Kigen and Jeptoo win Eldoret race
By Joseph Ngure
Rock N Roll Marathon champion Moses ‘Manpower’ Kigen and little-known Prisca Jeptoo beat a strong field to win the third edition of Family Bank Eldoret Half Marathon on Sunday.
In the absence of defending champion Solomon Naibei Busiendich and 2005 World Junior Cross-country bronze medalist Barnabas Kosgei, Kigen beat more than 800 athletes, to finish in 66: 50.3 seconds in a new course in Eldoret.
"It was difficult at first because I had not mastered the new course, but I felt strong with each lap and managed to take control of the race," said the diminutive runner, who trains at Kapkitony in Keiyo South.
The new course, designed by two-time Boston Marathon champion, Moses Tanui, saw the participants cover the western part of Eldoret town in a loop that ended outside Family Bank.
"This can be one of the best courses in the country if the town roads could be improved. It is unfortunate that some sections are riddled with potholes," regretted Kigen, who had clocked 2:10 in January to win this year’s Rock N Roll Marathon.
Michael Kiprop and Stephen Cheplang timed 67:32.9 and 67:39.9 for second and third. Pre-race favourite Busiendich, who had confirmed that he would defend the title, did not turn up after winning Kibirigo 10km race in Kisii on Friday.
In the women’s category, little-known Prisca Jeptoo, training with Nike Kaptagat, caused a major upset after snatching a deserved win from seasoned cross-country runner Elizabeth Rumokol from Kapsait in 78:07.0.
"I was not prepared to win. I just wanted to use the 21Km to prepare for the cross-country season. I am quite encouraged by the success," said Jeptoo, who hails from Kapsabet but trains in Kaptagat.
Rumokol, sixth in Lussane in 2003 Senior Women’s Cross-country, managed 78:38.6 while road specialist Viola Bor bounced back to action in third position in 79:55.2
The event, in its third edition, attracted a quality field, bringing together 1,050 participants from local training camps and individuals.
Agnes Kiprop and Helen Kirop, who discovered their running potential last year in the same race, did not honour the invitation as their were said to be engaged in international races in Europe.
A total prize money of Sh200,000 was given out to the first ten finishers, with winners pocketing Ksh50,000, while runners up and third-placed finishers in each category taking home Sh30,000 and Sh20,000.
Eldoret South Member of Parliament Peris Simam, Family Bank Executive Chairman Titus Muya and former Keiyo South MP Nicholas Biwott graced the occasion, alongside Women’s 5,000m World Champion Vivian Cheruiyot.
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