Kenyan runner creates new record for Shanghai Marathon
Fine weather helped Kenyan runner Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba to create a new record of 2:05:35 for the Shanghai Marathon.
Some 38,000 runners from home and abroad set off from the Bund on Sunday morning.
The previous record was created by Kipchumba's compatriot Paul Lonyangata in 2015, who completed the 42-kilometer race in 2:07:14. This is also the best men's record among all marathon events in China.
"This is my first visit to Shanghai," said the 25-year-old Kenyan. "The course is beautiful and the weather is just perfect, helping me to creating a new record."
Kipchumba won the US$55,000 top prize, and an extra US$20,000 for creating the new record.
Second-placed Alphonce Felix Simbu from Tanzania finished the race just four second behind (2:05:39). He was followed by another Kenyan runner Solomon Kirwa Yego (2:05:42).
Wu Xiangdong became the first Chinese runner to finish the race, clocking 2:11:53.
He was followed by 2020 Shanghai Marathon winner Jia E'renjia (2:11:58). Wu and Jia placed 9th and 10th respectively in the overall men's standing.
The women's crown went to Siranesh Yirga Dagne from Ethiopia, who finished the race in 2:21:28. She was followed by Kenya's Selly Chepyego Kaptich (2:21:55) and Bahrain's Eunice Chebichii Chumba (2:22:20).
The finish line of this year's marathon made a return to the renovated Shanghai Stadium. Runners crossed the finish line at the torch square before entering the stadium to pick up medals and after-race supply bags.
According to the organizers, about 12 percent of the runners are from overseas. Among the Chinese runners, more than 10,000 of them are from out of Shanghai.
Danish runner Tor Ronnow is among the six overseas runners who took part in this year's Shanghai Marathon under a new International Tourism Partner (ITP) project.
The project combines tourism and marathon, providing accommodation, pre-race route inspection, and city tour services for overseas runners.
ITP is a mature project in some overseas marathons, contributing more than 30 percent of participants to these events. The overseas runners can also help boost the tourism industry in related cities.
Ronnow is an IT director, who developed an interest for marathon 20 years ago.
He had registered for the 2019 edition of the Shanghai Marathon, but missed the payment deadline. The new project helped him to make up for the regret.
"This is my first visit to Shanghai and China," the 57-year-old told Shanghai Daily. "I saw the skyline of Shanghai in pictures, and immediately fell in love with it."
Before coming to Shanghai, Ronnow has taken part in four marathon events within six days in the four Asian countries of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Shanghai Marathon is his 21st marathon race this year.
"I'm not a fast runner, as my personal best is about 3 hours and 42 minutes," he said. "But I love travel, to see new things and meet new people."
Ronnow has created a personal site (temperance.dk) where visitors can follow his race reports in 10 languages, including Chinese.
"I have thousand of followers," he said. "Many runners are attracted by the pictures I post, and register for these marathons themselves."
This year's Shanghai Marathon also welcomed a group of special spectators.
Twenty students from Guizhou's Pingqiao Primary School were invited to Shanghai under the support of Shanghai Marathon's charity foundation. They visited Shanghai's landmarks including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and cheered for marathon runners near the finish line on Sunday.
"They are here to experience the superb phenomenon of a big sports event," said Xu Zixiong, the only sports teacher of the school which has some 300 students.
Xu told Shanghai Daily that the Shanghai Marathon charity foundation has promised to build a new stadium for the school.
"Currently, the kids can only do sports exercise on concrete floor, and we only have ball game courses for higher grade students," said Xu. "With the new stadium, we can introduce more track and field courses."