Palau Omal Marathon a success despite the rain. (Aimeliik State)

Palau Omal Marathon was a big hit despite soaking rain that lasted most of the event on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

Over 500 hundred runners in Palau’s first internationally certified marathon ran probably the wettest marathon event, spurred on by excited volunteers and spectators from late afternoon to early evening this past Sunday.

Marathon runners from around the world joined the event to set new records for themselves, with Lauri Raunio from Finland winning the first Belau Omal Marathon with a time of 3:08:04 followed by Hugh Tibbs of the United Kingdom with a time of 3:17:48 and Alex Chuo of Taiwan coming in third with a time of 4:09:04.

Winning the women’s marathon was Su Ya Liu at 3:35:03, followed by Ya Ni Cheng in second place at 4:02:2 and Poni Wui in third place at 4:05:02.

For the half marathon, Mancoba Nhlabatsi of the country of Eswatini, Africa, won first place with a time of 1:11:48, followed by Juihsiang Tien of Taiwan with 1:18:38 and third place winner, Carlos Alejandro Gonzales Servian with a time of 1:19:38.

For the women, Tinghsuan Lai of Taiwan won first place at 1:36:34, followed by Saori Ishida of Japan in second place at 1:53:54, and Youngran Han in third place at 1:59:44.

For 10K, there were two first-place winners, Tingwei Zeng, and Huafan Huang, both with a time of 37:34. In second place was Wei-bo Xu with a time of 40:58, and Peace Adaba (from Palau) with a time of 47:54.  For this category, the fourth place went to another young Palauan runner Kraven Ngirchomlei with 49:54 time.

For the 10K women’s race, Christina Muller-Karanassos won first place with 51:39 time.  Hiromi Ito won second place with 53:34, and Nikisha Smith got third with 55:27 time.

For men’s 5K, Palau’s own Steven Rdechor came in first with a time of 23:18, followed by Chuan Yong Ye with 23:25 and Pei Hung Huang in third with 24:52.

Awards were given to the top five runners of each category after the race at the KB Bridge.

As an internationally recognized and certified marathon event, the individual records from the Omal Marathon can be used to qualify the runners for international competitions such as World Athletic Championships or Olympics.  None of the records set at this event, though, meet the minimum qualifying standard for the World Athletics Championship 2023 in Budapest, Hungary, in August 2023.

The Omal Marathon event, as envisioned by the Palau government,  will serve as qualifying grounds for marathon runners around the world as well as an added attraction that Palau offers its visitors.

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