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Baaru becomes first runner to retain Safaricom Lewa Marathon title

By - OSCAR PILIPILI | June 30th 2013
Philemon Baaru celebrates winning the 42km Safaricom Lewa Marathon at Lewa Wifdlife Conservancy, on Saturday. [PHOTOS: MARTIN MUKANGU/ STANDARD]


Philemon Baaru entered into history books as the first ever runner to retain his title at Safaricom Lewa Marathon after he won this year’s edition of the competition on Saturday.

Baaru clocked two hours 20:50 to win 42km race during the 14th edition of the annual marathon at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiolo County to bag the Sh150,000 prize money.

Elijah Mbogo completed the challenging course in 2:21.30 to finish second overall and pocket Sh80,000 while Daniel Mbogo crossed the finish line in third position in 2:22.29 to carry home Sh60,000 in the race that was closely contested.

Lewa Marathon his is one of the toughest marathons in the world but the only one where wild animals are privileged to be among the spectators as witnessed by Baaru.

“There were times that there were no other runners in sight ahead or behind me. I always felt very safe, though. I saw one elephant being ushered off the course by a helicopter as we lined up at the start point,” said Baaru after crossing the finish line.

Helicopter mission

The helicopter and spotter plane went airborne as early as 6am to keep away dangerous game and also scare off the big ones.

Thirty-two year old Friday Lodepa who trains in Iten clinched the full marathon race in 2:48.44 to bag prize money of Sh150,000.

Lodepa, who finished fourth in the event last year attributed her success to high altitude training in Iten.“I found the race comfortable because I train in same altitude like the one in Lewa,” she said.

The winner said she will use the prize money to prepare and register in more international events, the immediate one being a meet in Thailand in three week time.

Next stop

“From Lewa my next stop is in Philippines where I will be competing in a meeting in next three weeks,” Lodepa said.

Regina Cherotich (2:50.13) and Monicah Njeru (2:53.29) finished second and third in full marathon.

Perendis Lekapana of Namunyak maintained form to win 21km women race in 1:16.21.

This was Lekapana’s third time to participate in the marathon after she won the 2011 edition and finished runner-up in her specialty last season.

Lekapana who was accompanied by her husband said: “I expected to win because My expectations were very high when I came here.”

Lakapana pocketed Sh50, 000 prize money to crown her achievement.

Lucy Karimi completed the 21km loop in 1:10.06 to finish runner-up and bag Sh25OO0 while Gladys Tarus came third in 1:20.16 that has accompanied with Sh25000 prize.

Jackson Limo won men’s half marathon in a time of 1:06.28 followed by Martin Mwenda in 1:06.26 and Loitarakwai Langsin in 1:06.47.

Safaricom Marathon allows participants from all over the globe to compete in an internationally acclaimed event whilst running through some of Africa’s most breath-taking scenery. 

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