Payne set a new SEA record of 2:16.56 at the Frankfurt Marathon last Sunday (Oct 28), breaking the long-standing record of 2:18.44 set by Eduardo Buenavista of the Philippines in the Beppu Marathon in Manila in 2007. Buenavista was a 10,000m Bronze medallist at Asian Championship level.
Payne’s record-breaking run last Sunday also set a new Thailand National Record, smashing the previous record of 2:19.33 set by Jirattikam Boonma in Chiang Mai in 1995.
Payne is a qualified lawyer, but has taken time off his profession to train for the Thailand national team at the recent Asian Games and to pursue Olympic qualification for the marathon.
“After the Asian Games marathon in August 2018, the race took quite a toll on my body. I spent my time recovering at Kata Beach in Phuket to prepare me for my next marathon to try and run a fast time in cooler conditions,” he told The Phuket News this week.
Payne first represented Thailand at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August, when he placed 8th in Asia with a time of 2:24.52.
Most noteworthy is that the mark of 2:16.56 improves his SEA lead by almost eight minutes, explained Andrew Pirie of PinoyAthletics.com in marking the fall of the Filipino-held SEA record.
Payne’s previous Person Best was 2:19.39 set last year also in Germany at Berlin, Pirie noted. (See story here.)
“I am very honoured to have the opportunity to represent the Thailand national team,” Payne told The Phuket News on Tuesday (Oct 30).
“To break a national record that has stood since 1995 is very special and something I can be forever proud of. It gives me confidence to run a faster marathon next year and hopefully qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” he said.
Payne, now 29 years old, is considered as the favourite for the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.
“Soh Roi Yong, the back-to-back SEA Games Champion from Singapore, has ran (2:25.05) this year, his PB is 2:24.55 from 2016,” Pirie explains.
“Payne running 2:16.56 and only placing 8th at Asian Games with 2:24 means the competition at Asian Games level is getting stronger, mainly due to the influx of Arab Nations buying African athletes to run for them and also due to the strong program in Japan,” Pirie notes in his assessment.
However, Payne is looking to set a new record in Thailand before the major medal-awarding internationals.
“Next for me is the Bang Saen international half marathon (on Dec 16). I hope to break the Thailand half-marathon record at that event. It will be amazing if I can do so running in Thailand where conditions are often a little too hot for running,” Payne said on Tuesday.