SINGAPORE: Singapore national long-distance runner and multiple national record-holder Soh Rui Yong rewrote two records at the 2023 Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso Zurich. The event in Spain on Sunday (Oct 22) saw Soh finishing the half marathon with a time of 66:45, a second faster than his previous record set during the 2019 Houston Half Marathon.

At the 10km mark at the Valencia Half Marathon, Soh’s split timing was 31 minutes and 39 sec. According to Singapore Athletics, this was well under the 10km road national record of 32:10 jointly held by Mok Ying Ren (2014) and Jeevaneesh Soundararajah (2022). 

Photo Credit: Soh Rui Yong

Soh, no doubt in a celebratory mood after breaking two national records at the Valencia Half Marathon, shared his feelings about not being selected to represent Singapore at the 2022 Asian Games held recently in Hangzhou, China.

“Not being picked for the Asian Games team despite qualifying was annoying. Managed to channel that frustration positively in training for this performance. We can’t change what people want to do or say about us, but we can work hard and show them – we’re still the best,” said Soh, who also set a new national record when he won the silver medal for the 10,000m race at the 2023 SEA Games earlier this year in Cambodia with a time of 31:10:70.

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Singapore Athletics shared that Valencia seems to be a “happy hunting ground” for Soh as his current marathon national record of 2:22:59 was also set there in December 2021. Apart from the 10,000m, half marathon and 10km road records, Soh also holds the national records for the 5000m, marathon and 5km road categories.

Photo: Website screengrab / Valencia Half Marathon

A check on the official Valencia Half Marathon website showed that there were three other Singaporeans who participated in the Valencia Half Marathon. They are Shaun Goh (1:09:35), Tang Huiyao (1:40:44), and Kokilah Thevanindrian (2:40:44).

The Valencia Half Marathon male category was won by Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie with a time of 57:40, and he was followed closely by Ethiopian duo Yomif Kejelcha and Hagost Gebrhiwet, who went past the finishing line a second later. This is the third time Kandia has won the Valencia Half Marathon, as he also took the top spot in 2020 and 2022. Kenyan athletes dominated the female category as they swept the top three positions. 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Margaret Chelimo came in first with a time of 1:04:46, while 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Irine Cheptia is in second place (1:04:53). In third place is Janet Chepngetich, who finished with a time of 1:05:15.