NAIROBI, March 6 – Wilfred Kimitei and 2013 Amsterdam winner Valentine Kipketer dominated the third First Lady’s Half Marathon in Nairobi on Sunday.
The star of the show and the country’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta completed 10km in 1:43:02, after shifting from the 21km where she has a course record of 3:24:55.
In humid conditions, Kimitei, the reigning 10km Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon champion and Kipketer received Sh750 000 for taking the honours at an event where over 40, 000 participants, including elite runners, dignitaries, corporate teams and fun runners, took command of the Kenyan capital.
Kimitei toppled a deep field to cut the tape in 1:00:38 after deploying the afterburners on closest challenger, Hilary Kipchumba, who crossed the line two seconds later with 2013 national Cross Country champion Philemon Rono completing the podium in 1: 00:42.
Victory gave Kosgei the motivation he needs to make a strong impression at a 10km race in Netherlands where he intends to compete in April.
“We ran as a pack of five until we reached 2km to the finish, I decided to sprint since I saw they were getting tired,” the 30-year-old , who hails from Eldoret said after the win.
In the women’s showdown, Kipketer who won the Mumbai Marathon in 2013, demolished a loaded line-up to claim the title ahead of Joyceline Jepkosgei who settled second in 1:09:09 and 2014 Great Bristol Half Marathon winner Gladys Yator, who finished distant third in 1:10:36.
Pre-favourite 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Grace Momanyi faded to seventh after returning 1:11:12
Iten based Kipketer was using the race to prepare for the April 18 Boston Marathon.
“The race was tough, I was running from behind but when we passed the 10km mark, I increased the pace to catch up with the leading pack of 10.
“The group was broken down to five and that’s where I sped to overtake the leader and go all the way to the finish line. This is my first time to compete in this race and I can say it has really helped me work on my speed work as I prepare for Boston,” the 29-year-old asserted.
James Mwangi defended the 10km title (29:24.4) as Jackline Chepng’eno dominated the women’s race (33:27.40).
There was a huge buzz around the Nyayo National Stadium finish when Ms Kenyatta, breast the tape alongside Rwanda First lady Jeannette Nyiramongi Kagame.
She had Steeplechase great, two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi, former women’s world marathon record holder Catherine Ndereba and three time world cross country champion in short race, Edith Masai in her stellar entourage.
Deputy President William Ruto, who also participated in the marathon promised to fight doping after Kenya was put in World Anti Doping Agency watch list following the increasing spike of doping cases in the country.
Other notable personalities who ran include the Deputy President’s wife Rachael, Cabinet Secretaries Hassan Wario (Sports, Arts and Culture), Joseph Nkaisery (Internal Security), Cleopa Mailu (Health) among others.
The event supports the Beyond Zero campaign that is an initiative aimed at raising funds to equip mobile clinics in the 11 remaining counties.
- Wilfred Kimitei 1:00:38
- Hillary Kipchumba 1:00:40
- Philemon Rono 1:00:42
- Richard Mengich 1:00:45
- Simon Kirui 1:01:02
- Vincent Kipchumba 1:01:16
- Edwin Cheruiyot 1:01:17
- Stephen Chemai 1:01:25
- Francis Kiplagat 1:01:28
- Alpha Maringa 1:01:29
- Valentine Kipketer 1:09:05
- Jocyline Jepkosgei 1:09:09
- Gladys Yator 1:10:36
4 Naomi Maiyo 1:11:00
- Rodha Jepkorir 1:11:09
- Zeddy Jerop 1:11:11
- Grace Momanyi 1:11:12
- Lillian Chelagat 1:11:48
- Eunice Kioko 1:11:53
- Pauline Eskon 1:12:29