Kericho’s Kitur wins Maasai Mara Half Marathon race

Bernard Kitur, winner of the Masai Mara Marathon, on August 15, 2015 held at the Mara Game Reserve. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

What you need to know:

  • The 26-year-old Kitur timed his race to perfection, breaking away at the 18th kilometre mark to overtake tiring Bernard Bett to win in 1hr, 10:41min.
  • In the women’s category, pre-race favourite Caroline Kilel was upstaged by little-known Peris Chepchirchir from Nandi who won in 1:12:18.
  • The 21-year-old ran a gun-to-tape race and was rarely threatened by the trailing pack.
  • She was followed home by Beatrice Mutai who timed 1:12:43.

Kericho-based runner Bernard Kitur on Saturday beat a star-studded field of more than 200 elite athletes to emerge the 7th edition Maasai Mara Half Marathon.

The 26-year-old Kitur timed his race to perfection, breaking away at the 18th kilometre mark to overtake tiring Bernard Bett to win in 1hr, 10:41min.

The struggling Bett was forced to apply a last-minute kick to wade off Emanuel Ngatuny who was closing in on him. Bett timed in 1:10:46 with Ngatuny three seconds behind. The Three runners ran a neck-to-neck race in the humid weather that started three hours behind schedule.

The winner, although glad to have emerged the best, complained of the terrain ‘which was bumpy and slowed me down.’ “It was a tough course and at one point a wild beast crossed in front of me, affecting my pace. I’m happy that I improved on the sixth position that I attained last year,” he said.

Kitur’s next mission is to win the Berlin full Marathon. At the end of the grueling 21km race, confusion reined as some of the top performing athletes failed to keep to the marked course but were later disqualified by the race organizers. Patrick Kipngeno timed 1:10:50, followed by Julius Kago a second later.

In the women’s category, pre-race favourite Caroline Kilel was upstaged by little-known Peris Chepchirchir from Nandi who won in 1:12:18.

The 21-year-old ran a gun-to-tape race and was rarely threatened by the trailing pack.

She was followed home by Beatrice Mutai who timed 1:12:43.

Kilel came third in a time of 1:15:43. “I’m happy to have won the race in my first attempt. I have now set my sights on the Czech Republic where I have two scheduled races in the coming months,” said Chepchirchir.

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