Russian whirlwind Vsevelod Khudyakov, blew away
Laguna Phuket International Marathonís course record in a stunning
time of 02:33:51, just 24 hours after arriving on the paradise
island from his home near Vladivostok on Russiaís eastern seaboard
to make a last-minute race registration.
The 22-year old engineering student slashed
almost seven minutes off last yearís record of 02:40:08 set by
Thai Chakrit Boonkong and streaked home more than 17 minutes ahead
of nearest rival American Christopher Paulett, who finished second
in 02:51:24, followed by third-placed Lekcome Caradloung of
Thailand in 02:54:31.
Overcast skies and a gentle
sea breeze made perfect running weather for the destination
marathonís biggest-ever field in its six-year history, with some
5,000 runners from 45 countries in a medley of full marathon, half
marathon, 10.5 km run, 5 km Community Charity Walk and a 2 Km
Khudyakov, whose hometown Khabarovsk on
the Trans-Siberian railway suffers winter temperatures of -30
degrees centigrade, has run marathons in Russia, Europe and India,
but this was his first visit to Thailand and he arrived at Laguna
Phuket from the airport on Saturday afternoon to register with
just minutes to spare before the entry cut-off time.
ďI read about the marathon and decided I wanted to run it,Ē he
said. ďIt was a beautiful course and very unlike any Iíve run
before. I really enjoyed my marathon and Iím very pleased that I
finished so well.Ē
Winner of the womenís marathon
was Mari Kauri of Finland in 03:30:46, with Moira Lowe of Great
Britain second in 03:39:07 and Australian Angela Steven third in
03:42:45. The top Thai female finisher was Prateep Thongchai in
10th place at 04:03:00.
With the event focused on
fun, celebrity runners added to the carnival atmosphere at Laguna
Phuket. Thai film star Mario Mauer Ė the eventís Charity
Ambassador - sparked excitement from fans as he led schoolchildren
from Baan Klong Mai Daeng School in Surat Thani on the 5 km walk
to raise funds for their flood-damaged school as part of Laguna
Phuketís Developing Sustainable Schools community initiative.
Elsewhere, three contestants from reality TV show The
Biggest Loser Asia, with a combined weight loss of around 150 kg,
completed the half marathon as part of their new fitness
lifestyle, with Atikom Laksanapanal finishing in 02:36:39;
Picharatch Phunthawornawin in 2:40:06 and Scott Hanna in 03:14:27.
And marathon centurion Julia Thorn, the first
Australian woman to run 100 marathons, clocked up number 115 in a
time of 05:24:58.
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