Thai debutant Danchai denies Paine hat-trick victory at Laguna Phuket Marathon

PHUKET: A “last-gasp” burst by Danchai “Dan” Pankong of Surat Thani pushed him over the finish line to become winner of the Laguna Phuket International Marathon (LPIM) in Phuket today.

The 29-year-old student, competing in his first-ever Laguna Phuket marathon and only his sixth-ever full 42-kilometer marathon, dashed the hat-trick hopes of two-time champion Stephen Paine of Australia.

Paine led the field for almost all of the race and seemed certain of becoming the first-ever “hat-trick” Laguna Phuket champion.

But Danchai, studying for a master’s degree in civil engineering at Bangkok’s Rangsit University, built up a steady pace and hung on behind 36-year-old Paine before overtaking with a last-minute push at the 37km mark.

Danchai crossed the finish line in 02:49:33, two minutes ahead of 2008 and 2009 champion Paine, who finished in 02:51:35.

Stuart Haynes of the UK finished third in 02:52:54.

A record field of more than 4,000 runners from 50 countries raced a variety of distance courses in the seventh edition of the Laguna Phuket International Marathon today.

Of the 4,088 people who took part in the event, 807 athletes competed in the 42km marathon, 918 in the 21km half marathon, 1,161 in the 10.5km run, 702 in the 5km 91.5FM Community Walk, and 500 in the 2km Kids’ Run. About 1,400 were Thai nationals and about 50 other nationalities were represented.

Japan fielded 405 runners, with Sonoko Kashio winning the women’s 42km title in 03:37:2. Meta Vincent of Australia finished second in 03:39:36 and Natalie Alderton of the UK finished third in 03:42:15.

Standing out in the crowd in the full 42km marathon were sprightly Haad Yai couple Somsak and Yindee Kasiwong, aged 78 and 73 respectively.

The elderly couple, married for 55 years, today completed their 80th marathon between them and marked their debut at Laguna by finishing ahead of others much younger in 05:13:03 and 05:13:26.

Also prominent on the 42km course was Australian “Marathon Man” Trent Morrow, completing his 50th full marathon in 04:53:10 garbed in his customary Superman costume as part of his personal global charity challenge.

A touch of glamor was provided by Miss Thailand World 2012 Vanessa “Na Chatra” Muangkod, LPIM Charity Ambassador, who led the 91.5FM Community Walk that launched Laguna Phuket’s latest community effort to raise 2 million baht for the “Fully Booked” project to operate a mobile library and learning center for local schoolchildren.

For the full race results, click here.

Phuket News

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