Whilst paying a visit to Singapore to spend some quality time with his grandson, Sanjai Sharma managed to find time to squeeze in a half marathon race. Well, in fact, at the time the race was on, he wasn’t likely to be doing anything else anyway, other than sleeping. Owing to the hot and humid conditions, the Singapore Half Marathon was due to start at 4:30am which meant Sanjai had to be up at 2:15am. It was a joint start with the full marathon as well so it was a huge event.
It turned out Sanjai wasn’t able to get any sleep the night before the race but he didn’t really feel the effects of that. Even though it was so early, it still felt very warm and humid. Just the sort of conditions Sanjai isn’t normally too fond of.
With 44,000 people taking part in the Marathon race and many more in the Half Marathon, it took Sanjai almost seven minutes to get across the start line. The congestion made it a slow start as well, taking Sanjai eight and a half minutes to get through the first mile. For the next four miles he was constantly weaving through the masses before finally managing to get into a groove.
The slow start resulted in a 24:15 for his first 5k, putting him in 249th position. He then posted a 22:45 for his second 5k, getting him to 10k in exactly 47 minutes. He was now up to 172nd position. Since it wasn’t so congested, Sanjai was able to get through the next 10k a fair bit quicker, at 45:54. That put his time at the 20k point at 1:32:54 and he had moved up to 121st place.
He now had just 1.1km left to go and that took him exactly five minutes. Crossing the line in 1:37:54, Sanjai had come in 129th place overall and was 2nd in the 60-69 category. That was a great result for Sanjai considering the slow start and the hot and humid conditions he’d had to face.
His last three miles were in fact his quickest of the race so that underlines how strongly he ran on the day and it was most certainly a performance to be proud of.
The first two athletes in the Half Marathon to make it to the line were Singapore nationals, with Shaun Goh finishing in 1:12:49 and Jon Lim getting round in 1:13:02. However, Kenyan runner Edwin Kiptoo had started much later than them and he was actually the quickest to complete the course but some considerable margin. His net time came out as 1:09:57 so effectively he had won the race, although the 13 athletes who reached the line before him wouldn’t have known that.
James Farley was the first Brit, finishing in 42nd place in a time of 1:28:28. Philippine woman Artjoy Torregosa was first female and 44th overall in 1:28:28, putting her a second ahead of Vanessa Lee of Singapore.
The full Marathon was won by David Barmasi Tumo of Kenya in 2:14:15, with Kenyans monopolising the first five places. Geoffrey Birgen was second in 2:14:29 with Anderson Seroi taking third in 2:15:59.
Australian Reece Edwards was the highest placed non-African taking 9th place in 2:26:52. Adam Bowden was the top Brit, finishing 11th in 2:29:03.
Rose Chelimo of Bahrain was first female in 2:37:19 which put her 13th overall. Beatrice Jelaget Cherop of Kenya was second female in 2:37:35 and Merseret Dinke of Ethiopia was 3rd woman in 2:37:50.
It was a good note to end the season on for Sanjai and he could look back on a year with highs and lows, but one that was ultimately a success. He’d managed to do all the major races he was targeting and he hadn’t really been kept out of action for any long period of time due to injury, so that was a massive plus.
The following week Sanjai went on to do a parkrun there which he performed well in, getting round in 20:39. That saw him finish in fifth place out of 100 runners.