Victor Kipchirchir came into the fourth edition of Eldoret City Marathon yesterday knowing too well that no previous champion had successfully defended their title.
But he stormed into a historic win, becoming the first Eldoret City Marathon champion to retain their title and walk home with the race’s Sh3.5 million winning prize money, for the second time in a row.
It was billed as a race full of surprises and it lived up to it. Athletes maneuvered the over 60 turns and high altitude, with an elevation of over 2000m.
Kipchirchir had recently indicated that he was preparing for the Vienna Marathon set for April 24, but his decision to take part in the Eldoret City Marathon paid off.
He made a move at the 35km mark and established an unassailable lead all the way to the finish line.
Kipchirchir timed 2:13:10 as Michael Mutai and Josphat Bett placed second and third in 2:13:23 and 2:13:58 respectively.
The pace was slow in yesterday’s race compared to last year’s where Kipchirchir ran 2:08:56, beating Leonard Langat and Emmanuel Bor.
Last year, he became the surprise winner in the third edition of the race that starts at University of Eldoret and ends at the Zion Mall in Eldoret town Central Business District. He clocked
“I had prepared well but I had an injury and so, I was not sure of winning the race,” Kipchirchir said.
The two-time champion added: “Every athlete has his day. Today was my day. I have no race in mind after. I am still waiting for a way forward from my management.”
He said a windy weather in Eldoret yesterday morning lowered the pace in this year’s edition.
Emily Chebet Kipchumba, who surprisingly clinched the women’s title said she was setting her eyes on the World Championships. She is a 5,000m and 10,000m specialist.
Chebet took the women’s crown in a tight race where a leading pack of six marathoners stuck from 8km of the race until about 37km when it whittled down to four athletes.
Kipchumba ran 2:29:58, with Shyline Jepkorir and Lilian Chelagat finishing second and third.
“The competition was good. I had to persevere. I thank God for the win. It was my debut and I am lucky to be the winner. I had trained hard, following my,” Chebet, who finished eighth in last year’s edition of Eldoret City Marathon said after the win.