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SPORTS

Kibet and Lodepa among favourites ahead of today’s Standard Chartered Marathon

ATHLETICS By Ochieng Oyugi | October 31st 2021
Friday Lodepa on her way to winning the 2015 Lewa Marathon. [File]

Finally, the big day is here! A new set of millionaires will be crowned in the 18th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon today.

The race, to be held along the Southern Bypass route in Nairobi, will see 2,500 elite athletes battle for glory to be part of the Sh11.5 million purse money that has been allocated for winners of different categories.

The men and women’s 42km champions will each walk away with Sh2 million.

Among those who have travelled far and wide to try their luck in the energy sapping contest is former Taiyuan Marathon champion Chemtai Rionotukei.

The 35-year-old mother of two is already inspired by her second place finish in 2019. Rionotukei believes the preparations she has had in the last four months in Iten will propel her to the top of the podium in her fifth attempt.

In the mix is the five-time Safaricom Lewa Marathon champion Fridah Jepkite Lodepa.

After bagging three Standard Chartered Marathon titles abroad, decorated Lodepa, who has been training in Iten since August, feels time has come for her to win the version of the race at home.

The 38-year old mother of three prides herself as the Standard Chartered Bangkok (2007 and 2010) and Kuala Lumpur (2009) marathons champion.

Former Mossel Bay Marathon champion Peris Jepkorir Kiprono, who tasted the podium in 2017 when she finished third, has one mission which is to improve on her personal best that currently stands at 2:35:00.

Despite several withdrawals, men’s 42km category is set to be lit with half marathon and road run specialist Erick Kibet Kogo being among the favourites.

Kogo will miss cutthroat rivalry from former 10,000m world U-20 champion Rhonex Kipruto and Tokyo Olympian Daniel Simiyu who have withdrawn from the race on personal reasons.

Paralympics 5000m record holder Henry Wanyoike has also given the athletes bold advises on what to do to emerge victorious in the prestigious race.

Participants are required to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.

The start and finishing points of the race will be at the Carnivore Grounds and will also feature other different categories including 10km, 21km, 21km Wheelchair Race, 42km Corporate Relay.

Apart from the Physical Run, there’s the virtual marathon, that started on Monday and will end today which targeted 13,500 participants.

“This year, we have introduced a hybrid marathon that has both physical and virtual runs,” said Peter Gitau, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee.

“It has been good to see such great uptake and participation in the virtual run from individuals across the world, truly tying into this year’s theme which is Run as one. 

“ We thank our runners, partners and community for their continued support for the race. We look forward to presenting a great running experience for both our virtual and physical runners across the world.”

The physical race start timings will be as follows: 21km Wheelchair Race–6.50am, 21km–7am, 42km–7.15am, Corporate Relay-7.30am and 10km–8am.

The marathon makes a comeback this year after it was cancelled in 2020 due to unprecedented challenges brought about by Covid-19 and the containment measures required.

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