By NIKO TANUI

Kericho,Kenya:Alice Chelang’at overcame stiff opposition to win the fourth edition of the Kericho International Marathon.

Chelangat, who clocked 2:51.07, was awarded Sh1.5 million for her feat in the women’s category where she floored both elite and upcoming athletes from a cross the country.

“I have competed in many marathons abroad but this year I decided to give Kericho Marathon. I am glad that I won. I will now shift focus on the forthcoming World Championships,” said the 2006 World Cross Country silver medalist.

Chelang’at, a veteran runner who has won the Milan Rock and Roll and Nairobi and Florence marathons, pledged to defend the Kericho International Marathon title next season.

Debutant Elizabeth Chepngeno emerged second in 3:06.39 to take home Sh500,000. Chepngeno said she will continue to step up her training at Kapcherop camp in Marakwet a head of the Kass Marathon, which she is looking forward to participating in this year. Roseline David clocked 3:12.46 to emerge third and pocket Sh250,000.

no athlete awarded

Confusion marked the men’s category that saw no athlete awarded. Some athletes had covered 42km while some had run 52km after being misled by the guides. Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said his office will deliberate on the matter and will come up with a decision on how to give awards to the category by Wednesday.

Those who clocked their best in the men’s 42km race are Gilbert Kiptum (2:45.10), Abraham Kirui (2:47.22) and Leonard LANGAT (2:49.35).

DEFEND TITLE

World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet clocked 30:00.8 to defend the women’s 10km title for the third time in a row, a feat which earned her Sh30,000. Pascalia Chepkorir got Sh15,000 after coming second after clocking 30:02.5, followed by Emmy Chepkirui in 30:04.7. She took home Sh10,000.

“The course was wet, muddy and slippery,” said Chebet, who is looking forward to taking part in several road races in India and USA before competing at the national trials where she hopes to secure a slot for the World Championships in Moscow later this year.

Chebet, 25, christened ‘Kericho Express’ told FeverPitch she left participating in the Diamond League races in 2003 due to lack of success.

Josephat Bett, who is also looking forward for a world championships slot in the 10,000m, won the men’s 10km. 

Bett, who trains in Timboroa, clocked 28:58.1 while Boniface Kongin came second in 29:00.8 followed by Leonard Kipkoech in 29:06.2.

About 700 athletes took part in the Kericho Marathon, which was flagged off by Kiplagat and Kenya Tea Board Director Cecily Kariuki.

Kiplagat said AK would set up a permanent committee to handle all the local road races.

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Chelang’atKericho International Marathon.