Mubarak Shami en route to victory at the 2006 Baringo Half Marathon (David Macharia) © Copyright
General News Kabarnet, Kenya

Shami defends Baringo Half Marathon title

World Half Marathon silver medallist Mubarak Hassan Shami of Qatar ran a tactical race to successfully defend his Safaricom Baringo Half Marathon title today (7 January).

New difficult course

Shami, who was edged by less than a second in Edmonton by Fabiano Joseph for the World title last October, took command of the race in the last five kilometres and upped the pace that enabled him to keep his opponents at a safe distance. Shami, the former Kenyan Richard Yatich, clocked 1:06.55.

In addition to his runner-up performance in Edmonton, the 25-year-old Shami's solid 2005 season included a pair of Qatari National records in the Marathon: first a 2:12:20 clocking to win in Vienna last May, then a 2:09:22 win in Venice in October.

The race, organized by the World Marathon record holder Paul Tergat, attracted a field of about 300 athletes who braved the hot sun and the hilly course's sharp bends. This year's race featured a new course for the event.

Shami described the new course as very tough. The race started near Baringo airstrip that is located in the north west of Kabarnet town and the runners made several laps in the streets of the town before finishing at Baringo high school ground.

"The course was tough because of hills and sharp bends and windy at some points," said Shami, adding that he was using the race to prepare for April's Flora London Marathon.
 
In second place was Kipyego Kirui who clocked 1:07.16, 30 seconds ahead of David Koech from Koibatek who was timed at 1:07.46. Paul Limo of Nandi's Solo club took fourth position in 1:08.30, with Philip Kiptoo from Ngong in fifth in 1:08.38.

Kenya’s commissioner for sport Gordon Oluoch flagged off the runners and among the spectators were many international athletes including Olympic 3000m Steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi, 5000m World champion Benjamin Limo, two-time Boston Marathon winner and 1991 World 10,000m champion Moses Tanui, World 3000m record holder Daniel Komen, and marathoners Joshua Chelanga and Sammy Korir among others.

Tough women's 10Km course as well
 
The women's 10Km attracted nearly 100 runners where an emerging Half Marathon star Caroline Kiptoo carried the day.
 
Kiptoo, winner of Laayoune Half Marathon in Morocco last November with personal best of 1:10:18 from last October's Prenda half marathon in Holland, clocked 41:25.23. The modest time confirmed the difficulty of the women's course. She said the race started on a fast pace with a group of five athletes taking an early lead in the first four kilometres before she joined them at the 5Km mark.

"From that point I started controlling the pace, breaking away sometimes to see their reaction," she said. Florence Chepkosgei finished in the second position in 41:46.77 and third was Viola Bor in 41:53.04.

David Macharia for the IAAF


Selected results -

Men -
1. Shami Mubarak (Qatar) 1:06:55
2. Kipyego Kirui (Bureti) 1:07:16
3. David Koech (Koibatek) 1:07:46
4. Paul Limo (Solo) 1:08:30
5. Philip Kiptoo (Ngong) 1:08:38
6. Jacob Yator (Iten) 1:08:45
7. Noah Serem (Solo) 1:08:49
8. Vincent Kiptoo (Iten) 1:08:51
9. Samson Cheboswony (Kabarnet) 1:08:52
10. Kenneth Kemboi (Iten) 1:09:00

Women's 10Km -
1. Caroline Kiptoo (Iten) 41:25:23
2. Florence Chepkosgei (Iten) 41:46:77
3. Viola Bor (Iten) 41:53:04