Riri, "Two oh nine? That's not impossible, his run here would've been good for top five or six in Chicago. And Dita's performance was excellent. She said, 'Hello Mark,' as she passed me. I was too tired to reply".

Pat Butcher for the IAAF

Results -

1 Joseph Riri Kenya 2:18:46 (US$15,000)
2 Makhosonke Fika South Africa 2:19:54 ($10,000)
3 Julius Kimtai Kenya 2:20:45 ($7000)

1 Constantina Tomescu-Dita 2:36:06 (US$15,000)
2 Aurica Buia Romania 2:40:53 ($10,000)
3 Violeta Uryga Poland 2:45:31 ($7000)