World Half Marathon champion, Okombo snatch titles at Family Bank race
World Half Marathon champion Peris Chepchirchir braved hot conditions to secure her second Family Bank Half Marathon title yesterday in Eldoret.
Chepchirchir, who won the 2013 edition, clocked an impressive 1:12.07 to reclaim the title.
She described her feat as a good build-up ahead of the Malaysia Half Marathon set for October 22. She beat Laikipia Half Marathon winner Josiline Jepkosgei ( 1:12.27 )with Lucy Cheruiyot completing the podium plaicing in 1:12.55. Vivian Kiplagat finished fourth in 1:13.32 with Agnes Barsosio fifth in 1:14.09.
Naomi Maiyo ( 1:14.28 ), Pascalia Jepkorir ( 1:14.43 ), Esther Chesang ( 1:14.52 ), Pamela Jelagat ( 1:14.53 ) and Angela Tanui ( 1:15.30 ) closed the top ten places in that order.
Chepchirchir, Jepkosgei and Cheruiyot took charge of the race after the 6km mark and upped the pace as they exchanged the leads in the last kilometres of the race.
Cheruiyot then dropped after the 15km mark as Chepchirchir and Jepkosgei ran side by side. Chepchirchir then surged forward and widened the gap to breast the tape in 1:12:07.
Delighted by the victory, Chepchirchir admitted that this year’s edition was tougher owing to the calibre of the field.
“It was tough in the early stages but my tactic was to come out of the pack and then strategise for a victory. When we remained two in front, I was sure of victory though my competitor was very strong,” she said.
“I am very happy for the win since this was my second victory in Family Bank race.”
Her target is to represent Kenya at the World Cross Country Championships next year.
“My intention is to run at world cross in Kampala and I hope I will make to the team.However, the race today was a build up for the Malaysia Half Marathon later this month,” Chepchirchir explained.
In the men’s category, littleknown Joram Lumbasi Okombo pulled a surprise to win the race after beating the bigwigs including the 2014 edition winner Matthew Kisorio.
Okombo, who comes from Molo stayed in the leading pack that had Kisorio, Robert Kemboi and Festus Cheboi.
At one point, Kisorio tried breaking away from the pack but he was stalled before falling off the pace after the 17km mark.
At the 19km mark, Okombo took the lead before winning the race in 1:03.16. Okombo is fresh from winning the recent Chemususu Dam 10km race.
“This is a surprise for me because I never expected to win considering most athletes here have a bigger profiles and were running before their home fans,” Okombo said. “I trained in Iten prior to the race; adapted to the climate and I thank God for my victory.”
Robert Kemboi finished second in 1:03.28 while Festus Cheboi sealed the podium in 1:03.41.
Hillary Kering ( 1.03.43 ), Barnabas Kosgei ( 1:03.53 ), Gideon Kipsang ( 1:04.02 ), Micah Cheserek ( 1:04.08 ), Vincent Yator ( 1:04.12 ), Mathew Kisorio ( 1:04.17 ) and David Metto ( 1:04.19 ) followed in that order.
Peris Chepchirchir takes the lead during the Family Bank Half Marathon in Eldoret yesterday.