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New millionaires: Upcoming athletes steal the show at StanChart race

By -JONATHAN KOMEN | October 28th 2013


From left Samuel Mwangi, Julius Mbufa, John Lerono, Paul Kimani, Charles Kemboi and James Ngugi display their medals.

New talents Kenneth Mungara and Winfred Kwamboka emerged tops at the 11th Standard Chartered Marathon in Nairobi.

Yesterday, Mungara and Kwamboka returned to the annual competition — which was staged on a new course — hopeful to improve on their previous performance at the StanChart showpiece and have their names entered into the millionaire club.

The two were a cut above their opponents as they oozed pure class, thrilling the thousands of fans among them several dignitaries that included Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, winning Sh1.5m prize each.

But the men’s and women’s 10km race and women’s 42km contests were marred by confusion, causing protests from the affected athletes.

It was particularly sweet for Mungaru, who has been struggling to earn Standard Chartered Marathon silverware both locally and abroad.

He has competed in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (2010) after winning the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2009.

Mungara, who comes from Limuru, formed the leading pack of 11 runners which had a sizeable number of new names among them Hosea Korir, Barnabas Kipyego and Joseph Biwott.

The 39-year-old but evergreen Mungara broke away from the 30-kilometre mark, producing a sudden burst of pace that separated the boys from the men to win in an impressive two hours, 11 minutes and 40 seconds – a fairly fast time for a high altitude marathon.

Korir (2:12.05), Kipyego (2:14.07) and Biwott (2:14.17) came in second, third and fourth as Sammy Kiptoo (2:14.21), Kiprono Yegon (2:14.23) and Isaac Arusei (2:14.33) followed.

Vincent Kiptoo (2:14.50), Lazarus Too (2:15.01) and Simion Tormoi (2:15.51) sealed the top ten spots.

dictated pace

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Mungaru dictated the fast pace upto 15km before Korir dropped and Kipyego, Biwott and Kiptoo stuck in tow.

The father of three exchanged the lead with Korir and Biwott and then charged back with a super-finish to go past the flagging Kipyego, who drifted back to third place. Mungaru, who has competed in the Marathon in 2006, said: “I entered the race with feelings that I would win the race. I had prepared well despite having performed poorly in the many half marathons that I entered. I am now setting my focus on the Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow, Scotland) next year.”

But Korir, who hails from Chebarus Village in Nandi Hills, said he would crown the year with the runner-up finish.

Things did not, however, work well on the women’s front, with anomalies detected in the 10 and 42km races.

Kwamboka, a Kisii-based athlete, proved that her brilliant wins in local road races –Laikipia (21kms)and the Geothermal half marathon in Nakuru this season–were no fluke.

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