14 NOV 2009 General News Kapenguaria, Kenya

Kimtai and Rionotukei triumph in Tegla Loroupe Peace Race

Kenneth Kimtai, winner of the 2009 Tegla Loroupe Peace Race (David Macharia)Kenneth Kimtai, winner of the 2009 Tegla Loroupe Peace Race (David Macharia) © Copyright

A junior runner, Kenneth Kimtai, 18, resisted strong opposition from seasoned runners to win the elite senior men 10Km race of the 7th edition of the Tegla Loroupe Peace Race (TLPR) held Saturday (14) in Kapenguria, Kenya.

The win restored confidence in Kimtai who after finishing 62nd in the 2005 edition kept away from the event because he believed it was too difficulty for him.

The runner, 14th at the national trials for the Amman World Cross early this year, who won in just over 32:04.95, said, “Since 2005 I have not ran in this race. I only came to see if things will be different for me.”

He was elated to have resisted late surge by two former winners of the race, Elias Kemboi (2005/2007) and David Plimo (2003/2004). Kemboi finished second in 32:07.9 and Plimo third in 32:19.2.

The senior women event was taken by Chemtai Rionotukei, 23, who clocked 34:51.9. Rionotukei was a Kenyan representative at the 2002 World Youth Championships where she finished eighth in the 3000m, and at the 2003 World Cross in Lausanne and ant the 2004 World cross in Brussels, where she finished ninth and fifth respectively in the junior races.

It was an improvement for her after finishing sixth in the TLPR last year. She beat Ruth Chemsto to second place in 34:56.4 and third was Rosemary David who clocked 35:22.0.

The race founded by former Marathon queen Tegla Loroupe to foster peace among warring pastoralist communities in northern Kenya has been a special event that brings together diplomats, political and religious leaders, warriors who run in traditional attire complete with shoes made from old tires and elite athletes who wear racing singlet and sneakers shoes.

Among the top dignitaries who attended this year’s event included U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger was here for the fourth year running, Russian Ambassador Valery Egoshkin, Kenya’s Sports Minister Hellen Sambili and Ugandan Minister for Basic Education Peter Lukoris.

The men’s warriors’ 10Km race was won by Pkemoi Defas in 36:27.3. He was followed by Benson Kakugo 37:14.2 and third was Psirat Keseton in 38:17.9.

The women’s warrior’s race went to Caren Cheptoek in 41:23.7 who finished ahead of Valentine Mukung, 42:25.4 and Scofic Chepteng’an 43:39.9. There was also a 2Km race for children.

David Macharia (Daily Nation) for the IAAF