Debutant Naibei, Jepchirchir win inaugural Iten marathon
Former 1,500m national bronze medallist Samuel Naibei and marathoner Caroline Jepchirchir ruled the roost at the inaugural Iten International Marathon held yesterday in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Transitioning from track to marathon, Naibei — who hails from Mount Elgon — won the men’s race by edging out experienced marathoners like Albert Kangogo to pocket a million shillings.
Naibei said that he used the race as part of his preparations for the Lisbon Half Marathon set for next year April.
“I have had a good time in the race here and I used this race as part of preparations for Lisbon. I have the best time 61:00 set at the Nakuru City marathon, after competing in 21km,” said Naibei.
He held on to the lead to cut the tape in 2:08.43 ahead of Joshua Kogo in 2:2;10.35. Kangogo completed the podium positions in 2:11.46.
In the women’s race, Jepchirchir, who finished fourth at the Porto marathon last year won the race on the road that she is used to training daily.
She said that at the start she felt cold due to the high altitude but at the finish line, she managed to enjoy the hot weather.
“Winning at home makes me feel good. Even though it was not that easy running in two different weather conditions. I had a good speed that is why I managed to beat my competitor with a big margin,” said Jepchirchir.
She timed 2:08.33 for the title relegating Suzy Chemaimak who was second in 2:33.49 with Mercy Kipkemoi completing the podium in 2:35.39.
The event was graced by County and national government officials and top athletes led by Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, Governors Wisley Rotich (Elgeyo Marakwet), Stephen Sang (Nandi), elite athletes led by Eliud Kipchoge, Ezekiel Kemboi, Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei.
Meanwhile Mary Nyaruai and Nicholas Kiplimo are the senior Nyandarua County Cross Country champions after topping their respective races during the competition held in Ol Kalou over the weekend.
Kiplimo who is enjoying top form sprinted to victory with a kilometre of the 10km senior men’s race remaining, clocking a time of 30:30.6.
“I am targeting the national title and hope I will maintain my good form until then,” Kiplimo said.
Fredrick Mwangirwa was second (30:35.6) while Albert Kipkorir was third in 30:45.4 during the Athletics Kenya organised championships held at the Arboretum ground to pick a team to Central region championships slated for January 7th in Murang’a County.
Raphael Longisa (31:13.8), Isaac Mukundi (31:32.1) and Joseph Kamau (31:39.3) who settled for positions four, five and six respectively earned their place in the team.
Mukundi was making a comeback after falling during this year’s national track and field championships at Nyayo stadium, Nairobi, where he broke his left arm.
In the senior women’s 10km, Nyaruai became Nyandarua’s back-to-back champion for the third time after winning the same title in 2020 and 2021.
She won the weekend race in 36:09.0 ahead of Japan-based Esther Wambui (36:20.8) and Beatrice Chepkemoi (36:34.8).
Mary Njau, Tabitha Wamaitha and Jedida Wanjiku finished fourth, fifth and sixth positions in time of 38:51.1, 39:01.8 and 39:37.0 respectively.
In the Under 20 men’s 8km race, Shadrack Tuitoek, James Kariuki and Zephendayo Lenawasa were the podium takers in 24:27.4, 25:05.4 and 25:19.2.
Behind them were David Mwangi (25:27.4), Kelvin Muthui (25:39.1 and Lobeki Egiron, 25:43.6.
Yvonne Chirchir won the Under 20 girls 6km event in 20:54.6 ahead of Regina Naserian, 21:20.3 and Lucy Regina 21:26.4.
Elizabeth Wanjiru 21:35.0, Ann Naikop 22:05.3 and Monica Wanjiru 22:11.2 followed in that order.