Seasoned long distance runner Matthew Kisorio affirmed his prowess when he tore the hilly course apart to retain the UAP Ndakaini Half Marathon title on Saturday in Muranga County.
It’s the 2006 World Cross country junior Pauline Korikwiang, who staged a pulsating return after two years to storm to victory in the women’s race at the backdrop of the scenic course overlooking Ndakaini Dam.
Kisorio, the 2011 World Cross Country team Kenya captain, Robert Kemboi, the winner of the 2015 Padova Marathon and Justus Kangogo engaged in a thrilling three-horse battle before the 10km mark.
However, Kisorio, the 2008 World Junior 5,000m silver medallist made his move, breaking away the triumph in 1 hour and 05:15 minutes, beating Kemboi from Elgeyo Marakwet by 15 seconds as Iten’s Kangogo settled third in 1:05:47.
Kisorio’s winning time was slower than last years’ by a minute.
“I am happy to claim an easy double despite the tough and hilly course,” said Kisorio, the 2007 Africa junior 120,000m and 5,000m champion who was using the race to prepare for Valencia Marathon due November in Spain.
Ultimately, Kisorio’s desire is to represent Kenya in marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“I gave a shot at the 2015 World Cross Country but I fell short,” explained Kisorio adding that: “I haven’t lost hope since I want to concentrate on road races before eying the Olympic qualification.”
Kisorio, 26, who is targeting subs 2:05 or 2:06 in marathon before the end of the year, has personal best 2:10:58 from 2011 New York City Marathon.
Korikwiang, who flourished in junior ranks before taking maternity leave late 2012, eased off to victory in 1:15:31, beating a star-studded field that included 2013 Nairobi Marathon champion Frida Kwamboka and cross country specialists Gladys Chemweno and Beatrice Mutai.
Korikwiang, who trains in Eldoret, saw off Mutai and Chemweno to second and third places in 1:16:01 and 1:17:19 respectively. Kwamboka wound 11th in 1:21:14.
It was Korikwiang’s first race of the distance, having won silver in 3,000m at the 2005 World Youth Championships and silver over the same distance at the 2006 World Junior Championships.
“It feels great to make a comeback,” said Korikwiang, whose comeback had been hampered by a hip joint injury.
“Let my rivals know that I am fully back and that the injury is no more. I now have a son and I am settled,” said Korikwiang, the 2011 All Africa Games 10,000m and 5,000m bronze winner.
“I now want to focus my energy on track and see if I will secure a place in 10,000m team for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” she said.
Amos Kiptich won men’s 10km race in 30:20, beating Lincon Kirui and Isaac Kipkoech in 30.23 and 30:28 respectively while Josephine Musau snatched women category’s honours in 36:03.
Mary Wambui settled second in 36:32 as World junior 3,000m steeplechase record holder Ruth Bosibori was third in 36:36.
- MEN 21KM
Matthew Kisorio 1:05:15
- Robert Kemboi 1:05:30
- Justus Kangogo 1:05:47
- Hosea Mwok 1:06:24
- Gedion Kipketer 1:06:33
- Pauline Korikwiang 1:15:31
- Beatrice Mutai 1:16:01
- Gladys Chemweno 1:17:19
- Marion Limo 1:18:07
- Jackline Chepngeno 1:19:14