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Baaru repeats at Lewa Marathon

PHILEMON-BAARUNAIROBI, Kenya, June 29- Philemon Baaru defied all odds to become the first athlete to defend the Safaricom Lewa Marathon men’s title, taking it in a time of 2:20:50.

Baaru beat a deep field of elite athletes who braved the early morning start at the 14th edition of the marathon held the Lewa Conservancy.

Baaru, who hails from Nyeri, beat Elijah Mbogo who registered at time of 2:21:30 to take second place while Daniel Muriuki Mbogo stopped the timer at 2:22:29 to seal the final podium place.

Speaking after his victory Baaru who had an injury that forced him to opt out of this year’s National Championships, said he was optimistic of three-peating next year.

“I will return next year to defend the tile again. I have been encouraged by my performance this year and I know I can achieve it again”.

In the women’s category, Fridah Lodepa clinched the honours in 2:48:41 beating Regina Cherotich who breast the tape in 2:50:13 with Monica Muthoni rounding up the top three in 2:53:29.

In the men’s half marathon Jackson Limo beat Martin Mwenda and Loitarakwa with a time of 1:06:25 in the race for victory while Perentis Lekapana scooped the corresponding women’s race.

Lekapana beat Lucy Karimi and Gladys Tarus with a winning time of 1:16:21.

Full marathon winners walked away with Sh150,000, Sh80,000 for second and Sh60,000 for third. Half marathon winners took home Sh50,000 apiece with second and third finishers earning Sh25,000 and Sh10,000 in that order.

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Speaking at the event Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore hailed the calibre of performances in the event.

“This year’s event is particularly important given the marked increase in elephant poaching in the last 24 months which reached a crescendo with the massacre of a family of 12 elephants in a remote part of the Tsavo East National Park early this year.”

Dubbed the world’s toughest marathon, the Lewa race is an annual event which combines fun with social responsibility. Proceeds from the marathon are directed towards social issues such as health, education and conservation.

This year, the marathon was held under the banner “A Tusk Worth Running For”.

The marathon was followed by a prize giving session and a Party in the Wild which featured Daddy Owen, Eric Omondi and Kaytrixx.

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