Melly wins 2014 King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon to maintain Kenyan supremacy

0
2143

Athletes from Kenyan again dominated the King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon, but their pace winning the top six places proved decidedly slower than in previous years.

This year’s champion Alex Melly arrived at the finish line with a time of 2.25:32 hours, almost exactly five minutes behind last year’s winning pace set by three-time champion James Kariuki, who did not participate this time.

Kenya’s Alex Melly crosses the finish line in a time of 2.25:32 hours to win the 2014 King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon, Sunday, July 27.Kenya’s Alex Melly crosses the finish line in a time of 2.25:32 hours to win the 2014 King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon, Sunday, July 27.

Bernard Mwenda Muthoni crossed the line second in 2.29:17 hours, Willy Ilipilemol Rotich took third with 2.37:34, Lukas Wambua Muteti came fourth with a time of 2.43:31 and John Kipkorir Rutto placed fifth with 2.55:10.  All won cash prizes.

The first non-Kenyan to cross the finish line was Thai runner Saravut Ngamsri – a runner in his 40s – finishing seventh with a time of 2:47:47.  He easily won the age 40+ bracket as well.

Henrik Jannborg was the first westerner to finish, crossing the line eighth with a time of 2:52:01.

Kenyan women also continued their dominance of the event, but again at a much-more-leisurely pace.  Viola Jepghirahir Kimeli won the King’s Cup with a time of 3.00:15 hours, nearly 18 minutes behind last year’s record-setting time of 2:42:46 posted by Kenyan Rose Chekurui Kosgei.

Kimeli finished 14th overall among the men and women, again showing how slow the 2014 race was.  Kosgei’s blistering pace last year still only allowed her to finish 17th overall.

Second place in this year’s women’s group was Tabitha Kibet of Thailand finishing with a time of 3.07:57 hours and in third was Kenyan Cecilia Wangui Warutumo in 3.19:03.

In all, nearly 10,000 runners from 36 countries ran in July 27’s myriad of races.  The full marathon attracted 730 participants – 614 men and 84 women – with an average finish time of 4:54:53.19.

Runners sprint over the line at 3:45 a.m. for the start of the full marathon race.Runners sprint over the line at 3:45 a.m. for the start of the full marathon race.

As usual, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, city council members and former MPs were out on Beach Road at 3 a.m. Sunday morning to set the athletes on their way.  The IAAF standard event saw the international field bolt off the starting line at Central Festival Pattaya Beach, with wheelchair racers leaving at 3:30 a.m., full-marathon runners at 3:45 a.m. and half-marathoners at 5:30 a.m.  Participants in the 5 km. “fun run” and walk departed at 6:15 a.m.

Organizers had offered hefty cash prizes for record breakers, but none of the pervious marks were ever in jeopardy.  The best time recorded for a male runner was set in 2007 at 2.19:35.  The top female mark was Kosgei’s 2013 time.

In the wheelchair full marathon, Thais took all the top places.  Prawat Wahoram won HM the King’s Cup, with second place going to Raewat Tana, third to Sumas Phanalai, fourth to Khajornsak Thummasopon and fifth to Ekachai Janthrathorn.

In the half marathon, other African runners took their turn.  Abera Tariku Pemelash of Ethiopia took the top honours with a time of 1:12:15, which also secured the top place in the 20-29 age bracket.  Paul Kimani Kiragu, a Kenyan, finished second with 1.12:46 while youngster Tesfay Negash of Ethiopia, who won the 16-19 bracket, came in third at 1:13:54.  Nelson Kiptoo of Kenya finished fourth at 1.14:17 and his compatriot Godwin Kipruto took fifth at 1.16:45.

Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome sounds the horn to set the athletes on their way.Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome sounds the horn to set the athletes on their way.

The first Thai to cross the finish line in the half-marathon was Thanapol Pattanapolsan, finishing sixth overall with a time of 1.19:03.

Africans didn’t win everything though.  A Thai – Nattaya Thanaronnawat – won the women’s half marathon and the 30-39 age bracket with a time of 1.26:15.  Suwaree Thanaaeknithiwat finished second at 1.32:33 and Jongkolkanok Kamolcham came in third at 1.49:03.

The quarter marathon showed the Pattaya race’s international appeal, with Desta Fitsun Weldu of Azerbaijan finishing first at 34 minutes and 25 seconds.  Enock Kipchirchir Kigen of Kenya finished second at 34:41 and Thai Sanchai Namkhet third at 36:04.

The top five in the wheelchair marathon pose on the podium with their trophies.  The race was won by Thailand’s Prawat Wahorom (far right).The top five in the wheelchair marathon pose on the podium with their trophies.  The race was won by Thailand’s Prawat Wahorom (far right).

Bunlap Samakkhanontharan, who won the age 14-19 quarter-marathon bracket, nearly placed in the overall race with his time of 38:04.

In the women’s quarter marathon, Kenyan Werkilem Shenu Mamecha won first place with a time of 39:27, her fellow compatriot Valentine Jepkemoi Serem took second at 42:50, Thai Sontiya Saywaeo placed third at 45:39 and age 14-19 bracket winner Suphatcha Suwanna of Thailand was fourth at 46:18.  Thailand’s Woraphan Nuanlsri finished fifth at 46:41.

Elite runners pound the Pattaya pavements in the early hours of Sunday morning.Elite runners pound the Pattaya pavements in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In the 5km. “fun run,” Phiripat Boranmun won first, Swiss Duangthip took second and Chominth Thongsiri third.  The female winner was Pikul Thonglue ahead of second placed Theemaporn Khamruang and in third place was Ilada Nasikarn.

Full results for the full marathon can be found online at www.pattayamarathon.net.

The race attracted participants from all age brackets as up to 10,000 runners hit the Pattaya streets.The race attracted participants from all age brackets as up to 10,000 runners hit the Pattaya streets.