Thousands hit the streets for Pattaya Marathon 2015

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In the early morning of Sunday, July 19, Sontaya Khunplume, former Ministry of Culture joined Pol. Gen. Surapong Ariyamongkol, Vice President and General Secretary of the Athletics Association of Thailand, Sulada Saruthirawan, director of TAT Pattaya and Poramate Ngampichet, former MP of the Pak Palangchol Party to sound the starting horns and release nearly 10,000 participants, from 35 different countries, in the 2015 King’s Cup Pattaya Marathon.

Alex Melly from Kenya was last year’s full marathon winner with a time of 02:25:29:0, a great time when taking into consideration the humidity and tropical heat here and, as expected, Kenyans ruled the running routes once more this year, although the winning times were not quite so fast.

Pattaya Marathon 2015 winners, Onesmus Muasya (left) and Viola Jepchir Kimeli (right), both of Kenya, hold their HM King’s Cup trophies as they pose for photos with former MP Poramate Ngampichet.Pattaya Marathon 2015 winners, Onesmus Muasya (left) and Viola Jepchir Kimeli (right), both of Kenya, hold their HM King’s Cup trophies as they pose for photos with former MP Poramate Ngampichet.

The Pattaya Marathon 2015 kicked off on a different route from previous editions to avoid the construction area of the Central Pattaya underground tunnel project.  This year’s starting point was Central Festival Pattaya Beach (as usual), up to the Dolphin roundabout, onto Pattaya 2nd Road, continuing down South Pattaya Road to Sukhumvit and on to the Khao Chi Chan turn-off, then back via Chaiyapruek Road to Jomtien Beach Road, Bali Hai Pier and finally ending back at the starting line at Central Festival Pattaya Beach.

The marathon was separated into 4 categories like the previous events, including a 10.55 kilometer wheelchair and quarter marathon (which went via South Pattaya Road, back to the starting line), the 21 kilometer half marathon (which took athletes on a circular loop via Chaiyapruek Road before returning to Pattaya) and the full marathon at 42.195 kilometers.

This year’s marathon drew almost 10,000 runners onto the streets of Pattaya.This year’s marathon drew almost 10,000 runners onto the streets of Pattaya.

Before the prize ceremony took place, Poramate Ngampichet said that the Pattaya Marathon 2015 had attracted a massive amount of support from both local and visiting runners and the event had now become an annual fun-packed activity that many people looked forward to each year.

Along with fireworks and live drum shows at the start line, many of the runners joined in the spirit of the occasion by wearing fancy dress to complete the course.  One such person was Likit Taksin, a vocational training teacher from the Redemptorist School Pattaya who is well known for his work in cleaning the beaches here and also his amazing football juggling techniques.  On this occasion he chose the run whilst juggling a golf ball on a golf club – a feat which earned him warm applause and admiring glances from spectators.

Bupha Chummano (left) receives her trophy from Poramate Ngampichet after winning the women’s quarter marathon race.Bupha Chummano (left) receives her trophy from Poramate Ngampichet after winning the women’s quarter marathon race.

This year’s winner of the 42.195 kilometer Pattaya marathon (men) was Onesmus Muasya from Kenya, who crossed the finishing line at 02.32.35.  He won the prestigious HM the King’s Cup trophy and 25,000 THB in cash.  Muasya was followed across the line by his Kenyan compatriots Daniel Kiproich Kogo (02:36:42) in second and Nelson Kiptoo (02:37:42) in third.  Kogo picked up 20,000 THB and a trophy for his efforts while Kiptoo received 15,000 THB.

The winner of the women’s full marathon was another Kenyan, Viola Jepchir Kimeli, who finished in a time of 03.09.50.  She won a King’s Cup trophy and took home 25,000 THB while the second place went to Thailand’s Apasara Prasathinphimai (03:11:12) and third to Cecilia Wangui Warutumo (03:14:39) of Kenya.  Both runners-up received cash awards of 20,000 and 15,000 THB respectively.

Fireworks and air-horns signal the start of the 2015 Pattaya Marathon.Fireworks and air-horns signal the start of the 2015 Pattaya Marathon.

The men’s half marathon (21.100 kilometer) saw another Kenyan 1-2-3 as David Mutai (01:13:27) crossed the line ahead of Reuben Kosgei Kimutai (01:15:00) and Jackson Kibet (01:16:20), the three finishing in that order.  Mutai picked up a trophy and 25,000 THB in prize money.

Not to be outdone by her compatriots in the men’s race, Kenya’s Cynthai Chelangat Towett took out the women’s half marathon in a time of 01:24:08.  She finished ahead of Thailand’s Jane Wongworachot (01:25:09) in second and Jackline Musyawa Nzivo (01:29:32) in third.

The 10.550 kilometer wheelchair marathon was won by Boonkong Krompan from Thailand, who broke the tape at the finishing line in a rapid 58 minutes, winning 8,000 THB and a trophy in the process.

Colorful drummer girls set a beat for the runners to follow.

The men’s quarter marathon saw another African runner, Lukas Wambua Muteti (00:30:16), cross the line first, ahead of Josephat Mochumari Memba (00:30:22) in second and Nattawut Innum (00:30:58) of Thailand in third.

There was something for local fans to cheer about in the women’s 10.5k event however as Thailand dominated a close race to take out the top three places.  Bupha Chummano crossed the finish line first in a time of 00.39.21, just ahead of Surakarn Wanna (00:39:34) and Kamonporn Yamsri (00:39:39).

All participants who joined the marathon this year received a commemorative medal and T-shirt to mark the occasion.

Time for a quick photo before heading to the finish line.Time for a quick photo before heading to the finish line.

Athletes take applause from spectators as they approach the tape.Athletes take applause from spectators as they approach the tape.

Runners set out early morning on their own personal challenges.Runners set out early morning on their own personal challenges.

Likit Taksin delighted spectators with his juggling/running skills.Likit Taksin delighted spectators with his juggling/running skills.

A group of runners celebrate completing the course.A group of runners celebrate completing the course.