Moses Kosgei and Georgina Ronoh win the 2nd edition of Kenya's First Lady Half Marathon, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat
Georgina Ronoh, shown here in 2012 Boston, where she placed third, won the 2nd annual First Lady Half Marathon in Kenya, photo by PhotoRun.net
Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the First Lady Half Marathon, a race with a huge visibility and focus in Kenya. It is important to see a country's leaders and role models supporting such worthy causes. We thank Justin Lagat once again, for giving a view from Kenya. You can learn more about Justin Lagat and his writing on Kenya at thekenyanathlete.com.
Moses Kosgei and Georgina Rono win the 2nd edition of Kenya's First Lady Half Marathon, a View from Kenya, by Justin Lagat
This year's edition of Kenya's first lady half marathon was by far bigger and better than last year's in many aspects. The great number of participants, the presence of many sponsors, the presence of many senior government officials and the number of senior athletes were some of the observable changes at this year's event.
The streets of Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, turned purple as the thousands of participants wearing the purple T-shirts ran and jogged in support of the Beyond Zero initiative that seeks to considerably reduce the child and mother mortality rates in the country. Having been scheduled to take place on the world's women day, the timing of the half marathon was precise. It was a day to remember and address what mothers go through while giving birth in the country.
Moses Kosgei, who trains in Iten and occasionally with former world record holder, Wilson Kipsang, emerged the winner of the men's 21km race while Georgina Ronoh from Kapsabet, the 2012 Boston marathon third finisher, won the women's race.
Compared with last year's event where the 21km race had started at the Uhuru Garden grounds ending at the same venue and the winners walked away with only Ksh. 100,000, this year's event had a bigger prize purse. The top three athletes won Ksh. 750,000, 500,000 and 250,000 respectively. Andrew Kimutai and Mathew Kisorio were the 2nd and 3rd finishers in the men's race while in the women's; it was Mercy Kibarus and Caroline Kilelel.
But given the presence of all the government's high ranking official at this event, that included the president himself, much focus was definitely going to be given to them as some of them went ahead to donate a lot of money for the project, notable being the deputy president, William Ruto, who ran the entire 21km event and donated a sum of Ksh 17 million to the Beyond Zero initiative after the race.
He had time to make a speech in which he expressed his commitment to support mothers and daughters terming them as very important people in our lives and even the cause of our existence.
One good thing about this is that order and security was maintained at the finish line till all the participants crossed the line, which hardly happens in other races in the country.
The first lady bettered her time by running 3hr and 23 minutes, cutting her time of last year by 33 minutes. In her speech, she did not fail to recognize the efforts that have been done by Kenyan athletes in branding the nation world-wide and urged all Kenyan athletes to run clean and maintain their legacy.
The venue this year had been moved to the Nyayo National Stadium to accommodate the larger number of participants that totaled about 20,000 in number.
Some of the elite runners spotted at this event included Ezekiel Kemboi, Abel Kirui, Alice Timbilil and Lornah Kiplagat, among others.