Athletics Athletics

Kenyans dominate Singapore Marathon

The Kenya men’s winners (from left: third-placed Andrew Kimtai, runner-up Felix Kirwa and champion Joshua Kipkorir) celebrate their feat at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. (PHOTO: Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon)

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Kenyans dominated the men’s and women’s races at the Singapore Marathon over the weekend with 24-year old Joshua Kipkorir winning the men’s race on his debut while 38-year old Priscah Cherono won the women’s title.

Kipkorir clocked 2hrs 12min 20sec to register the second-fastest time in the marathon’s 17-year history while Felix Kirwa, the 2016 champion, came in second in 2:13:42 as Andrew Kimtai 2:14:29 completed the Kenyan podium sweep at third.

In the women’s category, Cherono broke away at the 40km mark to also finish in the second-fastest timing in the race’s history, clocking 2:32:12 to edge out compatriots Stella Barsosio (2:33:22) and Jane Jelagat (2:35:37).

Cherono said after her victory, “Yesterday was so hot, but today the conditions were good. I am so happy I won the race. I came to this race and I prepared myself, so now I’m dreaming.”

Kipkorir and Cherono both flew back home with a winning purse of Sh5mn (US$50,000) The top prize nearly doubled Kipkorir’s career earnings of Sh6.6mn (US$65,375).

“This is my first time here. I like the course, it’s very nice. I have no problems with the heat,” Kipkorir, 24, said.

In winning the men’s race, Kipkorir upset the top names in the field, with favourite Paul Lonyangata, the winner of the last two Paris Marathons, not even placed in the top 20.

By the halfway mark, Kipkorir had already opened up a 300m gap on the chasing pack and it was a lead he never relinquished.

While the Kenyans tasted success, the Singapore Marathon also hoped that the success of Sunday’s event would convince assessors from the World Marathon Majors series to allow the Singapore race to join that exclusive club alongside the Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo Marathons.