28 October 2012 – Nairobi, Kenya - It was third time lucky for Wesley Kibet who blessed the course with a new record while Salome Jerono charged away to seal the women’s title in the tenth running of the Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon on Sunday (28).
With overcast conditions proving to be a blessing for the runners, Kibet timed his break to perfection to overcome the three-pronged challenge for top honours in 2:10:40 while Jerono ran the last ten kilometres unhindered as she sealed the win in 2:26:41.
Kibet, who was featuring in his third successive race, injected the decisive kick two kilometres to the Nyayo Stadium finish to relegate Abraham Keter (2:10:50) and 2009 winner here, Moses Kigen (2:11:05) to the minor podium slots.
Ernest Kebenei’s mark of 2:10:54 from last year was also chalked off from the event’s record books by the winner who was simply uncatchable when he set off for the tape after the leading trio shadowed each other from the 33km mark.
His efforts earned him $17,241 (Ksh1.5m) for the win and a further $2,874 (Ksh250,000) bonus for breaking the course record.
“The race was not easy but I had prepared myself well and God did the rest. My coach, Edward Muge, also gave me a good programme that ensured that I had a good finish,” the 32-year-old said.
“I did 2:26 in my first event and I improved to 2:19 last year and today, I surprised even myself by winning and above setting the course record. I went in front when we ran for two hours and Kigen followed me.
“I knew it was not a joke from there since he had won before but in the last two kilometres, I felt stronger and this win will change the lives of my wife and children who have been patient for so long,” the runner, who was dumped by his manager after forgettable races in Germany in 2009, added.
Lanky Keter, who won the 2007 Kass International Marathon in Eldoret, found the strides to catch up with Kigen, who finished 12th at this year’s Dubai Marathon to become the bridesmaid.
“I did my best and I was confident coming to this race but in the end, he (Kibet) proved to be the better runner on the day. I faded a little when they went ahead but recovered to finish strongly,” the runner-up said.
Kigen’s failure to recapture the crown means the event is still to witness a repeat men’s winner since its inception.
“I wanted to make history on the tenth anniversary but I fell short in the closing stages,” Kigen, who placed eighth at the 2010 Boston Marathon, added.
Jerono propels to victory
While the men’s race was won in the last two kilometres, it was apparent from the 32km mark that Jerono was running against the clock after shedding off the challengers.
Her solo run for the tape over the last ten kilometres ended at 2:26:41 as she also pocketed $17,241 (Ksh1.5m) for her victory.
“The weather was fine and after the half marathon, I started pushing the pace with the other leaders but when they slowed down, I decided to go ahead and push it further and in the end, the race was comfortable,” the 30-year-old winner said.
Jerono who trains in Iten is now looking forward for a well earned rest until January when she plans to resume her workouts for next year.
Runner-up Alice Chelagat came home two minutes adrift in 2:28:04 as Mercy Chemutai completed the rostrum in 2:31:30.
Commonwealth Marathon champion Irene Jerotich remains the only repeat winner of the race (2007 and 2009).
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF
1. Wesley Kibet 2:10:40
2. Abraham Keter 2:10:50
3. Moses Kigen 2:11:05
4. Ronald Kurgat 2:11:08
5. Joseph Biwott 2:11:14
6. Elisha Barno 2:11:19
7. Duncan Maiyo 2:11:47
8. Jackson Lokochol 2:11:53
1. Salome Jerono 2:26:41
2. Alice Chelagat 2:28:04
3. Mercy Chemutai 2:31:30
4. Grace Kitonga 2:34:31
5. Caroline Komen 2:35:51
6. Joan Kigen 2:35:54
7. Salome Jepchumba 2:36:57
8. Susan Nyakariega 2:38:30
9. Eunice Chebichii 2:38:58
10. Jackline Kemunto 2:39:34
1. Mathew Kiprotich 1:02:19
2. Joseph Aperumoi 1:02:54
3. Peter Chesang 1:03:03
1. Pascalia Jepkorir 1:08:12
2. Beatrice Cherop 1:12:43
3. Gladys Jepkechei 1:13:13