The men’s category winner, James Cheritich Tallam, led an all-Kenyan podium finish in Kigali International Peace Marathon on Sunday, before his fellow Kenyan Jeruiyot Chemweno won the women’s title less than 2: 38:20 later.
Cheritich charged in the 4km to overtook his compatriot Rono Kibet to go and clock 2 hours 19 minutes and 20 seconds over the 42 km race to pocket a cool RWF 2m, while Kibet who clocked 02:19:20 settled in the second place and won a prize of to win Rwf1.6m while William Rutto Chebdi finished in third place (2:20:11) to get a cash prize of Rwf1.4m.
“I was a bit nervous considering the big names in the field, I had prepared well but not for this victory. It is a surprise for me, I ran well but the course was hard, it was hilly and the humidity in Rwanda in the very hot.” Said Tallam
Theoneste Kayiranga (02:24:06) was Rwanda’s best placed athlete in the 7th spot. Thomas Dushimumukiza came in 12th place (02:30:42) followed by last year’s second place winner, Jean Baptiste Ruvubi who finished second last year failed to maintain his pace settling in the 13th position (02:31:4).
Chemweno clocking two hours, 38 minutes and 20 seconds to walk home with Rwf2m in the women category, ahead of Alice Cheroti Milgo Serser (02:41:32) who got Rwf1.6m while Jacqueline Nyetipei Kipromoo (02:53:56) got the third spot prize of Rwf1.4m.
In the men’s 21km half marathon, it was also a Kenyan affair with Benson Kipruto finishing first with 1:4:13, then followed by Bowen Josphat Kipchirchir (1:4:27), while Douglas Chebii Kipsanai (1:4:34), Nicholas Kipchumba (1:4:58) and Felicien Muhitira (Rwanda) 1:5:3 finished 2th, 3th, 4th, and 5th respectively.
The Kenyan prevailed in the half marathon when Agnes Jeruto finished first after clocking a time of 1: 13:31 t0 walk away with Rwf1m. The surprise athlete of the day was Rwandan long distance runner Salome Nyirarukundo who settled for a second position (1:13:55) to pocket Rwf 700,000.
Salome ran at the front throughout before dismissing their rivals with impressive turns of speed on the final run to the line but could not beat Jeruto who looked to fine in handling her breath.
In last year’s edition, she clocked the same time but finished third, and as part of the preparation this year’s marathon, she took part in the CIMERAN marathon in Rusizi winning it with a super finish.
“I’m excited about my performance this years, it shows me that I have been improving which give me more courage to continue training hard for the next events to come.
“I am happy for finishing second and I owe this to good preparations. I trained for this event for the last two months and it’s a great feat for me,” said Salome Nyirarukundo who came in third position during last year’s edition.
According to the President of Rwanda Athletics Federation, Jean Pierre Munyandamutsa this year’s event has shown some great improvement in the number of participants.
“We can estimated around 35,000-4,000 who participates took part in the event, because some came in at the last minute and just requested for the running kit without registering on the list. For Rwandan athletes, it has shown us some improvement, especially in our youth.”
“Which means the future looks good in the coming years, the Kenya’s are good but that does not mean we cannot learn from them. The objective of the organizing this annual event was achieved bringing countries, fans and athletes together to build peace.” Munyandamutsa who ran for fan said.