Phillip Kigen after winning the 10th edition of Lewa Safari Marathon in Meru. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Phillip Kigen won the men's 42km marathon at the 10th edition of Lewa Safari Marathon on Saturday. Mercy Kwambai, 35 and a mother of two won in the women's category.

The race through the Lewa Conservancy in Meru attracted 1, 200 runners and is meant to raise funds for wildlife conservation.

Kigen who emerged second behind Peter Wahome last year, came home in 2:19:06. Kigen had finished in 2:24:53 last year.

Kigen was all smiles at the finish after the gruelling race.

"It was a tough race, with some hilly areas and running on the tough terrain and all the dust on the course, but I am happy I won," said Kigen, 37 and a father of two.

He said he was determined to win it this time around. "I had prepared well this time," he said.

Kigen who made his full marathon debut in 2015 in Marrakech (Moroco) said he was preparing for another marathon in Italy.

"I had not prepared that well last year. This was my best time since I made my marathon debut in 2015," he said.

Kwambai who was running her first full marathon in Kenya after making her debut in Nigeria, said it was a difficult race as she posted 2:48:35.

"It was not easy because there were so many hills," she said.

She run her first full marathon in Nigeria and won in 2:38:00 and with the Lewa Safari marathon in the bag she is now setting her eyes on Europe.

"I am now going to do more training because I am planning to run a marathon in Germany," she said.

John Mitei and Isaack Koech were second and third, respectively in the men race.

Zeddy Jerop followed Kwambai home in 2:52:54 as Fridah Lodepa emerged third.

The winners got Sh150,000 and a Huwaei phone and other gifts, with the second placed ones getting Sh80,000 and other prizes.

The other top placed participants also got various amounts.

Among participants were Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, Chairman Michael Joseph and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss Shollei.

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