Sunday, November 08, 2009

The conquering Kenyans

As they so commonly do in most other countries, the Kenyans who came to race in the Philippines in the past several weeks dominated the races they joined.

They ran the 1st Quezon City International Marathon October 18 and dominated the men’s and women’s categories.

Hillary Kimutai Kipchumba, running his first 42.195-kilometer race, ruled the men’s event at 2:30.08. His compatriots Samuel Tarus Too (2:30.36) and Daniel Chirchir (2:30.49) took second and third places, respectively. Daniel Koringo, the pre-race favorite, suffered a pulled right hamstring in the last three kilometers but still managed to finish at fourth spot.
Kimutai Kipchumba crosses the finish line first
in the Quezon City International Marathon. GMANews.TV

It was the same story in the women's side with the Kenyans posting 1-2-3 finish. 26-year-old Nairobi native Doreen Kitaka, a mother of two,  topped her event with a 2:58.55. Her compatriots Lydia Jeratich Rutto (3:09.309) and Sarah Maito (3:12.48) settled for the second and third places.

Veteran Cresenciano Sabal finished fifth overall with a 2:37.58 in the men's race, becoming the best local finisher. Aileen Tolentino took the cudgels for local female runners, finishing fourth.

Subic International Marathon, October 24

At the 2nd Subic International Marathon about a week later, it was Kenyan Vincent Chepsiror's turn to shine. 

The 29-year old Chepsiror turned in a time of 2:27.54 for the 42-kilometer race. Eight other Kenyans joined him in the top 10 of the men’s class with 18-year-old Willy Kipkemoi Rofich taking runner-up honors in 2:28:14.

Doreen Kitaka did a repeat of her Quezon City International win, closing her her run in 3:01.12. Cecilla Wangui also of Kenya, made it a 1-2 finish in the distaff side.
Subic Internatinal Marathon winners
 Doreen Kitaka and Vicent Chipsiror 

Another Kenyan in Sarah Maiyo was in fourth, coming in after Aileen Tolentino who spoiled the Kenyan party by finishing a strong third (3:29:01) and becoming the top local finisher in the meet. Filipina Joanne Mangat also barged into the top five with a time of 3:34:23.

Adidas King of the Road 21K, October 25

Less than a day after finishing fifth in the full 42.195-km race in Subic Saturday night, Richard Mutisyu added to the Kenyans’ domination of the local running events, ruling the 2009 Adidas King of the Road 21-km footrace on an out-and-back course at the Bonifacio High Street, Global City, Taguig.
Richard Mutisyu ruled the 2009 Adidas King of the Road 21-km footrace. 
Mutisyu coasted to victory in 1:13.17 with Filipino Darwin Lim, a varsity athlete of Far Eastern University trailing by 2 minutes and 29 seconds to take second place.

Philippine International Marathon, November 8

At the Philippine International Marathon 2009: A Run for the Pasig River today, Vincent Chepsiror did a repeat of his Subic International Marathon victory last month.

It was like Subic was just a tune-up race for Chepsiror who has been running for 8 years already. ABS-CBN News quoted him as saying he prepared for the Philippine International Marathon for 3 months.

In all probability, this will not be the last time Kenyans will be running, and winning, local races. Kenya has a highly honored running tradition which keeps on inspiring young runners to take on the sport that has placed numerous Kenyan distance runners in the most revered pedestals. And as long as they come, they will continue to race where there are races to be won, the Philippines included.

In a way, this would be good for local distance running. Racing with these fleet East Africans will test the mettle of the country's top local runners and  perhaps help them become better at what they do best.

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