Former Africa Youth 1500m bronze medalist Janeth Chepngetich bagged the first edition of the Belgut Marathon championship in Kericho County on Sunday after clocking a time of 33:15.40.
The Nakuru-based athlete stayed strong all the way in the 10-kilometer race to finish ahead of Cinthia Chirchir, who came in second in 33:31.00 minutes and Evaline Chirchir, who came in third in 33:41.5 minutes, respectively, in a tightly contested race that attracted at least 300 participants.
The upcoming athlete won the 2022 Udine Half Marathon held in Italy on September 19 with a personal best time of 1:08.24.
The 24-year-old athlete, whose disciplines are the 10km and 21km races, hopes to win in the Betika Cross Country race in Eldoret County, slated for August 13 this year.
“I am grateful to God that I won this race despite the terrain being tough. Cross country competitions have many challenges and I did not expect to win am now preparing for the Betika race to be held next week on Sunday in Eldoret and with my personal best being 33:15.40, I am confident of doing better, “she said.
The races, geared to support orphaned and needy bright students undertaking their studies at Belgut Starehe Boys and Belgut Starehe Girls secondary schools in Kericho, featured a 10km race for women and a 10 km race for men.
The winners in both male and female 10km races walked home with Shs 100,000, while the second- and third-placed runners received Shs 75,000 and Shs 50,000, respectively.
The race competition sponsored by Belgut National Government (NG) Constituency Development Fund (CDF) started at Chepnyogaa Centre near Kabianga University and ended at Sosiot grounds.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot also took part in the 10km race, which finished in 59 minutes. Road and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, Energy and Petroleum CS Davis Chirchir, and Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore were among the high-profile dignitaries during the event.
Prominent and upcoming athletes from Kericho, Nakuru, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Nandi, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Bomet and Nyandarua counties featured in the 10km women’s and men’s races.
Notable athletes included Africa Junior Women 2016 cross-country champion Miriam Chebet, who also bagged gold in the 2023 World Cross Country in Bathurst, Australia’s mixed relay race and two-time champion of the 2016 and 2018 Los Angeles Marathon, Weldon Kirui.
Speaking at the event, Belgut area MP Hon. Nelson Koech commended the participants, sponsors and well-wishers for their generous contributions, which will go a long way to catering for the learners at the two secondary schools.
“This is an initiative I thought about and we have more than 400 students in Starehe Girls and more than 400 students in Starehe Boys. We select students from the community who are either orphans or who are needy and bright whom we sponsor every year using the CDF bursary kitty.
With time, we will want to expand so that we can benefit as many students as possible. The students have not been failing us and up to now we have sent more than 100 students to university from Starehe Boys and Starehe Girls,” said Koech.
In the same breath, he revealed that next year the sub-county will host the 21-kilometre Belgut Marathon race.
Source: Kenya News