MURANG’A, Kenya, September 13 – Only a week after he won the Jaramogi Oginga 15km road race in Bondo in his comeback from a two-year doping ban, Mathew Kisorio has hit the headlines again, this time winning the 11th Ndakaini Half Marathon on Saturday.
The 25-year-old who became Kenya’s highest profile athlete to admit taking banned substances after testing positive for using anabolic steroid at the Kenyan national championships in June 2012, clocked 1:4.50 to win the race while former 3000m Youth Olympics champion Gladys Chesir won the corresponding women race in 1:4.50.
Kisorio a former African junior 5,000m and 10,000m champion showed intent he was out to repair his tainted image managing to conquer the course considered as one of the toughest in the world after leading from start to finish, opening the gap at 10km to the tape to finish first ahead of Hosea Macharinyang’ who stopped the clock at 1:5:51, 14 seconds ahead of Emmanuel Bor who was third.
Immediately after the race Kisorio who said it was difficult staying in the cold for two years, declared he is using the races as part of preparation for his target of breaking the men’s World Half Marathon held by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese who set it in 2010 in Lisbon in 58:23.
“It was not easy staying out of competition for two years, I was found myself in a tough situation but I thank God I managed to maintain my shape. I accepted the situation and I thank my family for standing with me in the trying times.
“Winning Ndakaini is a milestone to me and it has proved that I’m back especially after running in front the entire race something that I was comfortable of. I want to do my level best working together with my pace makers to see that I break the World Half Marathon record,” the Kenya Police athlete announced after the win.
However, Kisorio who will be competing at the Masai Mara Marathon and Nairobi International Marathon before the year ends, urged Kenyan athletes to stay clean and avoid anti doping.
“Let us maintain discipline and avoid using banned substances because I don’t want any athlete to undergo what I went through. We are a country of winners so if we train hard we will win easy as always.”
Chesir on the other hand stamped her authority in marathon after winning in her debut with well clear of runners-up Beatrice Mutai (1:16.11) as Jackline Chepng’eno arrived third 18 seconds later.
“This is my first time running in a marathon and coming in Ndakaini , the place is good because it’s just a high attitude like Iten but the course was tough since it was hilly and sloppy,” Chesir who trains in Iten stated.
Running in sweltering heat, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees, Kisorio and Chesir weathered the hilly Ndakaini terrain around the 21Km course which sits at a high altitude of 2040 meters above sea level.
Both winners in the half marathon event pocketed Sh200, 000 (USD2, 259.9) each.
In the 10Km races, Amos Kaptich improved on his last year’s third position to emerge first by posting 29.24 followed by Frankline Ng’elel with 29.42 and John Lagat completing the podium in 29.45.
Miriam Muthoni dominated the women’s event after stopping the clock at 31.43.00 ahead of Josephine Musau (31:43.01) while Monicah Wanjuhi settled third in 35:12.
The annual event was also used for commemorating the late Olympics winner Samuel Wanjiru who competed in the inaugural edition.
The race was graced by former world beaters led by two time world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba, Beijing 800m Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei, Paralympian Henry Wanyoike and current marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang.
Funds raised from the marathon will be channelled for conserving the Ndakaini Dam, a water reservoir that benefits more than 4 million people majority of who live in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.