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Iten to honour stars: Grand reception for London Marathon winners at home

By -PETER OCHIENG’ | Published Wed, April 16th 2014 at 00:00, Updated April 15th 2014 at 23:02 GMT +3

By PETER OCHIENG’

Wilson Kipsang and Florence Kiplagat arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi after competing at the London Marathon on Sunday. [PHOTO: STAFFORD ONDEGO/PICCENTRE]

A big party has been planned in Iten, the home of London Marathon winners Wilson Kipsang and Edna Kiplagat.

Edna and Kipsang live 600 metres apart at Mindililwo on the sidelines of Iten, while women’s runner-up Florence Kiplagat lives a kilometre away on the Eldoret-Iten highway.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos said the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who lined up for her Beyond Zero campaign, is expected to form the galaxy of London Marathoners to be honoured.

“She came and trained with the athletes. She really inspired them to win and the county loves to have her attend the ceremony. We will announce the date soon,” Tolgos told FeverPitch yesterday.

There are also plans to crown the First Lady as a Keiyo woman with the traditional gear and then give her a local heroine name.

Edna, who won the IAAF World Championships marathon in Moscow in August, is expected back on Friday.

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Party mood

“As soon as we get the logistics from committees organising parties for Edna, Florence and Wilson, we will fix the date,” said Shadrack Yatich, the County Executive, Sports.

Kipsang, who broke the World marathon record in Berlin last year, said he felt humbled to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at the finish line in London.

“As a Kenyan, I was proud to see my President in London. Having him there was like the whole nation was there,” Kipsang said yesterday on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Kipsang, who owns Keellu Resort on the Iten-Kaptarakwa road, is a stone’s throw away from the Lorna Kiplagat High Altitude Training Centre.

Interestingly, the hotel is located in the area where world 21km record has gravitated in recent years.

World records

Lorna Kiplagat (66.25) set world record at World Half Marathon in Udine, Italy then Mary Keitany (65.50) set it at Ras Al Khaimah Half marathon in UAE before Florence Kiplagat lowered it at the Barcelona Half marathon to 65.12. The three live within a stretch of 400 metres along the Iten-Eldoret highway.

They train together in Iten and at Kamariny Stadium, which is 500m away from ultra-modern Lorna Kiplagat Sports Academy tartan track.

The grand homecoming fete befits Iten, which is billed as the world’s best athletics training centre slightly better than St Moritz in Switzerland.

 Kipsang said formal school programme played a key role to his athletics success, where physics and biology were his best subjects in high school.

“There are tactics an athlete requires in competition. And you must understand mechanism of the human body…This will assist in setting body stability by shedding off some body weight. It enables the easy movement of the arms to the required pace in long distance running,” he said.


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