Story by Koh Yizhe/Red Sports. Photo by Lee Jian Wei and Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports
Kallang Practice Track, Sunday, June 07, 2015 — Soh Rui Yong defended Singapore’s marathon crown at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after he finished first in 2 hours 34 minutes and 56 seconds.
With defending champion Mok Ying Ren injured, Rui Yong faced tough competition from Thailand’s Boonthung Srisung and a strong field of 10 other runners in his bid for the gold medal. However, after leading for more than half of the race, the Thai did not have enough in the tank to hold off Rui Yong’s kick in the last 200 metres. Srisung settled for silver in 2:35:09 while Vietnam’s Nguyen Thanh Hoang finished in 2:37:10 to take bronze.
Competing in only his second-ever marathon, the 23-year-old ran a strategic race, allowing Srisung, Philippine’s Eduardo Buenavista and Nguyen Thanh Hoang to set the pace. He trailed the leading pack by 40 seconds at the 12km mark before slowly catching up with the leaders. Rui Yong was third after the East Coast Park portion of the race as Singapore’s infamous tropical rainstorm threatened to rain on his parade.
Heading into the last 500 metres at the Kallang Practice Track, he was neck-and-neck with Srisung. The Thai attempted a little surge, but Rui Yong’s kick with 200m remaining left his opponent trailing as he finished ahead comfortably.
“I left Singapore two years ago aiming to be in the best shape possible for this SEA Games and this gold medal is as good as it gets,” said the Oregon-based runner.
“The pace of the race was really up and down. At one point, I was 40 seconds behind the leader. I made my way up to the leaders at about the halfway point and the leader, Srisung, was going quite slow. I told myself, if he’s going so slow, it means one of two things. Either he’s super confident with his kick or he’s not feeling good. As the race progressed, I thought he looked a little weaker while I still felt good. I just sat on him towards the end.”
“With 200 metres to go, I just gave him a look and went. I am glad I had something in the tank because he runs 2 minutes faster than me in the 10k, so I knew he may have a good kick as well,” described Rui Yong.
Besides the marathon, Rui Yong is also scheduled for the 10,000m race. However, he said he is unlikely toe the line come June 10.
“The last time I ran a marathon, I couldn’t walk right for four days. The 10k is three days away. I’ve got nothing in the tank now. I came here to win a gold medal at the marathon and the 10k was always a back up. I’ll make the decision on race day, but I don’t see myself lining up for the 10k,” said Rui Yong.
Ashley Liew, Singapore’s other representative in the marathon, placed 8th among 12 runners with a time of 2:44:02. Ashley suffered through two hamstring problems during the run but pushed on to finish the race.
“I had hamstring issues on two separate occasions during the race,” described Liew. “I thought of dropping out but I knew I had to finish the race for my mom – it would have been her birthday today.”
In the women’s marathon, Singapore’s Rachel See clocked 3:18:14 to finish sixth among 10 runners. Her compatriot, Neo Jie Shi, finished in 8th with a time of 3:35:54. Thailand’s Natthaya Thanaronnawat won the event in 3:03:25.
Men’s Marathon Results
1st Soh Rui Yong Guillaume (Singapore) — 2:34:56
2nd Boonthung Srisung (Thailand) — 2:35:09
3rd Nguyen Thanh Hoang (Vietnam) — 2:37:10
4th Hamdan Syafril Sayuti (Indonesia) — 2:38:50
5th Eduardo Buenavista (Philippines) — 2:39:26
6th Kuniaki Takizaki (Cambodia) — 2:42:39
7th Thu Soe Min (Myanmar) — 2:43:26
8th Ashley Liew Wei Yen (Singapore) — 2:44:02
9th Viro Ma (Cambodia) — 2:55:49
10th The Anh Bui (Vietnam) — 2:59:39
11th Thaung Aye (Myanmar) — DNF
12th Rafael Jr. Poliquit — DNF
Women’s Marathon Results
1st Natthaya Thanaronnawat (Thailand) — 3:03:25
2nd Mary Joy Tabal (Philippines) — 3:04:39
3rd Thi Thanh Hoang (Vietnam) — 3:07:14
4th Thi Thuy Lam (Vietnam) — 3:14:10
5th Myint Myint Aye (Myanmar) — 3:16:02
6th Rachel See (Singapore) — 3:18:14
7th Natercia Ximenes Maia (Timor Leste) — 3:23:38
8th Neo Jie Shi (Singapore) — 3:35:54
9th Juventina Napoleao (Timor Leste) — DNF
10th Jane Vongvorachoti (Thailand) — DNF
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