Runners from Kenya broke course records at the 2nd Matsu International Marathon on Saturday to clinch top place in both the men's and women's race held on the offshore island of Matsu.
Cosmas Kimeu Mukuthi completed the 42-kilometer run in 3 hours, 12 minutes and 58 seconds in the men's race, while Dorcas Jebotip Tarus took the women's title in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
The records by Mukuthi and Tarus surpassed those of last year's winners - Kenyan runner Richard Mutua Mutisya, who won the men's event in 3 hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds and Taiwan's Chen Li-chu (???), who took the women's title in 4 hours, 8 minutes and 10 seconds.
Mukuthi told reporters after the event that the Matsu International Marathon was difficult and took him more time to complete than most marathons because of its difficult terrain. He said he usually runs the marathon in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Mukuthi praised the beautiful scenery of Matsu and said he would be back next year to defend his title.
In the half marathon races, Huang Shih-chang (???) won the men's race, completing the 21km distance in 1 hour, 27 minutes and 9 seconds, while Tseng Su-ching (???) clocked 1 hour, 42 minutes and 59 seconds to win the women's event.
Tseng set a new record for the women's half marathon by beating the 1 hour, 53 minutes and 46 seconds of last year's winner Cecilia Wayua Michael from Kenya.
Lin Chao-te (???) and Ho Hsiu-feng (???) also broke course records to win the men's and women's 10km race, respectively. Lin clocked 42 minutes and 37 seconds, while Ho finished in 51 minutes and 24 seconds.
The previous 10km course records for men and women were 47 minutes and 13 seconds and 57 minutes and 10 seconds, respectively.
The top three finishers in the marathon received NT$50,000 (US$1,589), NT$25,000 and NT$20,000, according to the organizers.
The top three in the half marathon received NT$25,000, NT$15,000 and NT$10,000, while the first three finishers in the 10km run received NT$5,000, NT$3,000 and NT$2,000.
The races took runners through historic sites, such as Tunnel 88, an abandoned military tunnel that is now a wine cellar and Beihai Tunnel, which was used as an underground wharf for supply boats by the Republic of China (Taiwan) army in the 1960s.
Runners also passed by Iron Fort, where Taiwan's amphibious reconnaissance team used to be stationed, and The Queen of Heaven Temple, which is dedicated to the worship of Mazu, Goddess of the Sea.
A total of 1,500 took part in this year's races, organizers said.
Former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) jogged with the runners for a few kilometers to show his support for the annual event.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel