Philip Birech and Naomi Chebet are the new winners of the Kass Marathon in Eldoret

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In this column, written on Nov. 17 for the Kass Marathon, Justin Lagat gives us a view into the local marathon.

IMG_1138.JPGPhilip Birech, photo by Justin Lagat

IMG_1127.JPGNaomi Chebet (at the finish line in Eldoret's Sports Club), photo by Justin Lagat

"It doesn't matter where you are going to run your race. What matters is good training in order to be in the best form and you will be successful anywhere you run," Erick Kimaiyo, the coach to the women's marathon world record holder, Brigid Kosgei, had recently advised me.

This became evident today at the annual Kass Marathon race when Philip Birech who, in the last few weeks, had plans to go and run the Malaga marathon next month turned to run at this local race after plans to travel were uncertain for him.

"I didn't have any plans to run the Kass marathon since I was preparing to go and run the Malaga Marathon in Spain next month, but since my management was yet to confirm it, I decided to do this marathon instead," said Birech. He won the race in 2:21:07 ahead of Amos Kipkemoi who finished second in 2:22:32 and Evans Cheruiyot taking the third position in 2:23:05.

Birech doesn't know his plans for next year, but hopes that his management will enter him in a big race.

Naomi Chebet who comes from the ElKeiyo Marakwet County in the North Rift Valley region of Kenya won the women's race in her marathon debut in a time of 2:46:60. Despite her name sounding relatively new, she was not new to winning races as she had been winning a number of shorter road races abroad.

Nancy Arusei was second in 2:47:44 while Sarah Lagat took the third position in 2:48:15.

Kelvin Kiptum, one of Eliud Kipchoge's pacesetters at the INEOS 1:59 challenge won the men's half marathon race in 1:04:48. Asked which one was tougher between this race and pacing Kipchoge in Vienna, he said that Vienna was tougher. He was followed by Noah Kipkemboi in 1:05:16 and Charles Yosei in 1:05:45.

In the women's half marathon race, Gladies Kipkoech comfortably took the win in 1:13:46 ahead of Daisy Cherotich and Irine Kimais in 1:14:48 and 1:15:29 respectively.

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