SINGAPORE — Singapore's top marathoner Soh Rui Yong smashed his own men's national record on Sunday (5 December), when he clocked 2hr 22min 59sec at the Valencia Marathon to eclipse his own national mark of 2:23:42 set at the Seoul International Marathon in 2019.
In doing so, the 30-year-old also became the first Singaporean in history to make the qualifying time for the Asian Games marathon event, which means he will be eligible to represent Singapore at next September's Games in Hangzhou.
According to Singapore Athletics, the nomination standard timing for the Games is 2:23:42. This matches the timing of the sixth-placed runner at the 2018 Games.
Soh has also qualified for the marathon at next May's SEA Games in Vietnam, where he could get a chance to add to his two men's marathon gold medals won in 2015 and 2017.
"Preparations were very short this time; I only decided to do this race six weeks ago, so effectively I've had only four weeks of marathon-specific training and two weeks to taper," Soh told Yahoo News Singapore via a Facebook Messenger chat after his race.
"I went through a lot more pain in the race as a result of the short preparation, but (managed to) push through. From 25km to 27km onwards, I started having spotty white vision, couldn’t see properly due to low glycogen levels.
"Just kept pushing through. I was checking my watch at every kilometre or two just to make sure I was on pace, but was focusing more on the process - fighting hard yet maintaining a relaxed form. I knew that if I had a good process, a good outcome would follow."
Soh had also made the qualifying mark for the Asian Games men's 10,000m competition last Sunday (28 November), when he clocked 31 min 28.67sec at Singapore Athletics' All Comers 5 meet, comfortably clearing the 31:44.14 qualification mark.
In addition to his marathon mark, Soh is also the current national-record holder for the 5,000m, the 10,000m and the half marathon.
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