KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek has challenged the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) to enter a team in this year’s Standard Chartered KL Marathon to test their strength against the foreign runners.
He said it was not enough for MAAU to use the event as part of their development plans.
Shabery threw down the gauntlet after launching the marathon, which will be held on June 26, at a leading hotel here yesterday. This is the third straight year that the event will be sponsored by Standard Chartered.
“Just before the launch, I spoke to the MAAU officials and told them that not only must they support the event, but also ensure that they have a team running in it to gauge their standard,” he said.
“It will be good if you enter young runners to give them exposure but this is a top class event where our runners must start to excel.
“There are some good foreign runners competing in the marathon and it will be good for our runners to test their strength on home soil.”
The Minister said that the KL Marathon had grown big “as can be seen in the increase in the number of participants over the years”.
“So let us hope that the local runners will rise to the occasion and challenge hard for the winner’s purse,” he said.
This year, the organisers are expecting 25,000 runners in five categories – full marathon, half-marathon, 10km, 5km and kids dash (3km and 950m). Last year, 17,600 runners took part in the marathon.
“We will again be offering a total of US$100,000 in prize money,” said Reiner Beimans, the project director of Golazo Sdn Bhd, the event co-organiser.
“I wonder if the Standard Chartered KL Marathon will see a new race record this year? 2:16:44 for male (achieved in 2010) and 2:40:13 for female (2009) – these are the times to beat!”
Kenyans Nelson Kirwa Rotich and Frieda Jepkite Lodepa hold the men’s and women’s records respectively.
Also present at the launching ceremony was Standard Chartered chief executive officer and managing director Osman Morad.
Online registration for the event is now open.