Beijing Marathon champion Valary Ayabei and Copenhagen Half Marathon champion Daniel Kipchumba were winners of the inaugural Rimoi Kamnarok half Marathon race yesterday.
The duo braved high temperatures in the race run in the Kerio Valley. It began at Salawa in Baringo County with the finish line in Biretwo, in Elgeyo Marakwet.
Ayabei who, in September, wrote history by winning the Beijing Marathon – a race that has never been won by a Kenyan woman since 1989, clocked 1:11.20, followed by Antonina Kwambai.
Naomi Chepng'etich closed the podium in 1:12.50.
Kwambai, the Lille Half Marathon champion posed a strong challenge, maintaining a close chase, almost denying Ayabei the crown.
“The course was hilly and the temperatures were high. I was in the leading pack with my training mates but opened the pace because I like teamwork,” The 2017 Volkswagen Prague Marathon champion said after winning.
Aiyabei said she was using the race as speed work in preparation for next season.
She won the 21Km title in the Standard Chartered Half marathon in October and had won the Iten Safaricom 10km in August.
It was an easy win for Kipchumba, who crossed the finish line in 1:02.57, holding Noah Kipkemboi (1:03.15) and Mathew Kemboi (1:03.31) to the second and third places in the men’s category.
Kipchumba, who came in second during the Iten Safaricom 10Km in August, said he was using the race to prepare for Prague Half Marathon in February next year.
He trains in Iten under the management of Global Sport Communication.
“I suffered a stitch and could not keep up with the pace but regained strength later and changed gears in the last kilometre. I thank my competitors," said Kipchumba. [Stephen Rutto]