Taiwanese Wins First Phuket International Marathon
The inaugural Phuket International Marathon hosted at Laguna Phuket on 18 June was a tremendous success with more than 1500 registered runners from 30 countries participating in the marathon, half-marathon and 10km fun run.
The races began early morning with the marathon runners leaving the start line in front of Laguna Phuket’s Canal Shopping Village at 5:00 a.m. to run 42km. The 21km half-marathon began at 6:00 a.m., followed by the 10km fun run thirty minutes later.
The first runner to cross the finish line was Thai SEA Games marathon gold medalist Boonchu Chandecha, competing in the half-marathon. His time was 1:18:04. The Thai runners dominated the men’s half-marathon with second place going to Niwat Oythip in 1:21:30 followed by Sitthipong Cherglai only thirty seconds later at 1:22:00.
The winner of the men’s marathon, Ko Shih Chieh from Taiwan, crossed the finish line with a time of 3:00:36. Second place men’s finisher was another Taiwanese, Chi Ming Chan in 3:12:09, followed by Loke Wai Tse from Hong Kong in 3:14:20.
Another Thai SEA Games Gold medalist, Boonthueng Srisang, won the men’s 10km fun run in 0:33:58. Boonthueng won a gold medal in both the 5,000m and 10,000m races at the SEA Games.
Winner of the women’s marathon was Heather Gregg from the USA, whose time was 3:58:24, followed by Thai runner Nampetch Porntarakcharoen coming in at 4:09:56, and Yi-Mei Tsai from Taiwan not far behind in 4:11:14.
The top three female finishers in the half-marathon were Gillian Castka from the UK, Georgia Bamber from Australia, and Lynne Speirs from the UK.
Also at the event was Japan’s Akemi Masuda, sports commentator and 1984 Olympics marathon runner. Ms. Masuda is a past Japanese record holder in long distance and marathon. Her junior marathon world record of 2:30:30 hours still stands today. Since retiring from racing she appears frequently as a commentator for sporting events and serves as a director of the Japanese Athletics Federation. Now a recognized celebrity in Japan, Ms. Masuda also played a vital role as the ambassador for the Phuket International Marathon in Japan, helping to bring 116 Japanese runners to the event.
Also attracting interest among both runners and spectators was Lee Hee Jin, one of five members of popular Korean pop band Baby Vox and a TV actress, who was competing in the 10km fun run.
For complete race results please see the Phuket International Marathon website at www.phuketmarathon.com or www.championchip-thailand.com