FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thrilling climax to Greatest Race on Earth series as
winners of US$1.5million prize pool are decided
4 March 2007, Hong Kong - Kenyan Steven Kamar today won the Standard
Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, taking his team Kericho to overall victory in
the Greatest Race on Earth (GROE) 2006/07 series and a US$400,000 first
prize. In the final leg of the four-marathon team relay series, Kamar ran
2:17:03 to overturn a 44 second deficit on previous leaders Marathon Centre
Kericho, lifting his team into first place with a cumulative time of
GROE is a relay of four marathons in the cities of Nairobi, Singapore,
Mumbai and Hong Kong. The series sees athletes take on some of the world's
most challenging running conditions - including altitude, heat, humidity
and steep inclines. Athletes compete in teams of four, running one marathon
each, working together to strive for the fastest cumulative time. The prize
pool on offer, US$1.5 million, is the largest in world athletics.
Kamar said: "This victory has already changed my life. It was very close, I
was just looking at Marathon Centre Kericho's runner all the time - all I
wanted to do was defeat him by more than 44 seconds."
Paul Bor, brother of last year's Hong Kong Marathon winner Simon Bor,
distinguished himself with third place in the marathon today - finishing
second in the Main Team Challenge and winning US$195,000 for his team
Marathon Centre Kericho. Paul Bor in fact formed the team himself, using
money he won as a member of last year's Nations Challenge winners Kenya to
fund the team's travel and preparation. A solid team effort from Akaki
runner Patrick Kimeli maintained their third position, assuring them a
place on the podium and a US$125,000 prize.
Francis Bowen finished second in the marathon overall with a time of
2:17:19 to lift Team Gowar into a prize-winning position, from sixth to
fourth place (US$75,000). Moses Arusei finished with a time of 2:22:18 for
PACE Sports Management to take the fifth and final prize for the Main Team
Women's Challenge winners Cyclone have dominated the competition since the
first leg in Nairobi, breaking records along the way. Entering the Hong
Kong leg, their runner Jane Ekimat already had a 19 minute lead ahead of
nearest rivals Run for Peace who were being represented by Mary Ptikany.
Cyclone won the US$100,000 first prize and a further bonus of US$20,000 for
achieving a women's series record of 10:22:27. Ekimat's second place time
of 2:39:33 was enough to convincingly hold first place for Cyclone. Rose
Kerubo won the marathon with a time of 2:38:19, maintaining her team Grazy
Girls' third place in the Women's Challenge, just 22 seconds behind second
place. That position was clinched for Run for Peace by Mary Ptikany's third
place in the marathon with a time of 2:40:13.
Marathon winner Kerubo said: "I'm very happy. The race was very good, but
it was difficult as the weather was very humid and the route was very
The Nations Challenge was won by Kenya for the third year running, having
faced close competition from local rivals Zimbabwe and Uganda throughout
the series. In doing so, they became the first team to be awarded the 9
carat, 300 gram solid Gold Baton trophy which was introduced for this
series and specially commissioned to be awarded to the winning national
team. The Gold Baton will be engraved with Kenya's name, and the team will
also receive and keep a replica.
Their final leg athlete Edward Kiprotich Muge was paced and supported
throughout the marathon by team-mate Sammy Karanja, who ran for the team in
the first leg in Nairobi and flew to Hong Kong especially for this purpose.
An elated Karanja said after the race: "Whilst Nairobi is challenging
because of the number of talented Kenyan competitors, this marathon is
difficult because of the humidity and hills. We are very happy and honoured
to win this competition."
In the six regional competitions within the Nations Challenge, there were
some exciting battles won and lost, with US$50,000 at stake in each region.
In particular, in the South Asia region, Ajith Bandara's time of 2:25:11
converted India's deficit of nearly four minutes behind Sri Lanka into
victory by a margin of just 14 seconds.
Bandara said: "I prepared well for this race for three months. The course
was very good for 35km but after that there are many ups and downs on the
road. Finally though, I came through it and did well for my team."
Similarly in Europe & Oceania, Denmark's athlete Jeppe Farsoeht overcame a
five minute disadvantage from Australia to claim victory by a mere 28
Thailand were another team who came from behind, with a heroic performance
from Boonchoo Jandacha clinching first place in the South East Asia region,
and overcoming a 16 minute deficit to long-time leaders Indonesia. Jandacha
said: "Running solo requires personal effort but running as a team requires
co-operation and encouraging each other to victory. I feel proud to be a
part of this international race and I'm grateful to GROE for giving me a
chance in this world class marathon series."
And in other regions, Kenya (Africa), Taiwan (North East Asia) and Mexico
(Americas) successfully defended their leads to claim victory. Hong Kong's
Lai Hok Yan ran a solid time of 2:37:01 for his team and said after the
marathon: "The first and last races have the most pressure out of the four,
and I got great support from the crowd being in my home city."
In a new award for this year's series, Mauritius became the first
recipients of the Most Improved Nations Team Award, having beaten their
2005/06 cumulative time by 2:39:07.