Eldoret City Marathon stars have gone ahead to rule global contests

Judith Jeptum Korir, of Kenya, and Gotytom Gebreslase, of Ethiopia, compete during the women's marathon at the World Athletics Championships Monday, July 18, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon.[FILE/AFP]

They came to Eldoret City Marathon, finished in podium spots and then went ahead to dictate proceedings in well-oiled global races.

In Eldoret, they walked away with their millions in prize money, and the City Marathon, one of the highest paying races in Africa, propelled them to stunning victories and performances abroad.

This Sunday, hundreds of athletes will be eyeing a share of the race’s Sh18 million purse as they fine tune for other international marathons later in the year.

Judith Korir who finished second in the 2021 edition won a world silver medal in Eugene a year later.

A resilient Korir had gone ahead to clinch victory in a tactical Abu Dhabi Marathon, establishing herself as a marathon star to watch.

From inaugural winners, former Boston Marathon champion Sharon Cherop and Elkanah Yego, and to the defending champions, Victor Kipchirchir and Emily Chebet, the race has birthed champions.

“The race motivated me in 2018. I encourage budding athletes to take part because that is the kind of race where top managers spot talent. It will change your life and career, especially if you make it to the top 20. It will even be much better if you will be make it to the podium,” Cherop told Standard Sports in an interview.

Since 2018, legendary Cherop has gone ahead to cruise to glorious podium positions in big marathons.

The 2010 Toronto Waterfront 42km champion is fresh from a runner-up spot at the Hannover Marathon in Germany on Sunday. She finished behind German Domenika Mayer and ahead of countrywoman Lilian Jebitok.

She had cruised to a jaw-dropping victory at the 2020 Lagos Marathon in 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions.

Cherop was also the runner-up at last year’s Buenos Aires Marathon.

Beijing marathon winner Valary Aiyabei is another decorated Eldoret City Marathon champion.

Aiyabei was the winner of the second edition of the Eldoret City marathon in 2019 and has written history after taking home the race’s Sh3.5 million top prize.

She continued the stellar show after dictating the women’s show in Eldoret.

The former Nagoya Women’s marathon champion won the Doha Marathon in February. She won the Frankfurt marathon in 2019.

Victor Kipchirchir, who successfully defended his 2021 title in the last edition in 2022 said Eldoret City Marathon prepares participants for tougher road race contests in major cities.

“The prize money helped me train better. That is why I encourage more athletes to register for this year’s race. It was a breakthrough for me,” the 2016 Vienna Marathon champion said. 

The Eldoret City Marathon competition, Kipchirchir says, prepared him for his 2022 Buenos Aires 42km victory.

He also clinched a third place at the 2023 Doha Marathon.

Before his inaugural Eldoret City Marathon win, Yego was little known in the athletics sphere.

Former Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir had mentored him ahead of the Eldoret showdown.

Aiyabei, in a show of strength, emerged victorious a day after an emotional funeral of her nephew.

On Monday, Eldoret was getting ready for another electrifying marathon.

A tree planting exercise that will bring together sponsors will mark the event’s Climate Action initiative at the Eldoret Sports Club, tomorrow.

Sponsors are running an ‘Adopt an Athlete’ campaign that looks to sponsors upcoming marathoners who have set their sights on writing history on Sunday. ([email protected])

ACTIVITIES AHEAD OF THE SUNDAY RACE:

Climate Action event on Wednesday April 17

Close of registration – Thursday April 18

Collection of BIB numbers – Saturday April 20

Race day: Sunday April 21

Starting time: 7.00am

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