Marseille Cassis Road Race champion Mercy Kibarus outclassed other runners to win the Eighth Shoe4Africa Women’s Road Race in Iten on Monday.
Kibarus clocked 16 minutes and 45.79 seconds to come out top in the five-kilometre race while Valentine Kibet finished second in 16.57.32 and Diana Chepkemoi was third in 17.01.47.
In a battle of resilience by young and seasoned athletes, close to 1,000 women runners braved the cool breeze from the Keiyo escarpment that perfectly blended with the Christmas carols seeping through speakers at the race venue.
It was all sporty as cyclists embraced their dodgy skills on the edges of the meandering course, while paragliders ruled the air space with a breathtaking display from the skies, thrilling and stunning sports lovers in this athletics-rich town.
Jepleting Busienei, the recipient of an ipad from race organisers as the leading athlete who hasn’t competed outside Kenya, came fourth in 17.05.1.
Gladys Kwambai (17.10.07), Cynthia Limo (17.11.93), Hellah Kiprop (17.12.94), Florence Chepsoi (17.15.17), Irene Jebet (17.16.51), Magdalene Chemjor (17.17.62), Esther Jemutai (17.18.32) and Ruth Matebo (17.20.16) followed in that order.
After failing to impress in Tuskeys Wareng Cross Country, Kibarus said she was waiting to show her opponents a clean pair of heels. “I have been training well for the race, although I wasn’t quite confident I would emerge as the winner, considering that the free registration encouraged other great road racers to participate,” said Kibarus.
The winners took home $500 (Sh42,500), with $300 (Sh25,200) for second place and $200 (Sh17,000) for third, with the prizes trickling down to 12th place.
Athletics Kenya vice president, Jack Tuwei, said AK would work closely with Shoe4Africa’s founder Toby Tanser to introduce a children’s fun run in the coming years.
“This race has played a critical role in nurturing girl-child athletic talent, only that the very young line-up with seasoned runners,” Tuwei said.
“We will be introducing a children’s run in due course, all in close partnership with Shoe4Africa.”