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Beatrice smashes full marathon course record at 15th edition of KLSCM

The Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon 2023 saw its course record for the Full Marathon Women’s Open category smashed by Beatrice Jelagat Cherop from Kenya when she erased the previous mark of 2:34:37 set in 2011 by Rose Kerubo Nyangacha by close to two minutes when she recorded a time of 2:32:51.

Over 40,000 runners descended on Dataran Merdeka over the weekend to participate in the 15th edition of the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon (KLSCM). KLSCM 2023 was the first time the race operated with the recognition from World Athletics as a Road Race Label event, making it the only distance running event in Malaysia accorded that status.

The event saw the Kids Dash, 5km and Boost Juice 10km categories take place on Saturday and the Half and Full Marathon categories were held on Sunday. The much-loved Kids Dash made a comeback after a hiatus of three years and added a dash of energy and vibrancy to the proceedings.

Kiprop Tonui from Kenya beat out some stiff competition to win the blue-ribbon Full Marathon Men’s Open category in a time of 02:13:49. Kiprop finished second in the category four times before but found the right formula this year to finally clinch the coveted title. Kiprop said “The strategy I used in my race was a result of my training in Kenya to keep a sustained pace and it worked today. The course today also helped as it was well organised and suited my preparations, so much thanks to the organisers for a designing a smoother course”. Beatrice, who has a personal best of 2:31:24, did not expect to win as she was initially hampered by an issue with her leg. “When my leg got better into the race, I was able to lengthen my stride and eventually overtook the lead runners,” she said. “The weather was nice today, not too hot, so I could come from behind and push to win the race,” she added. Both winners took home USD15,000 each.

John Nzau Mwangangi from Kenya came in second in the Full Marathon Men’s Open with a time of 02:14:03 while defending champion Moses Kiptoo Kurgat, who broke the course record last year, finished third in a time of 02:14:22. In the Full Marathon Women’s Open, Truphena Chepchirchir from Kenya took second place in a time of 02:32:55 and Sheila Jepkosgei Chesang, also from Kenya had to settle for third place with a time of 02:35:50.

The Full Marathon Malaysian Men’s category was anticipated to be a hotly contested affair and lived up to that billing when five of Malaysia’s top distance runners went toe-to-toe to determine who would be crowned champion. Defending champion Poo Vasanthan proved his win last year was no flash in the pan when he held off five-time KLSCM champion Muhaizar Mohamad, national marathon record holder Leo Tan Huong Leong, national half marathon record holder Prabudass Krishnan and Nik Fakaruddin to retain his title in a time of 02:37:38. Nik Fakaruddin came in second in 02:37:43 while Leo Tan finished third in 02:37:56. “With such a strong field, I decided that I would just keep pace with the more established runners in the competition until I was two kms from the finish line before I started to pick up my pace and push towards the victory,” said Poo.

The Full Marathon Malaysian Women’s category saw Michelle Chua Khit Yeng improve on her third place finish last year to clinch the win in a time of 03:13:07 while defending champion Noor Amelia Musa clocked 03:14:41 to come in second and Chew Jia Qi got third place in a time of 03:22:50. “This year I had a lot of help from my coach, along with my friends and family who helped me to do my long runs so I managed to clock a lot of mileage in my preparation for the race,” said Michelle.

Rainer Biemans, Project Director of KLSCM and Director of Dirigo Events, said “KLSCM 2023 has proven to be a truly memorable one as we celebrated the 15th edition of the event by introducing a number of measures to keep the race fresh and more sustainable”. “The local running community witnessed an epic battle in the Full Marathon Malaysian category while the faster course saw a high number of runners achieve their personal best timings,” he continued. “We were also delighted that Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Adam Adli was on hand to flag-off the Full and Half Marathon categories in a year where we also embarked on our journey to make the event more sustainable and eco-friendly,” added Rainer.

Adam flagged off the Full and Half Marathon categories accompanied by Mak Joon Nien, title sponsor Standard Chartered Malaysia’s CEO and Datuk Yvonne Chia, Chairman of Standard Chartered Malaysia.

“The reception of the 15th edition of KLSCM has been excellent as we witnessed the running community gather over the last two days in a tremendous show of unity, diversity and healthy competition. We are pleased to have contributed to the wellbeing of our communities in taking up healthy pursuits, staying true to our promise of being here for good.” said Mak Joon Nien, CEO of Standard Chartered Malaysia, title sponsor of KLSCM.

“Having been the title sponsor for the last 15 years, we are continually reminded of the impact the marathon holds in effecting positive social change, and this year’s KLSCM was no exception. As we progress, we look forward in ensuring that the event becomes more eco-conscious in line with the Bank’s sustainability agenda”, Mak said.

In line with Standard Chartered’s efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion, the Bank hosted 120 community runners that consisted of two groups in the 5km fun run category, and 35 running buddies from the Bank. Aligned to the Bank’s support of the Purple Tuesday movement, the first group consists of 26 differently-abled students from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pendidikan Khas, Setapak, accompanied by four teachers and eight bank staff. The second group consisted of 46 Goal runners including teachers, alumni, and participants from the Bank’s Goal programme – an initiative that aims to empower and equip adolescent girls with the confidence to become future integral leaders.

While the event is a competitive affair, the community element is a compelling factor at KLSCM where its Run For A Reason (RFAR) charity initiative plays a crucial part in helping to raise funds for deserving organisations. Four or five organisations are selected every year for runners to raise funds for and this year, the selected charities were Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, Dignity for Children Foundation, Hospis Malaysia, Kechara Soup Kitchen and Reef Check Malaysia. “Run For A Reason has always been an initiative that we hold dear to our hearts and we try our best to drive donations to our beneficiary charities so that they can continue to carry out the important work that they do. There’s still time to donate as we will only close our fundraising on 9 October, so please donate generously,” said Biemans.

Close to 1400 running tourists from 46 different countries participated in the event, which included 79 different nationalities when local foreign residents were taken into account. It was a busy weekend in the city as KLSCM 2023 also saw over 12,000 local runners from outside Kuala Lumpur and Selangor participate in the event while enjoying the city.

The Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon has grown year-on-year to become the most anticipated distance running event in Malaysia. The premier running event once again saw Standard Chartered Malaysia returning as title sponsor, along with a host of returning and new sponsors, including Boost Juice, Seiko, Pressio, 100 Plus, TudungPeople, Brooks and Tiger Balm. The event is owned and organised by Dirigo Events with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur as venue host.

KLSCM is sanctioned and supported by the Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF), Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur Athletic Federation (FTKLAA), World Athletics and the Association of International Marathons, Distance Races (AIMS).