Kenneth Mungara lowers his year old Canadian All Comers record to 2:07:57 in Toronto (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon organisers) © Copyright
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Kosgei and Mungara the favourites in Singapore - preview

Kenyan Irene Jerotich Kosgei and Kenneth Mungara will start as favorites at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (5).

Fresh from becoming the first Kenyan woman to win the gold medal in the women's Marathon at the recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2:34:32, Kosgei is expected to lead the charge in the women's race. A two-time winner of the Nairobi Marathon (2006 and 2009), Kosgei enjoyed a stunning season in 2009 where she reached the podium in every Marathon she competed in.

She will however, face strong opposition from Russian veteran Lyubov Morgunova, the 2008 Rotterdam Marathon champion who was placed second in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2009. Morgunova represented her native country in the Marathon at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Compatriot Margarita Plaksina, who claimed the 2010 Russian Marathon title and finished second at the 2010 Houston Marathon, is also a prospect for the women's title.

In the men's race, Mungara is in good form having clinched his third consecutive Toronto Waterfront Marathon champion's medal this past September. He will make his debut in Singapore and will race against counterparts Thomas Omwenga, champion of the 2010 Vancouver Marathon, and Vincent Krop, who finished third in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2009.

Additionally, a host of up-and-coming elite athletes such as Francis Kibiwott, winner of the JoongAng Seoul Marathon in 2009, Ayelu Lemma Geda, women's champion of the CamSur Marathon 2010, and Seada Kedir Adilo, winner of the 2009 Naples Marathon, will be using the SCMS 2010 as a platform to launch their marathon careers.

The revised prize structure will see the winners of the men's and women's Marathon open categories pocketing US$66,500 each, which is a substantial US$15,000 increase from previous editions. Additional time bonus incentives will also be on offer.

“Our aim this year is to increase the level of competition among the elite athletes," said event chairman David Voth. "By taking the unique step of channelling the normal appearance fees to the prize purse and introducing the new prize structure, we have succeeded in attracting many world class athletes to Singapore. With the strength of the elite field in both the men's and women's Full Marathon open categories, we are expecting a very exciting race indeed.”

A record 60,000 runners, competing in a variety of categories which includes the Full Marathon, the Half-marathon and the 10km Run, are expected. Featuring three different routes, runners will take in the full spectrum of iconic landmarks in Singapore including Orchard Road, Chinatown, Universal Studios Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

Organisers for the IAAF