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Australians Dominate 2008 Laguna Phuket International Marathon

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Australian Stephen Paine took the men’s championship title at the 2008 Laguna Phuket International Marathon on Sunday 15 June. Paine crossed the 42k Marathon finish line in 02:37:52. The women’s champion was Angela Louise Stevens, also from Australia, finishing in 03:14:17.

Races at the 2008 Laguna Phuket International Marathon kicked-off early Sunday morning with the first group of Marathon runners starting at 4am. This year’s event introduced two Marathon starts providing runners who may need 4-7 hours to complete the 42k course with a head start. The official race start took place at 5am, seeing the second group of Marathon runners off. The Half-Marathon started at 6am, followed by the 10.5k Run at 6:30am and the 5k Walk at 6:55am. A 2k Kids Run started at 9am. Over 5000 participants from more than 40 countries competed in the races, with the largest number of international competitors coming from Singapore.

Also participating in the event was Thai celebrity Ratthasart Korasut, who joined “Team Laguna’s” fundraising efforts to support Ban Klong Sai School in Phang-nga province. Proceeds raised will go towards helping to provide better facilities so as to improve health and safety standards at the school. This is the first in a series of projects Laguna Phuket has planned to help schools in need in remote areas of Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi provinces. Rattasart participated in the 5k Walk with 202 “Team Laguna” members.

Eco-marathoner and slow-running advocate Hajime Nishi also joined in the Marathon. With 541 marathons in 71 countries under his belt, Nishi is renowned among running circles as the founder of the “slow is beautiful” philosophy. The Japanese marathon globetrotter and Guinness World Record holder, who also participated in the Laguna Phuket International Marathon the previous two years, led a group of interested participants over the course, focusing purely on the enjoyment of the race, interaction with spectators and volunteers and taking photos along the way.

Close to 4000 runners participated in the event. A total of 458 runners raced the 42k Marathon, 782 in the 21k Half-Marathon, 825 in the 10.5k Run, 850 in the 5k Walk and more than 1000 in the 2k Kids’ Run.

Winner of the men’s Half-Marathon was Stefano Passarello from Italy, crossing the finish line in 01:13:26. Thai runners Niwat Oithip and Sittipong Changlai placed second and third in 01:19:30 and 01:23:36, respectively. Second place men’s Marathon finisher was defending champion Brent Roeger from the USA in 02:41:57, six minutes faster than his 2006 time, Third place in the men’s Marathon was Wu Yung-Fa from Taiwan in 02:44:42.

Second place in the women’s Marathon was Peta-Jane Harthen from Australia coming in at 03:35:32 and Miho Miyashiro from Japan at 03:40:18. The top three female finishers in the Half-Marathon were 2007 women’s Marathon champion Nicola Green from the UK, Emily Woodfield from the UK and Kerrie Elizabeth Edwards from Australia in 01:13:26, 01:19:30 and 01:23:36, respectively.

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