When Yobes Ondieki, the first man to run a sub-27-minute 10,000 metres, offered Peter Kariuki Wanjiru free training sessions at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, the former world record holder had spotted potential many hadn’t even considered.
Six months after joining Ondieki’s camp, the 25-year-old Kariuki, from Thangathi village in Mukurweini, Nyeri district, is now reaping fruits of good coaching from the man who broke the first sub-27 minute world 10,000m record by running 26:58.38 at the Bislett Games is Oslo on July 10, 1983.
Field of 345 men
Kariuki won the inaugural Safaricom Nakuru Half Marathon peace race on Sunday clocking 59:53.69 as the first two across the line dipped under the hour mark with second placed Robert Korir timed at 59:54.30.
“I sincerely thank my coach Ondieki who invited me to train with him at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret because his tips have enabled me to win today’s race,” said a beaming Kariuki who beat a field of 345 men.
Kariuki, who had travelled from his rural home said he nearly missed race registration after arriving at the Afraha Stadium only to be told the starting point was at the Railways ground some two kilometres away.
He said he enjoyed the flat course which was run around the town and its outskirts attracting huge crowds not aware of the race which organised to promote peace in the cosmopolitan town which was badly affected by the post election violence. Kariuki said he was now targeting the Safaricom Lewa Marathon title as he seeks to graduate to the full marathon.
In the women’s 10km race, 21-year-old Naomi Chepkogei from the Kapkitony Training Camp in Eldoret came top when she beat 78 runners to go home Sh20,000 richer. “I only heard about the race over a vernacular FM station on Friday and decided to try my luck,” said Chepkogei who won the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon in Tanzania in February.
Chepkogei, running in Nakuru, for the first time, clocked 34:33.4 to beat veteran Alice Timbilil who has just arrived back home after winning the Rome Ostia road race last month. The winner, who trains with coach William Kiplagat, said the course was unfamiliar as she is used to the hilly courses of her home town, Eldoret.
Timbili, ninth at the 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Udine, Italy, said she was satisfied with the second position (34:33.8) adding that she was using the Nakuru race to prepare for a series of road races abroad. Safaricom’s public relations manager, Washington Akumu, said his company would continue sponsoring similar sports competitions targeting the youth who form more that half of the mobile telephone service provider’s clientele.
Results: Men 21km race: 1. Patrick Kariuki Wanjiru 59:53.69, 2. Robert Korir 59:54.30, 3. Kurui Chesang 60:03.78, 4. Thomson Cherogon 60:33.00, 5. David Langat 60:37.77, 6. Laban Kaniu 60:38.70, 8. Geoffrey Kipsang 60:41.52, 9. Nixon Kiprono 60:48.50, 10. Stephen Kurui 60: 53.99.
Women’s 10km race: 1. Naomi Chepkogei 34:33.4, 2. Alice Timbili 34:33.8, 3. Esther Chemai 34:34.3, 4. Gladys Jebet 35:23.0, 5. Chemtai Rionotukei 35:38.5, 6. Ruth Matebo 35:58.8, 7. Jane Kangara 36:08.4, 8. Joan Rotich 36:13.5, 9. Susan Kiplangat 36:24.1, 10. Mary Ann Wangare 36:30.8.