“Don’t be a pussy, you can take the pain,” Soh Rui Yong told himself as his left hamstring and quads started cramping up at the 30km mark during the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

The national record holder held on to defend his top Singaporean title, finishing five minutes ahead of runner up Mohamed Iskandar. The duo, who also placed 1-2 in last year’s edition, was joined on the podium by Daniel Leow.

Soh’s winning time of 2:45:52 is more than four minutes slower than the one he clocked last year. Likewise, Joshua Kipkorir of Kenya defended his top overall male title but had to work hard for it. His time of 2:19:13 is close to seven minutes slower than last year’s effort.

Part of the challenge for Soh was the weather. The relative huminidy in various locations of the race crossed the 85% mark according to data from the Meteorlogical Service Singapore, with readings as high as 98% in the Pasir Panjang region.

Not being able to find his bottle at the 5km and 15km hydration points did not help.

“I was reduced to a jog in the final 12km,” said Soh.

“I passed both Yemane Tsegay and Yoshike Kawauchi (younger brother of Boston Marathon champion Yuki) and I don’t think that’ll ever happen again so I’ll take it, but that was just a sign of how tough the conditions were!”

30-year-old civil servant Sharon Tan, who took home the top local female title, did not have such problems.

Despite starting out too fast, the reigning Sundown Marathon champion managed to come through with a winning timing of 3:12:52.

“I didn’t follow my original race plan and ran according to feel. I ended up starting too fast, but thank God the race went well!”

Sharing her thoughts on the new evening format and crowd support, Tan commented, “I like it. You do not need to wake up early to prepare, you will have sufficient rest, the temperature is also quite cooling, more conducive for setting a personal best… The supporters were awesome. When they saw my name on my chest they actually called out my name. I also had friends along the way who cheered.”

Top local males

Soh Rui Yong 2:45:52

Mohamed Iskandar 2:50.57

Daniel Leow 2:51:50

Top local females

Sharon Tan 3:12:52

Jasmine Goh 3:17:56

Siew Lu Chng 3:32:27