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Kipchirchir dethrones Mutai

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 8- Upcoming distance runner, Victor Kipchirchir beat Boston and New York marathon record holder Geoffrey Mutai to win the 2012 Sotokoto Half marathon on Sunday.

Commonwealth 10000m champion, Grace Momanyi won the corresponding women race during the third edition of the event at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

Kipchirchir overcame a strong field of seasoned athletes to clock 1:01.45, closely followed by Peter Kimelin a second later while Mutai, the defending champion finished a distant third in 1:02.13.

Momanyi was the women winner after crossing the tape in 1:11.42, Phyllis Ongori who won the inaugural Sotokoto race in 2009 was second in 1:12.57 with Pauline Njeri coming in third in 1:13.9.

Kipchirchir who was runners up to Kimelin during last weekend’s Kabarak half marathon was elated with the win in the race that saw Mathew Kisorio finish fourth.

“It was an excellent run by the three of us but I’m happy with the win especially after beating my rival Kimelin and Mutai and now look forward to make the shift to the full marathon,” said Kipchirchir after the race.

Kipchirchir was in the leading pack with defending champion Mutai and Kisorio as they exchanged places through the race from Uhuru gardens to Mombasa road.

It was until the final stretch where Kimelin who is Kisorio’s sibling joined them but Kipchirchir managed to outpace him in a final fine sprint to the tape.

The race was the most lucrative half marathon in the country with a prize purse of Sh1.2m for the winner but this year, the jackpot was scaled down to Sh250,000, with the second and third place finishers taking home Sh125,000 and Sh100,000 respectively.

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The marathon was not held last year owing to the devastating tsunami that rocked Japan where its main sponsors are based. It is geared towards the promotion of peace and conservation of the environment.

Men 21km
Victor Kipchirchir 1:01:45
Peter Kemelin 1:01:46
Geoffrey Mutai 1:02:13
Mathew Kisorio 1:02:46

Women 21 Km
Grace Momanyi 1:11:42
Phyllis Ongori 1:12:57
Pauline Njeri 1:13:09
Alice Ngerechi 1:14:05

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