Singapore marathon 'winner' admits he cheated

SINGAPORE, December  5, 2013 (AFP) - A pastry chef who stunned Singapore marathon organisers by being the first local runner across the finish line admitted he cheated -- and has been doing so for years, a report said Thursday.

Father-of-one Tam Chua Puh, 43, caused consternation when he finished Sunday's race several minutes ahead of Singapore's finest distance athletes in a time of 2hr 46min.

However, Tam admitted he had run only six kilometres (3.7 miles) of the 42km race before giving up due to knee pain and taking a short cut straight to the finish line.

Bespectacled Tam, wearing a baseball cap, baggy shorts and a knee brace, was initially declared the winner before organisers, after a hasty check, disqualified him for missing all the check points.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Tam said he simply wanted to make sure he could collect his medal and T-shirt for finishing the race.

And he revealed he'd also cheated in the last two Singapore marathons, in which he gave up halfway and then hitched a lift from medical vans to near the finish.

"I am sorry if I offended anyone. I never thought I would create so much inconvenience for the organisers," Tam told The Straits Times.

He added: "I never thought about going home midway. It would have been like giving up."

Mok Ying Ren, who will compete for Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, was the fastest local runner in a time of 2hr 54min. Kenya's Luka Kipkemboi Chelimo won the race in 2hr 14min.