Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Standard Chartered KL Marathon: Runners left thirsty and frustrated

Marathon winners Julius Kilimo Kipkorir (centre),  Nelson Kirwa Rotich  Armon Kipchirchir Kemei (right) pose with their mock cheques in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon at Dataran Merdeka  yesterday. — Pic: ROSDAN WAHID
Marathon winners Julius Kilimo Kipkorir (centre), Nelson Kirwa Rotich Armon Kipchirchir Kemei (right) pose with their mock cheques in the Standard Chartered KL Marathon at Dataran Merdeka yesterday. — Pic: ROSDAN WAHID

By Devinder Singh

CHAOS reigned at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon yesterday when the wrong runner was declared the winner while water stations ran dry leaving runners desperate to quench their thirst.

Several runners who signed up for the 5km race expressed their frustration at running a shortened route while the lack of signages along the full marathon route caused others to veer off course.

But R. Muniandy, who crossed the marathon finish line at Dataran Merdeka as the best placed Malaysian in a personal best of 2:35:52s, was justified in feeling aggrieved the most when the first prize in the local category was given to second placed finisher Shaharuddin Hashim, who came in eight minutes later.

"I really don't know what is going on. I know I finished first among the locals but my name is not registering on their (computer) screens," said Muniandy, 31.

His New Balance team manager M. Thanasekaran said he had never seen a race so badly organised before.
"First, they gave him the wrong bib number. Then the water bottles went missing from the drinks stations. They have really mismanaged this race," he said.

Adding to the confusion was the organisers' failure to furnish details of the podium placings for each event until eight hours later.

Muniandy, however, was belatedly installed as the local winner after the error was rectified, said race director Hemant Dua in a statement.

The KL Marathon, part of the global Standard Chartered Marathon series, replaced the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon which had been organised since 1984 until last year by the Federal Territory Amateur Athletic Association.

But race organiser Octagon Asia agreed to pay the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union RM5 million over 10 years in return for the right to organise an international marathon in Kuala Lumpur.

Octagon came in for some harsh criticism from runners after drinks ran out at the water stations along the route.

"There was no water left for the last 10 kilometres where the risk of dehydration is greatest. I have run at the Standard Chartered event in Singapore three times and this event is by far the worst in comparison," said retiree Tan Guan Chye, 57.

The organisers were not spared on social networking site Facebook either, where those running the 5km vented their anger at being shortchanged with many saying they may not return next year.

The men's marathon was won by Kenyan Julius Kilimo Kipkorir, who clocked 2:17:02 to win in his first attempt at running the marathon, while Frieda Jepkite Lodepa won the women's race in 2:40:13.

Multiple Sea Games gold medallist Yuan Yufang finished as the best Malaysian among the women in 3:16:36 while national triathlete Kimbeley Yap was second to Georgina Beech in the women's 10km event.

RESULTS -- Men's marathon: 1 Julius Ndiritu Karinga (Ken) 2:17:02s, 2 Nelson Kirwa Rotich (Ken) 2:18:24, 3 Armon Kipchirchir Kemei (Ken) 2:18:56.

Local: 1 R. Muniandy 2:31:52s, 2 Shaharudin Hashim 2:39:52; 3 R. Jayakumar 2:46:19.

Women's marathon: 1 Frieda Jepkite Lodepa (Ken) 2:40:13s, 2 Doreen Kitaka (Jpn) 2:45:51.

Local: 1 Yuan Yu Fang 3:16:36s, 2 Tan Lee Chin 3:39:37, 3 Lim Miow Chin 3:41:18

Source:NST, 29/6/09


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