Battle lines drawn as champion warns of intent to retain men’s title

[PHOTO: COURTESY]

Hosea Mwok Macharinyang has declared he will defend his title at the 12th edition of Madoka Half Marathon to be held on October 21 in Ngereni, Taita Taveta County.

Macharinyang, currently in intensive training in Eldoret, is confident he will be the first athlete to defend his title in the race history.

“No winner has ever defended the title in this annual race. I am aiming to break this jinx and write history,” Macharinyang said yesterday.

The 28-year-old who hails from West Pokot County added that he was prepared to battle last year’s runners-up Nicodemus Kipkurui and Cosmas Koech, who is fresh from winning the Safaricom Mombasa International Marathon.

Safaricom Mombasa International Marathon women’s winner Shelimita Muriuki has also made her intention known by registering for the race. Other past winners who will be in contention this year are Jackson Ruto and Ruth Kosgei.

Race founder, Marsden Madoka, said the 21km contest is open to both amateur and elite athletes.

“This category will be contested by local and international athletes,” he said. “But we have special categories for local athletes hailing from Taita Taveta County.”

The special categories for the locals he mentioned includes the children’s Under-7, 12 and the junior Under 20 contests.

“Also there will be 10km contest for locals and the veteran run (women over 35 and men over 45 years),” Madoka explained.

Madoka said he is impressed with the race progress especially the feat they realised in the 11th edition last year.

“The 11th edition produced an amazing talent called Panuel Mkungo who is currently based in the US. Mkungo has made us proud by bagging the Philadelphia Half Marathon and the Ontario 30km run in Canada this year.”

While giving the race a clean bill of health in Nairobi yesterday, Athletics Kenya (AK0 Vice President Paul Mutwii said they were impressed with the race organisation which he stated is above par as compared to other contests across the country.

“AK has always been impressed with the consistency. There is no year that the race has missed in the federation calendar since its inception. Besides, athletes are always paid promptly,” Mutwii said.

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