Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Singapore | Mon, 12/07/2009 12:35 PM
Luke Kibet of Kenya made good on his pre-race prediction Sunday by shattering his own course record to win the men's title at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
In the women's category, Albina Mayarova Ivanova of Russia edged out fellow Russian and race favorite Lyubov Morgunova to win the US$35,000 prize in a time of two hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds.
There were no surprises in the men's field as Kibet managed to shrug off challenges from fellow Kenyans to clock in at 2:11:25, smashing last year's mark of 2:13:01.
Kibet, whose personal best is 2:08:52 he achieved in 2005, took charge from the start at Esplanade Bridge in Raffles Quay.
He kept pace with the leading group, with countryman Vincent Krop following closely.
Krop dropped off the pace before the final 3 kilometers, leaving Kibet and compatriot Johnstone Chepkwony to slog it out to the finish.
After pulling away form Krop, Chepkwony, who finished only two minutes behind Kibet in last year's race, gave the defending champion a run for his money by overtaking him several times during the last few minuets, before Kibet pulled a last and deciding dash toward the finish line.
Chepkwony finished eight seconds behind, while Krop finished third with a time of 2:11:51.
"I came here from Kenya to see if I can break my own record and I did it," Kibet said after the medal ceremony, dedicating the win to his children. "I know that we are all strong men in the race and I must fight for the finish.
"To win a race is not a joke, and the race is getting more and more competitive," he went on.
"Last year I was running alone in the front, but this year we ran together in the group."
Over in the women's field, Ivanova made her attack at the 12-kilometer point, to pull ahead of Morgunova and win the race.
Morgunova had to be content with a time of 2:34:49, with Mary Akor Beasley from the United States coming in third at 2:36:44.
"This is one of the most successful day in my life," Ivanova, mother of 2-year-old and three-month-old girls, said afterward.
"During the run I controlled my pace and I controlled the distance with the runners in front of me so I didn't have any doubt that I would catch them later," she said, adding she had not been at 100 percent fitness for the run, after delivering her baby.
Her time was five minutes off her personal best of 2:27:00, clocked up in the Chicago Marathon in 2003.
Race day also featured the half marathon, won by Kenya's Richard Mutua Mutisya in the men's category and Australia's Anna Thompson in the women's.