Non-governmental organisation, Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat and the Taiping Municipal Council jointly organised the first-ever Raintown Half Marathon 2015 on Sunday, August 23. The name “Raintown” was in obvious reference to Taiping’s distinction as the wettest town in Malaysia. The 21-km course began and ended at the iconic Taiping Esplanade.
Response was overwhelming as nearly 6000 participants took part in this inaugural running competition. Foreign participants come mostly from Kenya, Japan, China, Thailand and Singapore. They were very much impressed by the scenic landscapes of this once bustling tin-mining town. The part of the route which was most admired by runners and spectators alike was the one that traversed the picturesque Lake Gardens. It was breathtakingly beautiful, especially during that part of the day when the sun was still mid-way in the horizon.
“Taiping is known for its lush green and mist-shrouded hills. Besides the upcoming heritage trail that consists of over 30 historical sites, this half-marathon is most timely as it’ll help boost the town’s tourism sector,” Datuk Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, told reporters after the prize-giving ceremony. The minister felt that the event deserved to be included in the nation’s tourism calendar.
Mwenda Muthoni from Kenya won the Men’s Open Category completing the 21-km course in 1 hr 8 mins 58 secs. Second runner-up was another Kenyan, Rutto John Kipkorir while local runner, Rani ak Ranai took third spot. In the Women’s Open Category the top 15 winners, surprisingly, were Malaysians. Chew Lay Ling took top honours completing the course in 1 hr 22 mins 12 secs. Julius Kimtai Rotich from Kenya won the Men’s Veteran Category while Women’s Veteran Category was won by Malaysian Toh Hui Sung.
All winners received medals, certificates and cash awards presented to them by the minister. Taiping Municipal Council President, Dato’ Abdul Rahim Md Ariff was present throughout the morning event, which was warmly received by Taiping folks.