What you need to know:
- Ng'eno was cruising towards victory when the canine appeared from nowhere and started stalking him, barking as it ferociously chased him down the marathon course and locals looked on nonchalantly.
- The Kenyan runner landed back in Kenya on Wenesday from the land of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi which he wants to forget in a hurry, his love for Argentina's football stars notwithstanding.
Robert Kimutai Ng'eno had his sights firmly fixed on a rich, Sh1.1 million top prize in the Buenos Aires Marathon, but man's best friend turned worst enemy when a dog frustrated his podium hopes.
Ng'eno was cruising towards victory when the canine appeared from nowhere and started stalking him, barking as it ferociously chased him down the marathon course and locals looked on nonchalantly.
The Kenyan runner landed back in Kenya on Wednesday from the land of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi which he wants to forget in a hurry, his love for Argentina's football stars notwithstanding.
Ng'eno, who trains and resides in Keringet, Nakuru County, finished third after timing 2:10:16 in a race won by compatriot Cornelius Kibet Kiplagat, who clocked 2:08:29, while another Kenyan, Paul Tanui, was second in 2:09:57.
Ng'eno managed to win US$4,000 (Sh591,800) for his third place finish but missed a bonus of US$2,000 (Sh295,900) for all runners who hit sub 2 hours and 10 minutes.
“I went into the race optimistic of bagging victory because I had prepared well and I was in good shape. After the 15km mark, I decided to break and no athlete followed me and had maintained the pace before the unthinkable happened at the 25km mark,” said Ng'eno.
He had to stop at some point to pick a stone to scare away the dog, but it was all in vain, forcing him to scream for help.
The drama lasted over two minutes before a lady managed to whisk the dog away.
“I was really scared and I think that it is what made me lose focus. I knew I was going to win the race but the other athletes closed the gap and caught up with me at the 38km mark. In fact, I was almost beaten to fourth place but I gave it my all and emerged third,” added Ng'eno.
Ng'eno was competing in just his second marathon after placing fourth at the Stockholm Marathon in June where he timed 2:13:52.
“My target was to register a better time and I knew having surged forward, I was going to achieve it but it was cut short by the dog.”
Ng'eno also said that he was surprised to find out that he was trending on social media when he landed in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Just like in the men's race, it was a Kenayn clean sweep in the women category after Rhoda Tanui won in 2:24:52 while Sharon Cherop (2:24:56) and Pamela Rotich (2:27:37) followed in second and third places respectively.