NAIROBI, Kenya, October 27 – The 11th Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon had a dramatic conclusion after two athletes claimed to have bagged the main women’s race on Sunday as the marquee Kenyan event once again failed to produce a repeat winner.
Race organisers however, corrected the confusion where 39 year-old Kenneth Mung’ara and Winfridah Kwamboka were announced champions of the men and women ultimate distance showdowns to pocket USD 17,688.00 (Sh1.5m) each in prize money.
Mung’ara whose main focus is to be included in next year’s Commonwealth Games squad in Glasgow, clocked 2:11:40 to tackle the new course one minute ahead of former champion here, Hosea Korir, who was placed second as Barnabas Kipyego clocked 2:14:07 to complete the podium.
It was a monumental effort from Mung’ara following the inclusion of steep inclines in the new course and the punishing elevation of 1,795m above sea level.
“I have been training so hard and today I’m a happy man after winning this race.
“We were running as a pack until before 30 km to the finish when I decided to take over the race and finally here I am the winner.
“I will take a rest and see if Athletics Kenya will include me in the national team for the Commonwealth Games next year because I have never participated in any international event for my country,” said Mung’ara who trains in Limuru.
The corresponding women’s race ended in anti climax when Selina Ariong’onyang was disqualified after she was found to have cut through the course midway with victory handed for former Nyeri Half Marathon winner, Kwamboka who clocked 2:33:18 with hard chasing Florence Chepsoi rewarded with runner-up 2:33:56.
Agnes Chesereck (2:39:17) settled for bronze in the event run under clear sunny conditions in the biggest sporting gathering in the Kenyan capital.
“I was very surprised when I saw her being recognised as the winner yet I didn’t see any female athlete in front of me. It is a case of indiscipline from a runner.
“There is no way a winner can get into the stadium without the crowd noticing her presence but I’m very happy the organisers solved the issue as soon as possible,” said Kwamboka a mother of two who trains in Ngong, upset she did not get the honour of breasting the tape her maiden victory at the event deserved.
“I participated in the Laikipia Marathon which I finished in eighth position and today am very happy to have won this race which is highly recognized.
“The course was very hard but I thank God I managed it,” she added.
Aviong’oyang stood her ground saying that her ‘victory was stolen’
“I am the winner and what has happened here today is demoralising, could it be because I come from a marginalized area?” questioned the athlete who hails from West Pokot.
This is not the first time an athlete is caught trying to cheat at the event with another male athlete disqualified and recently the Sotokoto Half Marathon in Nairobi also witnessed such incident.
The main races started outside Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium at before the athletes turned to Harambee Avenue, took on Kenyatta Avenue all the way to University Way before a turning point at Forest Road, back to Uhuru Highway then Lang’ata Road before entering Mombasa Road and back to Lusaka to finish inside the stadium.
This was in an organiser’s bid to make it a point to point event as opposed to the looped course that was employed in the past three years.
Ugandan Solomon Mutai, fresh from winning the Mombasa International Marathon, stopped the clock at 1:02:55 to win the men’s half marathon, one minute ahead of Joelly Kipkemei who was placed second as Mathew Kiprotich settled for third place in a time of 1:03:36.
“I usually follow the footsteps of world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich and I am so pleased to have won two major marathons in Kenya.
“I hope to make it to the Ugandan national team so that I can run for my country internationally.
In the women’s category Corret Jepkoech (1:11:52) led Agnes Chebet (1:12:14) and Pascalia Jepkorir (1:13:37).
“This is my first time to participate in Nairobi marathon and am now going back to training to sharpen my skills,” Jepkoech who finished second at Ndakaini Half Marathon told.
Winners in the men’s and women’s 21km walked away with USD 1768.80 (Sh150, 000)
1. Mungara Kenneth 2:11:40
2. Hosea Korir 2:12:05
3. Barnabas Kipyego 2:14:07
4. Joseph Biwott 2:14:17
5. Sammy Kiptoo 2:14:21
6. Kiprono Yegon 2:14:23
7. Isaac Arusei 2:14:33
8. Vincent Kiptoo 2:14:50
9. Lazarus Too 2:15:01
10. Simon Tormoi 2:15:51
1. Winfridah Kwamboka 2:33:18
2. Florence Chepsoi 2:33:56
3. Agnes Chesereck 2:39:17
4. Eunice Jeptoo 2:40:28
5. Emmah Oyugi 2:43:11
6. Eunice Lelei 2:44:49
7. Chemtai Rionotukei 2:45:54
8. Rose Jepchoge 2:49:53
9. Pamela Chemurgor 2:52:10
10 Sheila Mbaku 2:52:35