ISIOLO, June 27 – Former Kuala Lumpur champion, Fridah Lodepa entered into history books as the first ever three-peat winner of the women’s race at the 16th Safaricom Lewa Marathon on Saturday at the Lewa wildlife Conservancy.
In the men’s event, Elijah Mbogo who has been a bridesmaid in the last three editions, won the men’s race after clocking 2:20:18, three minutes ahead of Moses Wamaitha (2:23:21) and Cyprian Kiogora (2:24:54) who took the minor podium places.
However, the day belonged to 34-year-old Lodepa who took the honours in 2:50:26, two minute ahead of Monica Muthoni while Rispa Lagat stopped the timer in 2:53:25 to lead the challenger’s home in the tough course for third.
Running under baking conditions of the annual event, categorised as one of the toughest marathons where wild animals are privileged to be among the spectators saw Lodepa, last year’s Mombasa International Marathon winner, once again display her mastery to prevail.
The delighted winner said she will be going for the fourth title next year in the high altitude area.
“The race was okay at least there was no heat like last year, there was not competition because I went 20km all alone to finish. I didn’t find hard since I have been here before so I knew the course very well. I like running in Lewa since there are animals that motivate me,” the mother of two said after crossing the line.
The helicopter and spotter plane went airborne as early as 6am to keep away dangerous animals like lion, rhino and elephants in the Lewa Downs Conservancy where the event is held but Lodepa, who trains in Iten, attributed her success to her spouse and coach Elikanah Ruto.
“We ran together with my husband who keeps me going, so I thank him for taking me this far,” she stated.
The women’s race saw Lodepa come from behind to improve her last years’ time by a minute.
The corresponding men’s race saw Mbogo return to the event for the fourth time, this time running two minutes slower than last year’s winner, Philemon Baaru who set the men’s record after winning the event three times in a row.
Mbogo, started running from behind before breaking after seven kilometres to take charge up to the finish-line and claim his first Lewa title.
“The race was tough because it had a strong field but I was confident of winning since I knew the course very well. The win will motivate me do better in the future. I will now shift my attention to track where I intend to compete in the 10,000m race at the national trials to the World and All Africa Games next month,” 28- year old, who finished seventh at the Thika Green race stated.
Robert Wambua, who finished second last year, won the men’s 21km in 1:04:59 ahead of Morris Munene, who crossed the line a minute later, whilst Nicholas Kamakya settled for third in 1:05:59.
Lucy Karimi dominated the corresponding half marathon women’s event in 1:16:23, a minute ahead of defending champion, Pauline Wanjiku as Samburu-based Pederis Lepakana closed the podium places.
1.Elijah Mbogo – 2:20.18
2.Moses Wamaitha – 2:23.21
3.Cyprian Kiogora -2:24.54
4.Daniel Mbogo – 2:25.18
5.Philip Kigen – 2:31.35
- Fridah Lodepa – 2:50.26
3.Rispa Lagat 2:53.25
4.Alice Nyawira 3:00.25
5.Karungari Wambugu 3:15.18