KUALA LUMPUR, April 2017: The Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) 2017 is gearing up to be a highly competitive race, particularly in the Malaysian Men’s category, as the top Malaysian marathon runners will be competing for honours as well as hoping to catch the attention of the selectors of the KL SEA Games squad.
|Muhaizar Mohamad & Leo Tan|
Last year’s Full Marathon winner in the Malaysian category was Muhaizar Mohamad with a time of 2:39:24, followed by Mohd Jironi Riduan in second place with a time of 2:39:56 and Tan Huong Leong in third recording a time of 2:41:53. Not only are all three runners back for SCKLM 2017, but their contest will be given an added edge because of the SEA Games in KL later this year. Tan in particular, has been recording really fast times recently with a 2:35:24 at the Taipei Marathon in December and 2:28:19 in the recently concluded Tokyo Marathon, which is one of the fastest times recorded by a Malaysian for the full marathon.
“We are really looking forward to a hotly contested SCKLM 2017, especially in the Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon Category,” said Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events and Project Director of SCKLM 2017. “This augurs well for our event as one of our key objectives has been to raise the competitive level of the SCKLM. And as the selection for the SEA Games is only finalised in July, these runners will be eager to push hard to try to earn selection,” he added.
Defending Malaysian Men’s champion Muhaizar Mohamad knows that SCKLM 2017 is potentially his best bet to get into the national team for the KL SEA Games 2017. Muhaizar has dominated the Malaysian Men’s category for the Full Marathon the last couple of years. The Armed Forces personnel largely trains on his own but a short stint under Mark Williams, the Official Running Coach that runs SCKLM’s Running Clinics, enabled him to achieve his personal best at last year’s SCKLM. “I don’t have a personal coach so it’s going to be tough for me to post faster times. I realised how much a coach could help me when I trained under Mark Williams. The plan he devised is what helped me to achieve my fastest time so far at last year’s SCKLM,” said Muhaizar. “But as the SEA Games is on home soil this year, I will be going all out in SCKLM 2017 to hopefully beat my personal best and qualify for the Games,” he added.
Jironi, on the other hand needs to better his personal best considerably if he wants to make the cut. His personal best of 2’39:58 is currently well outside the national qualifying mark of 2’35:04 for the SEA Games but the school coach is determined to beat his personal best at SCKLM 2017. “I know my timing is still below the qualifying mark but I am focused on delivering a better time at SCKLM 2017 and hopefully that puts me in contention for a SEA Games race slot,” said Jironi.
Tan, 29, could be the man to watch as his current personal best is well within the qualifying mark. He has been training in Taiwan, where he works as an engineer, under professional Taiwanese distance running coach Lim Chen Ming for the last two years and the results are beginning to speak for themselves. His timing at the last Standard Chartered KL Marathon has been shaved by almost 13 minutes albeit in much more temperate conditions in Tokyo compared to Kuala Lumpur. It will certainly be interesting to see how fast he can go in the sweltering conditions here.
“I’m really looking forward to SKLM 2017. While I’m not setting any particular goals for this event, I still want to do my best for this run and hopefully my name is in the list for the SEA Games come July,” said Tan.
Another Malaysian to look out for in SCKLM 2017 is the current national record holder of the Half Marathon Malaysian Women’s category Sheela Samivellu. Sheela smashed her own previous record at SCKLM 2016 and will be gunning to clinch a spot in the SEA Games through a strong showing in this year’s SCKLM. The Principal Assistant Director with the Ministry of Well-Being, Housing and Local Government started running from an early age and has participated in the SEA Games several times before. “I started running when I was five and the journey continues. What started as a means to be happy and to reduce stress has become something more serious now. Breaking the national record at SCKLM2016 was the proudest moment in my career so far and I hope I can finish just as strongly this year as that would put me in a good position for the SEA Games in August,” said Sheela.
The Standard Chartered KL Marathon has grown to become the premier running event in Malaysia that draws thousands of local and international runners to the country whilst firmly establishing Malaysia in the global running calendar. The 2017 edition of the race will once again see sponsorship from Title Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, along with Honda Malaysia, Brooks, Lucozade, Seiko and Pacific Regency.
Elite runners will be competing to earn a slice of the almost RM500,000 in total that is on offer at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2017,which include bonus prizes for record-breaking course times.