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Nik Fakaruddin Ismail (right) finished the men’s marathon in first place with 2 hours, 40 minutes and 53 seconds while his wife Nur Amelia Musa finished the women’s in 3 hours, 18 minutes and 51 second. NSTP/MIKAIL ONG

GEORGE TOWN: A local married couple stole the headlines today by separately winning the 2019 Penang Bridge International full marathon, Malaysian category.

Nik Fakaruddin Ismail finished the men’s marathon in first place with 2 hours, 40 minutes and 53 seconds; while his wife Nur Amelia Musa finished the women’s in 3 hours, 18 minutes and 51 seconds to clinch the top spot.

Thirty-three-year-old Amelia – a police officer working in Kuala Lumpur – was participating in the full marathon for the second time. Last year, she came in second.

"My husband motivated me, pushed me and made sure I was in full spirit for the marathon.

"Even though we (work at different locations), whenever we have the time, we train together.

"Alhamdulillah, after a year, our efforts have borne fruit and we won it together," she said after receiving her winner's trophy and RM5,000 in prize money, today.

Thirty-four-year-old Nik Fakaruddin – who is a soldier based at Pusat Cemerlang Olahraga Tentera Darat Mss Sungai Besi in Kuala Lumpur – is also no stranger to marathons.

The fit army man’s win this year is his fourth in a row.

Nik Fakaruddin said that his training is similar to that of other runners – however, he places extra focus six weeks prior to a race.

"The diet within the six weeks is as important as the training.

"I cut down on spicy food, sweets and also cold beverages as preparation for the marathon every year," he said.

About 25,000 people took part in the annual Penang Bridge International Marathon, which was flagged off by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow near the Queensbay Mall, early today.

Meanwhile, the winners’ podium for the full marathon open category was dominated by Kenyans.

Peninah Kigen won the women's category after finishing in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 50 seconds; while Moses Kiptoo Kurgat clinched the top spot with 2 hours, 20 minutes and 5 seconds for the men's category.

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