Some 9,000 runners from 44 different countries took the streets in Gianyar, Bali early on Sunday morning, making for the largest Bali Marathon yet.
Now on its sixth year, the race definitely gives last year’s competition a run for its money, as the 2016 edition only had 7,000 participants from 43 countries.
Coming as no surprise to anyone, Kenyans took the top spots on the podium in the open, international categories for full marathon (42.195 KM), half marathon (21.0975 KM), and 10K distances.
Crossing the finish line first in the open male full marathon category was Kenyan Henry Kiprotich Sang, who came in a full ten minutes faster than last year’s winner of the same category. Sang had an impressive time of 02:19:17, which along with major bragging rights, saw him get handed a cash prize of Rp 189 million (USD14,168).
“This is my first time to race in Bali, in Indonesia, and I will surely come back next year,” said the victorious Sang.
The 29-year-old was followed by fellow Kenyans, Cosmas Matolo and Kennedy Lilan Kiptoo, who came in second and third place and still got some pretty sweet prizes: Rp 136.5 million (USD10,196) and Rp 89.25 million (USD6,691), respectively.
Lilan has had his fair share of wins in Bali, previously reigning as “the king of MBM”, as a three-time champion from 2012 to 2014. He does still, however, seem to hold the record for fastest full marathon in the event’s history, thanks to his light-speed time of 2:16:54 in 2012.
As for the women’s full marathon open category, Kenyans took all the podium spots with Elizabeth Chepkanan Rumokol getting that top coveted place with a time of 2:38:38, trailed by Edinah Jeruto and Gladys Jepkechei Tarus. Female victors are awarded the same cash prizes as their male counterparts in the same distance categories.
“I was here in 2015 and won as well. The new route is nicer, more turnings and easier,” Chepkanan said on Sunday at a press conference following the prize ceremony.
Though kicking off from the annual race’s usual starting and finishing point at Bali Safari & Marine Park, Maybank Bali Marathon organizers changed up the route this year, to “offer new excitement and challenge” and better “showcase the beauty of Balinese culture,” Maybank Indonesia President Director Taswin Zakaria wrote in a statement to the race’s participants.
Starting and finishing on the Jl. Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra road, the race spends a considerable amount on Bali highway, then loops up and around through a series of Gianyar and Klungkung villages–previous races had just included the former regency. Villagers came out and chanted during the race, encouraging participants, while the course also offered a striking view of Bali’s highest peak, Mt. Agung, during sunrise.