Kipchirchir delivers third Eldoret City Marathon victory

Victor Kipchirchir (second right) before winning Eldoret City Marathon 42 km in Uasin Gishu County yesterday. April 21, 2024.[Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Victor Kipchirchir on Sunday made history after claiming a third back-to-back victory at the fifth edition of Eldoret City Marathon.

An unassuming Kipchirchir ruled the streets of The City of Champions, once again, this time tactically outwitting a strong field in the 42.195km showdown run under chilly conditions.

With the third win in a row, the former Valencia Marathon champion becomes the undisputed king of Eldoret City Marathon.

As Kipchirchir was making history with his third title, the women’s race was producing a new champion.

He overcame an injury to win the race in a new course that takes participants in an exciting tour of Eldoret town.

Emily Jeptoo became the fifth winner of the Marathon which has been run since 2018, with disruptions in 2020 following Covid-19 restrictions and 2023 as a result of a sponsorship hitch.

Yesterday, decorated athletes came out in large numbers, with their sights on victory.

Kipchirchir, in a show of tactics, stuck with a chasing pack from the initial stages of the race until after the 35km mark when he unleashed a blistering speed.

The 2022 Buenos Aires Marathon winner holds the Eldoret Marathon course record of 2:08:56 recorded at the 2021 edition.

He timed 2:12:49 to claim victory in the 2024 edition, beating Felix Kipsang who came in second in 2:12:52 and Evans Kipruto (2:13:16) who closed the podium.

Samuel Naibei, the inaugural Iten International Marathon winner made a move in the second half and sustained the momentum but ran out of gas before the 30km mark.

Naibei started slowing down on the hilly sections of the course in Kapsoya.

“I came into this race with an injury but at 33km, it became clear to me that I was headed for a victory, and I went for my third win,” Kipchirchir said after his triumph.

He said he had the home advantage and had run on the streets of Eldoret two times before yesterday’s contest.

“I was running at home. I jogged from home to the start line and I am happy for the win,” said Kipchirchir. He went on: “I have no race in mind this season. I am still waiting for my management to see whether I can compete later in the year.”

Kenyan athletes took the first 11 positions in the men’s marathon.

At the 12th place, Ugandan marathoner Abraham Kiplimo became the top foreigner in the category.

His compatriot Paul Simotwo finished 25th while Ethiopian Legese Debebe finished 46th as the race lived up to its billing as an international race.

The women’s marathon was also characterised by tactical games.

The race’s 2024 champion Emily Jepkemoi waited until 35 kilometres to establish a comfortable lead as she made a return to Eldoret town Central Business District after a tour of Mwanzo, West Indies, Pioneer, Langas, Elgon View and Kapsoya.

Jepkemoi, who won the 2022 edition of Kakamega Forest Marathon sealed her place in the history of Eldoret City Marathon after clocking 2:30:13. She comes from West Pokot and trains in Kapsait.

“I am proud of the achievement. I was set to participate in the Paris Marathon two weeks ago but I did not travel after I failed to secure a visa. I decided to compete in Eldoret because I had already trained,” Jepkemoi said at the finish line.

She went ahead to say: “The race was tough due to the chilly conditions in the morning. After 15km, it became slightly warm and I gained momentum.”

She said she was focused on taking part in an international race later in the year.

Akeno, who finished fourth at the 2022 edition of Iten Marathon emerged second in a time of 2:31:21 while Joan Jepkosgei clocked 2:31:21 for the third position.

Eldoret City Marathon selected results

Men

  1. Rotich Victor Kipchirchir 2:12:49     
  2. Mutai Felix Kipsang 2:12:52    
  3. Kipruto Evans 2:13:16      
  4. Kiplagat Onesmus Kiplimo 2:13:19   
  5. Kimeli Edwin Kiptoo         2:13:44     
  6. Chelimo Elias Kemboi 2:13:53 
  7. Kipkemoi Bernard 2:14:19
  8. Korir Kenneth 2:14:24     
  9. Chemweno Betthwel Kiprono 2:15:00        
  10. Kemboi Wilfred     2:15:21
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