Emmanuel Bor from Nandi County and Purity Gitonga from Meru are the elite athlete winners of the inaugural Mt. Kenya Mountain Running Championships held on Saturday at the Kenya School for Adventure and Leadership (KESAL) in Meru County.
The event, which was the first of its kind in the country, featured six race categories namely; the 2km family fun run, the 6km junior run for girls, 8km junior run for boys, the 12km amateur race for both men and the 12km elite category race for both men and women. There was also the corporate team’s.
Bor clocked 46mins and 20 seconds to win the men’s event. Gitonga finished with a time of 53mins and 13 seconds to claim the honours in the ladies’ category.
Martin Magu and Denis Kemboi were the first and second runners-up for the men’s category, while Lucy Wambui and Esther Waweru finished as the first and second runners-up for the women’s category.
For their efforts, Bor and Gitonga banked Sh500,000 each while the second and third-placed finishers took home Sh250,000 and Sh100,000 each.
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Meanwhile, Kelvin Kariuki took the title for the 8km junior category races for boys after clocking 33minutes and 32 seconds while Meshark Lechomoi and Frederick Ngoyoni were the second and third runner’s up.
Susan Wahome from Nyeri County won the 6km junior girl’s category while Otiso Salome and Mariqueta Mihiga finished as the first and second runners-up. The corporate race was won by Loro Maric ahead of Kenya Methodist University and Meru Daily who took second and third positions.
The race, which was graced by among other top dignitaries, Meru County Governor, Kiraitu Murungi, Kisumu County Governor, Anyang Nyong’o and dignitaries from the European Union, will see its proceeds go towards supporting the establishment of the Meru Cancer Center at the Meru Level Five hospital for research and support for cancer patients.
Speaking during the prize-giving ceremony, Governor Kiraitu Murungi, expressed his gratitude to all those who took part in the organization of the event and for ensuring that it was a success.
“This event could not have been possible without all the amazing runners, volunteers, sponsors and supporters who were part of the event and on behalf of the Meru County government, I say thank you to everyone,” he said.
“I am so grateful for all those who believed in our course and chose to partner with us since the beginning. All the corporate sponsors, participants and the organizing teams both from Meru and Nairobi have been so helpful and I can’t thank you enough,” he added.
Speaking at the same occasion, Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, a cancer survivor, said: “If you’ve not been affected by cancer yet, just know that you are a candidate for it and therefore any efforts that can help fight the disease must be fully supported.”
Mountain running is a common sporting event in most parts of the world that takes place mainly off-road in mountainous terrain. It is mainly a combination of running, jogging and walking, depending on how steep the trail is. The sport is however not very popular in Africa with the Mt. Kenya Mountain Running being the first time such an event is held in the country.