6 November 2018

East Africa: Simbu Dejected, EA Runners Shine At New York Marathon

WHILE Tanzanian Alphonce Simbu failed to finish the New York Marathon last Sunday, the event was yet again dominated by East Africa region as Kenyans and Ethiopians won the top honours.

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men's race with a time of 2 hours 5 minutes 59 seconds, surging ahead of two other runners near the finish in Central Park. Kenyan Mary Keitany, one of the fastest female marathon runners ever, won the women's race with a time of 2:22:48, her fourth victory in the event and the second-fastest time on this course.

Desisa, 28, won his first New York City Marathon, defeating Shura Kitata, 22, also of Ethiopia, and Geoffrey Kamworor, 25, of Kenya, the defending champion and the pre-race favourite. The runners ran the second-, third- and fourth-fastest times on the course.

Tanzanians had their eyes and ears pegged on the country's ace runner -Simbu, but the runner who won bronze in last year's London Marathon failed to finish the race due to injury recurrence.

Simbu was looking to become the first New York City Marathon winner from Tanzania since Juma Ikangaa won the race in 1989.

In his statement to thank Tanzanians for their support, Simbu said he is dejected and heartbroken to drop out of the race due to injury but insisted all is not lost for him.

Through his twitter account, Simbu said; "I want to take this opportunity to thank all Tanzanians for their prayers, I'm dejected that I failed to finish the race.

"I take this as a challenge ... ups and downs are part of the sport and I encourage all Tanzanians to continue supporting me. It is important that we celebrate together at times of success and have a strong bond in tough times.

"I've not lost hope because still, there are so many other competitions ahead of me," said Simbu, who finished fifth in 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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