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Chelang’a, Kipchirchir soar in Kericho

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CHELANGA-KERICHOKERICHO, Kenya, May 10-Alice Chelang’a Kimetto successfully defended her Kericho International Marathon women’s title as 2012 winner Felix Kipchirchir Kandie dominated the men’s race during the fifth running of the event Saturday.

Unlike last year, the course was properly measured to the required 42.195km distance after some of the competitors ran up to 52km with organisers earning a stern rebuke from Athletics Kenya (AK).

Running in cold and chilly conditions, the reigning Kass International Marathon champion floored 2011 Boston winner Caroline Kilel to cut the tape well ahead in 2:39:10 ahead of her closest challenger who clocked 2:45:60 for second.

“I had prepared well for the race and I’m so happy to defend my title because there was stiff competition. I was with the leading pack that was led by Kilel and half way she opened the gap but I was able to close and take charge up to the finishing line.

“Today the weather was fair compared to last year where we were affected by the sun and confusion of the route. I feel good having won in the presence of my fans and family since this is my home town. I will not run in any race until October where I will decide the next race I will take part in,” Chelang’a who finished fourth at this year’s Vienna City Marathon said.

Kandie reclaimed his place at the middle step of the podium after pulling away from her rivals with 2km having failed to finish in his title defence last year.

“I’m very happy to come back and win the race after I dropped out last year even though it was not easy. We ran together until 40km where I decided to take off after I saw my competitors struggling.

“I had the advantage since I was familiar with the course. For now I will rest and maybe compete again in October since my target is to run two marathons in a year to improve my time,” the 26 year-old who finished second at the 2012 Sydney Marathon who took the honours in 2:17:20 said.

Ernest Ng’eno (2:18:50) was comfortable in second as Ronoh Kipkoech (2:19:40) completed the podium.

Over 700 athletes participated at this year’s event with AK South Rift chairman, John Wachira saying they had to repair the bridge that was washed by the heavy rains last year which according to him was the main cause of athletes missing the route.

“Everything went well and I’m glad we were favoured by the rain. We could not change the course since it was measured and approved by IAAF officials so next year we plan to make it bigger and more competitive.”

Both winners walked home with Sh1.5m (USD 17,201.87) in prize money each.

LEADING RESULTS
MEN
1. Felix Kandie 2:17:20
2. Ernest Ng’eno 2:18:50
3. Ronoh Kipkoech 2:19:40
4. Boaz Kipronoh 2:19:50
5. Bernard Kitur 2:21:20
6. Samwel Kibiwott 2:22:10
7. Fredrick Kemboi 2:22:20
8. Barnabas Kipyego 2:22:50
9. Rodgers Melli 2:23:40
10. Daniel Kosgei 2:24:30

Women

1. Alice Chelang’a Kimetto 2:39:10
2. Caroline Kilel Cheptanui 2:45:60
3. Elizabeth Rumugol 2:47:60
4. Isabela Jepchumba 2:53:30

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