KERICHO, May 9 –Barnabas Kibii and First Lady’s Half Marathon champion Georgina Rono, won the sixth Tea For Health Kericho International Marathon on Saturday to take home Sh1.5m (USD 15,725.07) each.
Rono a third finisher at 2012 Boston Marathon battled the hilly and sloppy course inside the tea plantation to win her second local race in 2:35:12, three minutes ahead of Beatrice Cherop while Philomena Chepchirchir who returned to competition after serving a six-month doping suspension closed the podium in 2:38:59.
Kibii who finishing 26th last year, dominated the men’s race in 2:17:42, two minutes ahead of Joseph Ngeny as Vincent Tonui clocked 2:19:28 to take the bronze position.
The women’s race saw Chepchirchir compete in her first race after being suspended by Athletics Kenya for testing positive for banned substances at the 2012 Prague International Marathon where she finished second.
“I’ve just called Athletics Kenya vice President David Okeyo and he has confirmed she (Chepchirchir) was cleared so there is no problem,” race director Japheth Kimei told Capital Sport.
In a relatively slow race that saw athletes battle warm conditions, Kibii managed to breakthrough at the halfway mark after running in a pack of six to win his first career marathon title.
“After doing badly last year, I prepared well this time and by God’s grace I won. The course was not tough to me since I knew it. I’m planning to race in Germany next year,” Kibii said after breasting the tape ahead of all challengers.
-Wire to wire-
The women’s race saw Rono, complete an almost wire-to-wire victory, surging ahead of the competition after only three kilometres to motor unchallenged for the crown for her second domestic victory inside a month.
“The race was tough because I had to maintain the lead after opening the gap so early but my experience helped me win. The race had worthy competitors the likes of Chepchirchir but I had to do my best,” Rono who is preparing for Frankfurt Marathon in the fall stated.
Gilbert Maasai won the men’s 10km race in 29:32:2 ahead of Kenneth Kopech (29:44:8) as Izack Kipkoech came third in 29:49:9.
The corresponding women’s race dominated by Rose Chelimo who clocked 34:39:9, to beat Caroline Chepkemoi (34:57:0) and Betty Wilson (35:04:6) to the podium.
1.Barnabas Kibii 2:17:42
- Joseph Ngeny 2:19:12
- Vincent Tonui 2:19:28
- Moses Kigen 2:20:29
- Edwin kibet 2:20:30
- Weldon Kirui 2:20:35
- Moses Loluk 2:21:7
- Alex 2:21:40
- Julius Tuwei 2:21:50
- Fredrick Kemboi 2:51:52
1.Georgina Rono 2:35:12
- Betrece Cherop 2:38:39
- Phelomena Chepchrichir 2:38:59
- Rosina Kibiwott 2:45:05
- Naomi Chepng’etich 2:47:58
- Naomi Chebonei 2:48:20
- Vicoty Chepkemoi 2:49:10
- Harriet Chebore 2:50:57
- Lillian Matelong 2:51:59
- Irene Jerop 2:53:44