GEORGETOWN, Nov 16 – Kenyan runners once again dominated the 2014 Asics Penang International Bridge Marathon by sweeping the top three positions in the men’s and women’s open categories. Alex Melly clinched the men’s open title after finishing the gruelling race in two hours 19 minutes, followed by Hosea (2’21:24.2s) and Joseph Kiio Mutinda (2’21:28.4s), in second and third places, respectively.
Melly, 27, a full time farmer from Eldoret, Kenya said he had trained for the Penang run by training for two hours every day, covering a distance of 30km, for the past three months. “This is my fourth appearance in this tournament since 2009 because I did not took part in 2012 and 2013. It is my biggest achievement, the cash prize (RM20,000) value more than 400,000 Kenyan shilling. I am really thankful to the organiser,” he told reporters here after the prize presentation.
In the women’s category, Frida Jepkite Lodepa, 32, showed that age was not a barrier when she clocked three hours four minutes to claim the title ahead of her fellow countrywomen Jane Rotich (3’05:20.5s) and Viola Jepchirchir Kimeli (3’08:25.8s), respectively. Meanwhile, Sabahan Fabian Osmond Daimon emerged as the winner in the local Men’s Open category with a time of two hours 47 minutes 03.4s after sweeping past National runner Shaharudin Hashim (2’47:37.7s) and Muhaizar Mohamad (2’47:38s).
In the women’s open (Malaysia) category, Sun Nee Ng clocked 3’38:12.8s to edge Lin Mee Eng (3’42:12.1s) and former National ace Yuan Yu Fang (3’45:43.7)s. The biggest winner was probably a retired factory worker from Butterworth, Ong Poh Son, 62, a seasoned campaigner, who drove home a latest Honda City car after winning the top prize in the lucky draw. “I came here riding a motorcycle but will go home driving a car,” said Ong who has been participating in the run since 1988.
The run, held for the first time on the newly built Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge (Penang second bridge), featured five main categories, namely men’s and women’s full marathon (42.195km), men’s and women’s half marathon (21km); men’s and women’s 10km; men’s and women’s junior and a ‘Fun Run’ (7km). The race that attracted 60,000 participants is expected to be listed in the Guinness World Records as a bridge run with the highest number of participants.