AFRICA junior 10,000m bronze medallist Peter Kimeli was crowned the new champion of the 22nd edition of Nike International Discovery Kenya Half Marathon yesterday in Eldoret.
Kimeli secured the hard fought victory in 63:06 minutes while little known Jackson Limo placed second in 63:18. He was followed by the Gothenburg Marathon champion Victor Kipchirchir, who closed the podium withan impressive 63:33 minutes.
Allan Kiprono clocked 63.41 to place fourth as Thomas Ekiru (64.01), John Lotiang (63.02), Benson Motto (64.08), Laban Mutai (64.15), Robert Chemosin (64.21) and Anthony Maritim (64.24) closed the top ten places.
The race started on a high pace at Eldo-Centre with Zane Robertson from New Zealand taking command in the opening 6 kilometres. Robertson then faded out leaving the Kenyan road racers to battle it out.
Kimeli, Limo and Kipchirchir then took charge as they battled shoulder to shoulder. The three exchanged the leads until the 13km mark when Kimeli who is also the brother to Africa junior 5,000m gold medallist Mathew Kisorio and the Africa junior 10,000 champion Nicholas Togom broke away and opened up a gap.
With 200m to go, Kimeli was all alone as Limo trailed from a distance with no chance of catching up. Kemeli then produce a sprint finish with 100m remaining to breast the tape. In an interview an elated Kimeli said the race was part of his build-up in preparation for his road races abroad. He said he is preparing for Lisbon Half Marathon in March and Paris Marathon in April.
"I don't have any intention of running for Kenya but I am preparing for road races abroad. I was using this race to test my endurance," Kimeli said.
He has a personal best time of 2:08:16 in marathon which he clocked last year after placing fourth at the Frankfurt Marathon and a PB of 61:34 in half marathon posted in Austria.
"My intention is to improve on my both personal bests and I am confident of doing that this year," said Kimeli, a third born in a family of seven.Kipchirchir, who placed third said he was preparing for the world marathon due in August in Moscow.
He trains in Iten and he has a personal best time of 59:31 in half marathon which he posted at the City By City marathon in Netherlands.
"I have been training hard, hoping to make the Kenya team to the World championships in Moscow. I want to post good time and be within the bracket of those who will be chosen," he said. The event was graced by Athletics Kenya vice president Jackson Tuwei.