Fancied international runner Philemona Chepchirchir and homeboy Peter Kariuki Wanjiru emerged the new champions of the 2010 Tetu Half Marathon at Wamagani, Nyeri County, on Sunday.
In the men’s duel, pre-race favourite Philemon Gitia only managed a second runner-up finish behind winner Peter Wanjiru and Tetu-based Bernard Mureithi.
On a hot sunny morning, Chepchirchir, a mother of two, outran a high-profile field to post victory in 1 hour 21 minutes 33 seconds. Limuru-based international road runner Hellen Mugo clocked 1:23.15 to be second.
Chepchirchir, 32, described the course as ideal for build-up due to its challenging nature but lamented the hot weather and dusty roads.
“The competition was tough. I took charge of the race in the 16th kilometre when I broke off from a six-woman pack. We kept alternating with Hellen for two kilometres but I managed to outpace her in the final stretch,” said Chepchirchir.
Building up for marathon running
Hinting that she is building up for marathon running, the winner said that this year alone she has ran in Ndakaini Half Marathon, finishing in 12th position, while in the international arena she posted her personal best time in winning the Utrecht Half Marathon in the Netherlands.
Wanjiru, 27, who trains in Eldoret, displayed a good fight as he clocked 1:07.26 as, breathing down his neck, Mureithi posted 1:07.52. Leaping behind was Gitia with 1:08.49.
“I was afraid since some of my fellow competitors had been on the course before. My secret was to relax on the hill and speed up on the flat areas and I thank God it worked for me,” said Wanjiru.
A beaming Wanjiru said he will use the Sh50,000 cash prize to start a sports spikes-selling business back in his village for his upkeep.
“This is my second half marathon after Nakuru earlier this year, where I registered a 59:54.12 PB. I hope to do better in my future races since I’m looking for a manager too,” he added.
James Maina of Rware Secondary School and Eunice Muchiri from Mukurweini became the new 10km champions.
The race, which was graced by the area Member of Parliament, FT Nyammo, and the Nation Media Group Chief Executive Officer, Linus Gitahi, was sponsored by NMG, Tetu CDF, Equity Bank and Co-operative Bank, among others.
Men – 21km: 1.Peter Kariuki, Mukurweini, 1:07.26, 2.Bernard Mureithi, Tetu, 1:0752, 3.Philemon Gitia, Mathira, 1:08.49;
10km: 1.James Maina, Rware Secondary, 32:79.90, 2.Charles Ndung’u, Ziwani Boys, 32:44.36, 3.Bernard Kimani, Fountain of Hope, 32:56.35;
Women – 21km: 1.Philemon Chepchirchir, Embu, 1:21.33, 2.Hellen Mugo, Limuru, 1:23.15, 3.Jackline Musyawa, Makueni, 1:23.24, 4.Kellen Waithira, Tetu, 1:23.49;
10km: 1.Eunice Muchiri, Mukurweini, 32:52.14, 2.Elizabeth Njeri, Mirangiine, 40:01.22, 3.Caroline Muthoni, Nyeri, 41:38.21