Kenyans continue dominance in Cebu Marathon
The cold weather didn’t stop the red-hot Kenyans from dominating again the annual Cebu City Marathon as they came away with titles in the premiere 42-kilometer and 21k races yesterday.
Manila-based Irene Kipchumba became back-to-back champion in the women’s 42k open division while Jackson Chirchir improved his second place finish last year to rule the men’s open division.
Kipchumba, who, just like any other Kenyan, is used to running in warm weather, overcame muscle cramps caused by the cold and crossed the finish line at the Cebu IT Park in 3 hours and 12 minutes to win the women’s title.
“I did not expect to place first because I had a terrible problem in the middle part of the race when I experienced muscle cramps,” said Kipchumba, who took home the top purse of P100,000. “I thought I could not finish the race but I persevered.”
Former Cebu City Marathon champion and fellow Kenyan Susan Jemutai finished at second place with a time of 3:14.59. Jennylyn Nobleza was the lone Filipino female runner in the top three as she breasted the finish line in 3:16.25.
“It’s a very huge achievement for me because this is my first time to compete seriously in the 42k here,” said the 25-year old Nobleza, who is from Bacolod City.
Chirchir, meanwhile, finished in 2:27.12 to bag the men’s crown. Fellow Kenyans Julius Kiptalam (2:31.30) and John Samoei (2:35.39) finished second and third, respectively.
Benjamin Kepkazi added to the Kenyan domination as he topped the 21k men’s open with a time of 1:08.59, followed by Elliud Kering (1:09.54) and Isaac Simat (1:11.40).
Jackeline Nzivo completed the Kenyan sweep as she won the women’s 21k open category in 1:24:49.
Milo Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal was the top local finisher in the 21k as she finished second overall with a time of 1:26.44. Christy Sevilleno rounded off the top three with a time of 1:50.03.
Tabal and Sevilleno were also automatically considered top two placers in the women’s local division.
In the 42k local division, ultra marathoner Noel Tillor and former Milo Marathon champion Mona Liza Ambasa emerged champions.
Tillor finished the race in 2:44.39 while Ambasa clocked 03:24.27.
Race director Rio dela Cruz of Run Rio said the race, which gathered more than 3,000 participants, finished successfully despite the heavy rain the entire morning.
He thanked Cebu Executive Runners Club and the Cebu City government for a job well done in manning the race routes along the streets of Cebu City that prevented accidents.
The race serves as one of the highlights of this year’s Sinulog Festival.