Upstarts lap up Tea run honours
Posted Sunday, April 15 2012 at 00:13
- Debutants Kandie and Kirwa win marathon races in Kericho as World Cross junior medallist Korir and Chebet wear the 10km crowns
Upstarts Felix Kandie and Eunice Kirwa on Saturday won the second edition of Tea Board of Kenya International Marathon in Kericho.
Africa Cross Country junior silver medallist Japhet Korir and former World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet Muge, both from Kericho area, also shone in 10-kilometre contests at the high-stakes road race.
Winners went home with Sh1.5 million, runners-up Sh500,000 and second runners-up Sh250,000 prizes. Individual category 10km winners pocketed Sh30,000, runner-up Sh15,000 and third-placed Sh10,000.
The athletes thrilled the huge crowds – which included Prime Minister Raila Odinga, three Cabinet ministers and local MPs – as they braved a sweltering heat in the tea plantations.
Kandie, winner of last year’s Kigali Peace International Marathon in Rwanda, blasted off at the 25-kilometre mark into the lead with Patrick Cheruiyot, Dominic Kipng’etich and Paul Korir close behind him.
The 25-year-old Kandie then stepped up the pace to stroll to victory in two hours, 17 minutes and 38 seconds, ahead of Cheruiyot (2:18.5), Kipng’etich (2:19.13) and Korir (2:20.6).
Peter Chesang (2:23.25), Charles Mutai (2:23.3), Daniel Keitany (2:33.4) and Shadrack Tanui (2:23.50) followed in that order.
The victor, from Uswa Village near Iten, said: “It was a tactful race and I decided to maintain my pace from the start since I wanted to cross the halfway point at between 59 and 60 minutes.
“But I could not because of the steep and sloppy course. At 25km, I opted to take an early lead for fear of a high pace at the finishing point.
“I never had problems with the weather since I trained in Iten for the race, attending training sessions in mid-hot weather in February.”
Kandie has a 2:17.06 personal best time posted in Rwanda.
Second-placed Cheruiyot however said a stomach upset forced him to slow down midway.
Homeboy Korir, the 2010 World Cross junior bronze medallist, was in pure class winning the 10km in 30:01.0. Richard Kiprop (30:02.1), Philemon Cheboi (30:09.3) and Mathew Kimutai (30:24.5) followed.
Korir said he was preparing for the July 10-15 IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Never expected victory
Eunice Kirwa, who trains in Kapsabet, shrugged off stiff opposition to win in a slower 2:41.2 ahead of new catch Alice Chelang’at (2:46.8) and Jane Kangara (2:51.1). Ndabitha Kibet (2:52.3), Jackline Nyangeri (2:54.0) and Purity Kimetho (2:57.0) followed.
Marathon debutant Kirwa, 27, said: “The course was hard, and I never expected victory in first 42-kilometre competition.”