When the Sh500,000 prize money was dangled for the inaugural Lukenya University One Million Trees Marathon, athletes in their numbers knew their time to get richer had come.
And yesterday in Makueni, Peter Kyengo from Machakos and Hellen Jepkurgat from Nandi made no mistake in their quest to boost their bank accounts after posting vital victories in their respective races.
Kyengo clocked 2:13.03 while Jepkurgat breezed to the tape in 2:40.58 to lift the men and women's 42km races.
The duo was awarded with Sh500,000 each for their feat. While savouring the victory, Kyengo attributed the win to the tough three-month training programme he had at the Machakos Athletics Club.
He said the victory will be a boost ahead of forthcoming international contests in Poland this year.
"The road was rough, the weather was punishing, but I kept pressing on despite two opponents breathing heavily on my neck," he said.
"My plan now is to prepare for the Poznan and Warsaw marathons, which will be held in Poland this year. With this prize money, I'm going to buy a piece of land and put up a structure there very soon," Kyengo said.
Jepkurgat said she was not surprised with her victory as she was expecting a podium finish owing to her rigorous training sessions.
Jepkurgat is now focusing on international competitions in the US.
"I'm just happy to have opened the season with victory, last year I was unlucky as I came third in Bangladesh and Izmir (Turkey) marathons," said Jepkurgat.
"I'm going to relax for two weeks before I resume with my trainings," the mother of two added.
"I will take part in the Grandma Marathon, which will be held in the US on June 15-17," Jepkurgat said.
Vincent Kimaiyo (1:01.18) and Felician Jepkosgei (1:09.43) triumphed in the men's and women's 21km categories.
"I had a good finishing kick; this is what delivered the win for me," Kimaiyo said.
Jepkosgei said she trained for three months in Iten ahead of the marathon.
"It was a tough race, but my confidence steered me to victory. Now that I have gauged my body, I'll go for other international races this season," Jepkosgei said.
Athletes also competed in 10km and 5km fun run.