Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kenyan runners sweep KL Marathon

By Natalie Heng

Over 16,500 runners took over the streets of the city during the wee hours of this morning as each put mind over matter to complete the Standard Chartered KL Marathon.

There were several categories namely, the full marathon, a half marathon of 21km, a 10km and corporate challenge, a 5km fun run, and a 3km and 950m ‘Kid‘s dash’, which were all flagged off from Dataran Merdeka.

Predictably, Kenyans romped home winners in the men’s open division full marathon. The first to complete the 42km route was last year’s runner up, Kenyan elite athlete Nelson Kirwa Rotich who was happy with his time of 2:16:44.

“Everyone in Kenya runs, it’s our national past time,” he said after receiving his winner’s prize from the prime minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansur.

Second and first runners up were Lilan Kennedy Kiproo and Luka Kipkemboi Chelimo with a time of 2:46:53 and 2:46:57 respectively.

“Out of every family, usually three out of four brothers are runners and we have active sports departments in most workplaces,” said Nelson, a policeman.

Another policeman, Shaharudin Hashim, won the Malaysian division in the marathon. The 35-year-old works with the sports complex in one of the police’s personal training centres.

The experienced runner, who was also first runner up last year, beat 2009 winner Muniandy Ramadass with a finishing time of 2:39:3.

“I train almost everyday by waking up at 3am in the morning and can run anything up to 20km before I start my day,” said Shaharudin who said he runs to help relax and free his mind.

For the women’s category all three of the top spots for the open divisions were taken by Ethiopians, with Goeitetom Haftu Tesema bagging first place with a time of 2:46:44.

Tan Bee Kiang, 26, was a darling with the crowd as she won the first prize for the Malaysian division, with a finishing time of 3:36:36.

This year’s prize money totaled US$100,000 (RM325,150), with the 1st place prize winners getting US$17,500 (RM55,275) each.

“I am going to use the money to go for the Chicago marathon next year,” said Tan who works as a bank consultant.

Charity proceeds from the run, which is in its second year, will go towards the five official event charities which are the Standard Chartered Trust Fund, the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, the Malaysian Association for the Blind and the Children’s Environmental Heritage Foundation.