Resilience and focus came into play yesterday as Kennedy Ochieng and Stephanie Fernandes from France triumphed in the national duathlon championships at Mama Ngina Waterfront, in Mombasa.
The duo braved morning drizzles to power to victory in the event that Kenya Triathlon Federation used to select athletes for the Africa Duathlon championships scheduled for Rwanda from December 8-14.
The participants were drawn from Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa, Machakos, Narok, Nairobi, Nandi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kiambu and Murang’a. The athletes ran for 5km, cycled for 20km, then ran for 2.5km.
Ochieng, who comes from Marakwet, led from the start, just as a pointer of his intentions in the event.
Ochieng clocked 58 minutes 55.33 to book a ticket for the Rwanda championships. He won last year’s under-24 years duathlon in Spain.
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“The coursed was well maintained and the weather favoured us. I believe I'm not at my best because I have not been training well due to Covid-19 restrictions but I will embark on vigorous training to prepare for the continental event,” said Ochieng.
David Ndatha of Kiambu was second in a time of 59:37.56 while James Mwaura from Narok was third after clocking 59:47.46.
Last year's men runner-up Gideon Rutto from Nandi was relegated to fourth position in a time of 1:01.41.
In the elite women category, Stephanie, who competes in France, clocked one hour 13.56.54 for victory, beating Kenya’s Mercy Fwande to the second position in a time of 1:14.54.53.
Kenya’s top junior triathlete Jossette Njeri was third.