Kenyan runners won both the men’s and women’s titles in the 2008 ING Taipei International Marathon yesterday.
Sammy Chumba won the men’s title with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 37 seconds, while Caroline Kilel took the women’s title, clocking 2:30:44 and knocking 26 seconds off her previous personal best in the process.
Chumba’s countrymen Chelimo Luka Kipkemboi (2:15:43) and Lawrence Kiptoo Saina (2:16:32) came in second and third respectively in the men’s race, while Tabitha Tsatsa of Zimbabwe came second with a time of 2hrs 35mins 46secs and Suzuki Junko of Japan came in third at 2hrs 45 minutes and 25 seconds in the women’s.
Kilel took home NT$1.33 million (US$41,000) in prize money after breaking the 151-minute Taipei marathon women’s record set by her countrywoman Jane Auro in 2006. Chumba collected the first prize of NT$100,000 for his win.
Kilel said she would use her prize money to buy a piece of land in her home country. As a professional athlete, Kilel said, she depends entirely on her sport for a living.
Chumba said he would use his prize money to make improvements to his home and improve his family’s living conditions.
Local marathoner Wu Wen-chien (吳文騫) won the Taiwanese men’s title in a time of 2:17:24, while Hsu Yu-fang (�?�) won the Taiwanese women’s title in 2:47:00. Wu finished fourth in the men’s marathon and Hsu finished 19th in the women’s.
The 2008 ING Taipei International Marathon kicked off at 7am at the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall, with 121,000 runners from 40 countries taking part in five categories of road racing, said ING Antai Insurance Co, a key sponsor of the event.
A record 27,000-plus runners competed this year, representing a year-on-year increase of 30 percent, the ING said.
This year also marked the last time that the annual road race is held under the title of the “ING Taipei International Marathon,” as the company is now owned by Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), which in October announced it would acquire ING Life Insurance (Taiwan) for US$600 million.
The new owner is expected to continue holding the race, as ING had previously signed a three-year contract with the Taipei City Government, which is still valid next year.
The title, however, may have to be changed.
“We are confident that we will do it well, of course,” Fubon president Victor Kung (龔天行) said in a TV news interview yesterday. “The company is also known for its healthy image.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY SHAN