Kimitei and Kipketer clinch First Lady Half Marathon top honours

Monday March 7 2016

Wilfred Kimitei on his way to winning men's race during First Lady Half Marathon on March 6, 2016 at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Wilfred Kimitei on his way to winning men's race during First Lady Half Marathon on March 6, 2016 at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Wilfred Kimitei and the 2013 Amsterdam Marathon champion Valentine Kipketer are the winners of the third First Lady’s Half Marathon.

Kimitei, 30, from Iten tactically broke away from the pack of five athletes with 2km left to win the men’s race in a course record time of 1hr38secs on Sunday.

He shaved off 50 seconds from the previous time held by Moses Kosgey, who won last year’s race in 1:01:28.

“I weighed their strength with 6km to go and I knew this was my race. I thank my thanked his coach Dan Ng’etich,” said Kimitei, who also won the 10km Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon last year.

Over Sh200 million is expected to be raised from this year’s race for the “Beyond Zero” campaign.

The top eight athletes ran under the previous course time with Hillary Kipchumba from Kaptagat coming home second in 1:00:40 and the 2013 National Cross Country champion Philemon Rono sealing the last podium place in 1:00:42.

Kipketer, who won the 2013 Mumbai Marathon edged out Joyceline Jepkosgei in a sprint finish to claim the women’s victory in 1:09:05 against 1:09:09.

BOSTON MARATHON

The victory gave Kipketer, who is also the 2011 Berlin Half Marathon champion, the momentum she requires as she prepares for the Boston Marathon scheduled for April 18.

Japan-based James Mwangi retained men’s 10km title in 29:24.14 while the 2015 Laikipia Half Marathon winner Keringet’s Jackline Chepng’eno got the women’s honours in 33:27.4.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta finished the 10km race in 1:43:02 followed by Deputy President’s wife Rachel Ruto a second later while Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame clocked 1:43:17. They were accompanied by former Kenyan athletics greats Catherine Ndereba, Edith Masai and Lorna Kiplagat.

“The remaining 11 counties will now get their mobile clinics,” said Kenyatta.

Deputy President William Ruto, who was accompanied by, among other athletes, Olympics 3,000m steeplechase gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi, cleared the 10km race in 1:00:23.