Iten’s Robert Ndiwa braved a chilly morning to beat a strong field to win the third edition of the Embu Red Cross Half Marathon at Embu Stadium on Sunday.
Ndiwa, who is preparing for the Berlin half marathon ran neck-and-neck with Jimna Kariuki, constantly exchanging the lead, before kicking with 200 metres to go to finish in 1 hour 13 minutes and 15 seconds.
Kariuki was two paces behind in 1:13:17, while Peter Njoroge was a distant third coming in after 1:14:3 hours.
In the women’s race, Judith Sum easily claimed the first position in 1:26:05 seconds ahead of familiar rivals Alice Kamunya (1:26:36), and Cynthia Kosgey (1:26:38).
Ndiwa, who mastered the hilly and rugged course that was three kilometres longer than the normal half marathon length, expressed confidence that he would set a good time in the upcoming Berlin marathon that he intends to compete in.
Sum also declared her interest in running in the Berlin half marathon, saying winning in the high attitude grounds of Embu had given her massive doses of confidence.
“It was a tough course especially on the rough road. I knew I would win after emerging from the final hilly side on the lead,” said an ecstatic Sum. In the 10,000 race, Hellen Ekalale was in a class of her own, beating her closest opponent by over 300 metres.
Ekalale who trains in Ngong, pulled off from the pack after the 3,000 metre mark, and never looked back, finishing the race in 39:20 minutes. Mary Njau was second in 40:12 while Agnes Mumbua returned third in 40:45 minutes.
Betty Karambu shook off fatigue of arriving from Meru minutes to the race, to beat a crowded 5,000 metres field.
The Meru national polytechnic student said she was racing for charity. Stanley Irungu emerged the winner in the men’s category.
The event was organised to raise funds for Jomo Kenyatta home for children with physical disability.
Mt Kenya region Red Cross co-ordinator Gitonga Mugambi said the home had 40 pupils and had sponsored over 1,000 for various courses.