Jorum Lumbasi defends his title at the Family Bank Eldoret half marathon as Pauline Korikwiang wins the women's race: A view from Kenya


DSCN9860.JPG Jorum Lumbasi (383) and Isaac Kipkoech (0142) in the leading pack of the men's race, photo by Justin Lagat/KenyanAthlete

PA080166.JPG Eliud Kipchoge presenting a cheque to the women's winner, Pauline Korikwiang, photo by Justin Lagat/KenyanAthlete

This was Justin Lagat's column for A View from Kenya for this week. Justin observed the Family Bank Eldoret half marathon this weekend.

Jorum Lumbasi defends his title at the Family Bank Eldoret half marathon as Pauline Korikwiang wins the women's race

Fresh from running 58:48 at the Copenhagen half marathon last month in Denmark (where he had finished second to Abraham Cheroben), Jorum Lumbasi brought the same form he was into the streets of Eldoret and staged an exciting race for the home fans to witness.

After about the first five kilometers, Lumbasi and Isaac Kipkoech took to the lead and were soon alone, almost a hundred meters ahead of the rest of the competitors. The course was a three kilometer loop which meant that the athletes were to take seven laps on the loop to complete the 21km distance.

With two laps to go, Kipkoech started to make a move and Lumbasi let him go and for a while it was as though there was already a clear winner. But then Lumbasi began to close the gap rapidly within the last kilometer of the race as he came to overtake Kipkoech just at the finish line. His time was 1:03:47 as he edged Kipkoech who finish a second later in 1:03:48. Daniel Kipkosgei took the third position in 1:03:56.

In a show of great form and dominance in the women's race, Pauline Korikwiang took the lead after the first 3km of the race and maintained a safe distance of about 200m from her competitors. Having been laid off from running by an injury for a while, Korikwiang was eager to find out if she was finally back in good condition to race again and she got a good surprise. Her winning time of 1:13:08, was more than one and half minutes faster than her next competitor, Josephine Chepkoech who finished second in 1:14:47 ahead of Winny Jepkorir who took third in 1:15:29.

The event brought together stakeholders in the sport that included officials from the athletics federation, the national Olympic committee, the national anti-doping body and both current and veteran athletes.

Eliud Kipchoge was part of the athletes who graced the occasion and participated in presenting the prizes to the top finishers. After the event, the fans that followed Kipchoge around for an opportunity to shake his hand, say hello to him, or take a picture with him were so many that Kipchoge himself was almost finding it hard to leave the venue. This would usually happen to politicians alone in Kenya.

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