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Charkrit wins Laguna Phuket Marathon



PHUKET: Records were broken yesterday as Thai athletes dominated the 2010 Laguna Phuket International Marathon, claiming first place in both the men’s and women’s races.

Charkrit Boonkong won the men’s event in 2:40:08, just over two minutes off the course record time of 2:37:53 set by defending champion Stephen Paine from Australia in 2008.

Compatriot Thanyathorn Samutnoi won the women’s marathon, setting a new course record in the process. Thanyathorn outclassed defending champion Katja Fink from Switzerland.

Despite the violence in Bangkok last month, the event attracted a record number of entrants: more than 4,600.

Among the multinational field, Thai runners stole the show. Charkrit, competing in his first Laguna Marathon, pulled away from Paine around the 17-kilometer mark.

Paine was the strong favorite to win the race for the third successive year, but found himself fading as the sun rose and temperatures began to soar.

Boonkong, perhaps more familiar with the sweltering conditions, gradually increased his lead and crossed the finish line in 2:40:08.

Thanyathorn set a new course record in the women’s event, finishing in 3:21:24, 30 seconds ahead of fellow Thai Amnuay Kiamgoolearn.

The marathon was not just for the elite athletes. The biggest cheer at the prize-giving event was reserved for two of Asia’s Biggest Losers TV show fame. Phuket resident Garry Holden and Suthat ‘Tony’ Charnvises, who lost 90kg between them within six months, yesterday competed in their first marathon event.

Holden, who finished the half-marathon in 2 hours and 10 minutes, vowed to compete in the full marathon next year.

Gordei Semnhood of Thailand won the women’s half-marathon, finishing just 30 seconds ahead of American Bryan Marotta.

Vivian Tang, Singapore’s leading female runner and 2008 winner of the Laguna women’s half-marathon, broke Thailand’s monopoly by winning the women’s half-marathon with a course record time of 1:25:07.

Thai celebrity Ananda Everingham led the 5km Charity Walk, raising money for the Baan Jao Krua School in Phang Nga.

— James Goyder


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