Kenya’s Panuel Mkungo and Monicah Ngige took honors at the 28th edition of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon that was held on Saturday (16) in Duluth, Minnesota, United States.
Mkungo who hails from Eldoret wasn’t thrilled with a fourth-place finish a year ago and was determined to make amends.
The 24 year-old broke from a three-runner group just past nine miles and powered away to cut the tape in 1:02.50.
“After last year, I was not happy. I said, ‘I have to come back and win this race,’ ” said Mkungo, who ran 1:03.45 in 2017. “I was slowed a little bit [Saturday] because of the weather. I was cold; I was not getting warm. My target was to run 1:01.”
United States Fernando Cabada took second in 1:03.22.
In the women race Ngige who had been recently told by her sponsor, Nike, that if she improves on her race times that would mean a paycheck, not just shoes and clothes. She took that to heart and pushed herself to the limit to cut the tape in a new personal best of 1:09.55.
“They give me the Nike gear, but they give me the option (to make money),” she explained. “If you run this half-marathon, get a good time, then they pay me. I hope they (are pleased with the result).”
The winners both earned $3,000.