Nicodemus Kipkurui and Joan Chelimo are the winners of the 9th edition of the Safaricom Kisii Half Marathon.
Running in cold and wet conditions, Kipkurui clocked 62:39 minutes to win the men’s race while Chelimo crossed the finishing line in 72:25 to win the women’s edition as the event live up to it’s reputation of producing new winners every year.
The 24 year old father of one who trains in Iten took charge of the race at Getare on the Kisii-Chemosit road with five kilometres to the end and never looked back, relegating early leaders Nobert Kigen and Emmanuel Bor to second and third places.
“I tried to urge them on because when you run as a group, it’s easier but when I saw that they are not willing, I decided to go for it. I’m happy I won the race,” Kipkurui said.
While dedicating the win to his wife Scholar Chemutai, Kipkurui added: “The course was good and the weather perfect which is similar to where I train.”
Kigen finished second in 62:56 while Bor was third clocking 63:13. Kipkorir Birir returned home fourth in 63:16 with Edwin Mokua taking the title of the first local runner to cross the finishing line in fifth place. Mokua clocked 63:19 ahead of Bernard Ngeno ( 63:19 ) while race favourite Sammy Nyokaye finished a distant seventh in 63:26.
“Last year, I finished second but I’m unhappy with my performance here. However, I will not rest but continue to train hard,” said Mokua. was sixth while Last year’s winner Joseph Koech pulled out midway through the race after suffering a stitch.
Chelimo winner of Prague half Marathon in April triumphed in the women’s category after clocking 72:25 minutes, followed by Joy Kemuma ( 72:35 ) while Lydia Njeri was third crossing the finishing line in 73:50.
Chelimo, the fourth fastest woman in half marathon said: “I’m happy for the win despite running in a hilly course. I enjoyed running in Kisii for the first time.”
She dedicated the win to her husband Jullan de Maria and daughter Arriana Kechei. “The two have supported me throughout my athletics career,” she said.
Experienced marathoner Georgina Rono settled for fourth in 73:52 as Risper Chebet came home fifth in 73:59. Another veteran runner, Caroline Kilel, was relegated to sixth in 74:69.
Last year’s winner Philes Ongori finished 15th. She said she was using the event to prepare for Rochelle marathon in France on November 25.
Winners in each category received Sh100, 000 with runners up getting Sh50, 000 and third placed athletes Sh30, 000. Top three finishers in the masters and children’s events also received cash awards. The race started and finished at Kisii Primary. It took the athletes to Omogonchoro in Nyamira County then back to Kisii County.