Snowdan (second left) in a group photo with the 42km Men Open winners Muiruri (third left), Chobei (third right) and Mungathia (second right). Also seen are Wong (left) and Liew (right). — Photos by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: The Kuching Marathon was once again dominated by runners from Kenya with Mburu John Muiruri winning the 42km Men Open category and defending champion Margaret Wangui Njuguna winning the 42km Women Open category this year.

Njuguna (third left), Jebet (third right) and Lagat (second right) in a group photo with Snowdan (second left), Wong (left) and Liew (right) during the prize presentation ceremony.

Muiruri, who was participating in his first full marathon, crossed the finish line in 2:20:22 followed by his compatriots Josphatkiptanuitoo Chobei and Stephen Mungathia who clocked 2:20:33 and 2:21:31 to place second and third respectively.

The three runners also managed to break last year’s Kuching Marathon records for the top three placing in this category.

Muiruri, when met at Padang Merdeka here yesterday, expressed his happiness to have won in his category in view that this was his first time running in a full marathon.

“Prior to this, I’ve only ran in half marathons (21km) and this time around, I decided to challenge myself by competing in the 42km Men Open category.

“Apart from that, this is also my first time participating in the Kuching Marathon, so being able to achieve my first full marathon here is definitely one for the books,” he said.

Muiruri, who has been training to run in marathons since 2005 by running 30km on a daily basis, will next aim to run in one of the marathons in Indonesia.

On the other hand, Njuguna completed the women’s full marathon in 2:53:42, beating fellow compatriots Kangogo Loice Jebet and Chelagat Risper Lagat who won the first and second runner-up titles after clocking 2:57:06 and 3:03:27 respectively.

She described her win as a sweet victory as she was able to defend her title.

A patriotic participant, clad in a Jalur Gemilang-themed outfit, gives the thumbs-up as he waits for his run to be flagged off.

“I was also here for the Kuching Marathon last year where I won in the same category. So, to be able to win for the second time…I’m very happy,” she said, adding that she plans to participate in the marathon again next year.

She commended the organisers for managing to hold the marathon in a well-organised manner.

“This is a cool race. It’s well-organised and I like it very much,” said the 49-year-old seasoned runner who has participated in marathons in several countries including Malaysia,
Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Njuguna will next be heading to Kuala Lumpur where she will be participating in the KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge 2018 this coming Sunday (Aug 19).

International runners grab a bottle of water to hydrate themselves during the run.

Winners from both 42km Men Open and Women Open took home RM8,500 each whereas the first and second runners-up won RM3,500 and RM2,000 each.

On hand to present them with their prizes was Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Also present were Datuk Bandar of Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai, Plaza Merdeka Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director and Kuching Marathon 2018 advisor Dato Steve Ng, Kuching Marathon Association president Wong Cheng Yi and Kuching Marathon director Liew Tang Chieh.

A runner flashes the victory sign as he runs with other participants.

Around 10,000 runners from over 20 countries participated in the fifth edition of the marathon, which comprised four categories — 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km.

The Borneo Post is the official media for Kuching Marathon 2018.

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