Bad Karma Day for previous winners in Singapore!


In Singapore, like it was in Fukuoka, it was not a good day for past winners. On both the men's and women's sides, there was some huge surprises in Singapore. Pat Butcher, our wandering minstrel of athletics, graces us with his third piece in three whole days on Singapore. Nice writing, Butcher uses one word where some would use fifteen. A track fans's track writer. I hope you enjoy!

Top Trio Break Record in Singapore
December 2, 2007
From press release / Pat Butcher

Singapore (December 2, 2007)---Never trust a pacemaker. They have a habit of carrying on and winning the race. Elijah Mbogo of Kenya extended the habit early Sunday morning, when he won the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon on his debut, and in a course record no less, 2.14.23. The man who should have known better, two-time winner, Amos Matui failed by just two seconds to catch his 19 year old compatriot, thus missing his hat trick. Veteran, David Cheruiyot, who won Istanbul just five weeks ago, made it a Kenya one-two-three with his 2.14.43, also under the old record.

Mbogo knew who Matui was, because his two previous victories with a fast finish have forged a reputation for the 33 year old. All Matui needed to know about Mbogo was that he was a pacemaker. In contrast to his previous marathon start, when he duly dropped out at 30k, Mbogo said he every intention of finishing today, if he felt good at that point.

The earlier start, 5.30am in the city-state meant that the athletes got the most temperate conditions they are ever likely to encounter in Singapore - 25C with 40% humidity at the start - and the men's group of a dozen duly attacked Matui's record of 2.15.01 with relish. They were still together at halfway in 66.55, and only when the sun came up after an hour and half, and temperatures climbed towards 30C did the field begin to break up. They were on their way back into town at that point, after the long garden stretches beside the beach in the East Coast Park.

When the lead car slowed to negotiate a bend, Mbogo took advantage of the field slowing and bunching, to shoot off into a 100 metres lead, which he built up to double that with two kilometres to run. Even then, as Matui said later, he still thought he could win. He set out with the same will as in the last two years, but he just ran out of road.

"I knew he had a good kick, so I tried to build up as big a lead as possible," said an exultant Mbogo. I was pacing until 30k, but I saw that the group was not so strong, so I decided to attempt it. It was very interesting. My first attempt, and my first win". His performance was set up well by personal bests at 10k (28.24) and the half-marathon (61.40) in Europe two months ago, after which he returned to his home base in Embu, near Mount Kenya for nine weeks of altitude training. His victory has intensified a family rivalry, since his elder brother, David, 26, won the Hanover Marathon earlier this year, in 2.14.13.

They may have run similar times, but the younger Mbogo was well aware that the torrid conditions in Singapore probably add a good three to four minutes to his performance. "I've never run so far in such conditions," said the youngster. "I ran our national cross country in Mombasa (on the Kenyan coast) this year, and I vomited. I don't want to rush into another marathon yet. I want to get better times for 10k and the 'half', I'd like to do 59 minutes," he said of the latter distance. Manager and elite athlete coordinator, Walter Abmayr was on hand to suggest that if they can find a similar scenario, with a fast 10 or 15k next Spring, followed by two months of altitude training, Mbogo may run either Paris in early April, or Hamburg later that month.

After two wins, and a close second, Matui has set his sights higher. "He went fast, but I thought I could catch him. I can't say I'm not happy about this, because our team ran well. I want to run one of the big races now, London or Boston, and get a good time". Cheruiyot, who only started running ten years ago at the age of 27, when he saw friends competing well, hung in for third place in his fourth marathon of the year.

The women were always going to be chasing a dream time, Salina Kosgei's 2.31.55 from last year. So it proved. Favourite, the veteran Edith Masai of Kenya could not stay with the young Ethiopian, Alem Ashebier, when she surged away at 35 kilometres. Ashebier won in 2.37.08 which, despite the conditions was a personal best by two minutes. Masai was close to a minute behind, in 2.38.07. Third was another Kenyan, Caroline Kwambai, in 2.38.46.

Place/Name Country Time Prize/Us$/Bonus

1. Elijah Mbogo KEN - 2:14:23 $25000 + $8000
2. Amos Matui KEN - 2:14:25 $15000 + $4000
3. David Cheruiyot - KEN - 2:14:43 $8000 + $2000
4. Francis Kiprop - KEN - 2:16:43 $5000
5. Michael Kimani - KEN - 2:17:00 $4000
6. Henry Cherono - KEN - 2:17:17 $2500
7. Patrick Tambwe Ngole/FR - 2:17:47 $2500
8. Ashebier Demissu - ETH 2:19:18 $1500
9. Sammy Kipruto - KEN - 2:19:36 $1500
10. Said Regragoui - SWE 2:20:38 $1000

1. Alem Ashebier - ETH -2:37:08 $25000
2. Edith Masai - KEN - 2:38:07 $12000
3. Caroline Kwambai - KEN - 2:38:46 $6000
4. Emma Mutoni KEN - - 2:39:42 $4000
5. Madina Biktagirova/RUS - 2:43:28 $3000
6. Kotu Meseret ETH - 2:43:52 $2000
7. Rose Nyangacha KEN - - 2:45:51 $1500
8. Liliyan Yazdhak RUS - 2:46:06 $1000
9. Asami Nichizawa JPN - 2:46:09 $500
10. Tola Eda ETH - 2:53:14 $500

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To reach Larry Eder, please email:
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