Sundown Marathon Winners: Russell Ericksen and Alex Ong

Singapore-based American marathoner Russell Ericksen emerged as champion, with a timing of 3 hours and 3 seconds, in the 42km category of the recently concluded Sundown Marathon.

Singaporean Alex Ong followed closely behind, in second place, with a time of 3:00:50.

Third-placed Thomas Greene, from Britain, clocked 3:03:59.

I recently interviewed the two top Sundown Marathon podium finishers. Here is what went on in their minds, during the race.


Thought Alex would overtake him

Russell admitted that he had thought Alex would overtake him in the last 10 kilometres of the race. But he managed to hold off the competition to take the title.

Bridge not a problem

For both runners, the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, termed as Heartbreak Bridge by a lot of marathon runners in Singapore, was not too much of a problem even though Russell thought the Singapore bridge was comparable to some of the toughest hills he has done overseas.

And Alex wasn’t too bothered by the climb either. He thought that he could compensate for the loss of time during the downslope.

The bridge portion of the route was introduced this year – to partly challenge the participants and to showcase the city skyline.

Their Strategy

For Russell, he was more concerned about not going too fast, keeping to a 4:05 to 4:10 pace.

And for Alex, he didn’t want to inflict more damage on an earlier calf strain – so he didn’t really think too much about strategy.

About the climb

Both of these elite runners thought that the Sundown Marathon was particularly challenging though – but for different reasons.

In Alex’s case, it was the dark sections of the route, particularly at East Coast Park, that made him wonder why he was running at that ungodly hour and not sleeping.

But for Russell, the weather and humidity of the Singapore night almost got the better of him as he still gets exhausted more easily, compared to racing in cooler and less humid climates, such as America or Australia.

Click here to read an interview with Russell on his winning run.

Click here to see what Alex said of his podium finish.


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