NAIROBI, Kenya, October 26 – Peter Kosgei and debutant Eunice Jeptoo are the 2014 men and women Stanchart Nairobi Marathon champions that unfolded on the streets of the Kenyan capital on Sunday under warm conditions.
Each took home Sh1.5m (USD16,764.47) for clinching the honours in punishing elevation of 1,680m above sea level in the annual event organisers declared attracted 17,000 participants where 500 took on the ultimate distance.
It was a sweet victory for Kosgei who cut the breast the tape in a close contest, stopping the clock at 2:12:24, two seconds ahead of Elisha Kipruto Barno while 2012 Kass International Marathon winner Weldon Kirui completed the podium in 2:12:44.
Jeptoo completed the course in 2:43:05 well over a minute ahead of pre-race favourite and former African 10,000m silver medallist, the veteran Irene Kwambai (2:44:16) as Janet Cheruiyot (2:44:33) finished third.
After several attempts to win local marathons, Kosgei and Jeptoo staged brilliant performances tackling the course that was flagged off outside Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium before heading to Uhuru Highway, Lang’ata Road, Mombasa Road before turning back to finish inside the stadium via Bunyala Road.
Kosgei finds winning kick
The podium finishers were part of the leading pack that ran together until 37K when they dislodged themselves from the competition before entering the stadium with 20 seconds separating them as Kosgei, who was inspired by neighbour and 2011 double world champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, finding the extra gear to kick for glory.
“I’m surprised for the win. I came here expecting a top 20 finish but I am grateful to have registered my first marathon win. I think I am beginning to actualize my dreams. I really wanted to be an elite athlete and I one day visited Vivian for pieces of advice, which she assured me that victory is attainable,” Kosgei who was runners-up at the 2012 Kass Marathon said.
Kosgei 30, faced stiff challenge from Barno who entered the race from finishing third at this year’s Hong Kong Marathon, with the latter saying the days of winning a marathon by a huge gap is gone.
“Marathon has become very competitive nowadays, but hard work and self belief made me achieve this. The leading pack of about seven opened up the race midway but I managed to close the gap at about 35km before five dropped to leave the three of us but Kosgei pushed on to win,” the 26-year-old declared.
The corresponding women’s 42km race saw the return of Kwambai after a two year absence, but the Kenya Defence Forces corporal based in Mariakani trailed fellow soldier Jeruto who uncorked a near gun to tape performance.
“It feels great to beat experienced athletes like Kwambai. I’m so proud I managed to win today having started in front and went on to finish first because I had the energy,” Jeptoo a Kenya Defence Forces attached to Nyali stated.
“The race was good though there was a little bit of heat. Everybody was strong and it’s by God’s grace that I finished second,” 36-year-old Kwambai said.
In the men’s 21km, Barselius Kipyego dominated the race on his debut over the distance in 1:03:12 ahead of Edwin Kipatanui (1:03:29) while Dominic Kipng’etich closed the podium (1:4:18).
Lydia Simiyu from Ngong won the half marathon women’s event in 1:14:52 as Eunice Kioko Mumbua (1:15:40) and Peninah Wanjiru (1:16:02) finishes second and third in that order.
Both the 21km winners received Sh150, 000 (USD 1,677.85).
1. Peter Kosgei 2:12:24
2. Elisha Barno 2:12:28
3. Weldon Kirui 2:12:44
4. Tanui Kiprop 2:14:10
5. Duncan Maiyo 2:14 31
6. David Chepkwony 2: 15:07
7. Moses Kandie 2: 2:15:56
8. Shadrack Kipkogen 2:16:11
9. Joseph Biwot 2:16:29
10. David Tarus 2:16:38
1. Eunice Jeptoo 2:43:05
2. Irene Kipchumba Kwambai 2:44:16
3. Janet Cheruiyot 2:44:33
4. Leah Kiprono 2:46:50
5. Details not captured 2:46:54
6. Hellen Koskei 2:48:02
7. Joan Cherop 2:49:25
8. Jane Jesang 2:55:36
9. Ivonne Cherop 2:56:48
10. Sheila Mbaku 2:58:01