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Record-Breaking Laguna Phuket International Marathon

Media Release

Records tumbled at the 5th Laguna Phuket International Marathon today, with the event’s biggest-ever field of over 4,600 entrants competing in sweltering conditions at Southeast Asia's fun run in paradise.

Making his debut at the Laguna event, Thailand’s own Charkrit Boonkong, stole the full marathon crown from two-time defending champion Stephen Paine of Australia.

Boonkong pulled away from Paine at the 17km mark and held a 40 second lead which gradually increased to two minutes over the next ten kilometres as the sun rose and the temperatures began to soar. Boonkong finished in 2:40:08, one minute outside of the course record set by the Aussie champ in 2008.

Despite the heat, it was a record-breaking day with a carnival atmosphere in Phuket. For the first time in the history of the destination race, the top five full marathoners all finished in under three hours – and four of these were from Thailand.

The complete Laguna Phuket International Marathon featured the full 42k marathon, a 21k half marathon, 10.5k run, 5k walk and 2k children’s race.

Its festive occasion was given star quality with Thai movie star Ananda Everingham leading children from the event’s designated beneficiary, Baan Jao Krua School in Phang Nga, on the 5k charity walk.

And two contestants from the popular TV reality weight loss show Asia’s Biggest Loser, Garry Holden and Suthat (Tony) Charnvises, celebrated their new slimline healthy lifestyles by competing in the half marathon and 10.5k run respectively.

In the women's race, Thailand took the crown with Thanyathorn Samutnoi setting a new women's record of 3:21:24, maintaining a 30 second lead over fellow Thai athlete Amnuay Kiamgoolearn from start to finish. Japanese and British runners rounded out the top five women.

“Hats off to all runners who finished the races today,” said Raimund Wellenhofer, Course Director for the event. Runners were very disciplined, and knew how to pace themselves and stayed hydrated as temperatures soared.”

The mercury hit 32 degrees Centigrade on parts of the island resort today, and the postcard perfect blue skies that made excellent photo opportunities also meant runners had little shade once the sun was up.

“Many overseas runners are surprised to hear about the early race start of 04.30,” said race Director Roman Floesser. “But with the tropical weather it's important for us to start early to ensure that runners can get a number of kilometres under their belt before the sun gets too high.”

Despite the early hour, humidity was almost 100% at the start of the marathon. Bangkok Hospital operated a number of medical stations on the course and staff treated cramps and early heat exhaustion to enable all marathon starters to finish safely and successfully.

Chong from Hong Kong, who participated in the marathon, praised the aid stations and course staff “It was amazing, despite the heat, the local volunteers stayed smiling and enthusiastic until the end, which really helped to keep runners' spirits high.”

Asia’s Biggest Losers Garry Holden and Suthat (Tony) Charnvises were on top of the world - for the first time in their lives they competed in a marathon event. Having collectively lost 90kg in weight in the last six months, the duo are strong ambassadors for a fit and healthy lifestyle and were greeted with cheers louder than the race champions when they crossed the finish line.

Holden stopped for his finisher's photos and then headed back out on the course to cross the finish line a second time 40 minutes later with his wife Jackie, who was also competing in the half marathon. Holden posted a very respectable finishing time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, which was twenty minutes quicker than his anticipated time. Next year, he vows to compete in the marathon.

In the half marathon, American Bryan Marotta and Gordei Semnhood of Thailand were shoulder to shoulder for much of the race, with Semnhood surging ahead in the last 400m to finish just 14 seconds ahead of the American.

The 2008 women's half marathon champion, and Singapore's leading female runner Vivian Tang, who placed second in last year's race, proved to be untouchable by her peers this year. Tang set a new course record of 1:25:07 in the half marathon.

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