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Swiss Katja Fink strides out on her way to win the Phuket Marathon

Aussie, Swiss Take Phuket Marathon Titles

Sunday, June 14, 2009
AUSSIE Stephen Paine took the men's championship title for the second straight year at the 2009 Laguna Phuket International Marathon today.

Paine crossed the 42k marathon finish line in 02:39:23. Women's champ was Swiss Katja Fink, finishing in 03:34:04.

Racing began early with the first group of runners starting at 4am.

This year's event offered two starting times so runners who may need seven hours to complete the course could head off early.

The official race start took place at 5am, seeing the second group of runners off.

The half-marathon started at 6am; followed by the 10.5k run at 6:30am and the 5k walk at 8am.

A 2k kids run started at 9am. More than 4500 participants from more than 25 countries competed, with the largest international contingent from Singapore.

Participating in the event were 250 Laguna Phuket staff, fund-raising to support Ban Klong Sai School in Phang Nga province.

Proceeds will help to provide better facilities and improved health and safety standards at the school.

Eco-marathoner and slow-running advocate Hajime Nishi also joined in the marathon. With 559 marathons in more than 70 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 has participated in the past three Laguna Phuket International Marathons.

He led a group of interested participants over the course, focussing purely on the enjoyment of the race, interaction with spectators and volunteers and taking photos along the way.

A total of 803 runners raced the 42k marathon,1050 in the 21k half-marathon, 1200 in the 10.5k run, 800 in the 5k walk and just over 700 in the 2k kids' run.

Winner of the men's half-marathon was Swiss Cedric Aspsi Loichat, who crossed the line in 01:16:47. Kenyan runner Paul Kisumba Wayoke placed second in 01:18:01 and a few seconds behind in third place was Thai Somchoke Jangwangin 01:18:06.

Second place men's marathon finisher was Amnuay Tongmit from Thailand, in 03:03:36. Third place was Charles Christiansen from Norway in 03:04:56.

Second place in the women's marathon went to Reesa Simmonds from Canada in 03:35:08 with Mamiko Berger from Japan at 03:40:44.

The top three female finishers in the half-marathon were Patcharee Chaitongsri from Thailand, Singaporean Vivian Tang and Brit Victoria Hill, in 01:25:23, 01:25:35 and 01:29:42.

For complete race results visit the Laguna Phuket International Marathon website at www.phuketmarathon.com

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