Kenya: David Bett Wins Beyond Zero Half Marathon

Josphat Bett wins the fourth edition of Beyond Zero Half Marathon.

Josephat Bett and Brillian Kipkoech on Sunday emerged from a sea of humanity to triumph in the main men and women's races of the Beyond Zero half marathon.

These winners each walked home with Sh250,000 in prize money from the race organizers after breezing through 21km without breaking much sweat.

The 28-year-old Bett followed up from his heroic performances at the 2008 World Junior Athletics Championship by winning the men's senior race with an impressive 1:01.34 time.

The victor's tactic of positioning within the leading pack consisting of 14-athletes seemed to ultimately have done the trick.

This pack broke away from the rest, including Deputy President William Ruto and Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, earlier on in the race - after about four or five kilometers - and at most of the vintage positions, it seemed any of them had a chance to go all the way.

But then Bett saved the best for last and emerged the quickest at the final kilometre.

Ultimately, he outsprinted Philemon Rono, Simon Kipkurui and William Wanjiku who would cross the line in second, third and fourth positions respectively.

"You can never know if you are going to win but I prepared to do my best today," he explained.
"But I knew I had a chance and it would depend on how my body will reach half-way at the race and in the final sprints. I have had to work hard in the past few weeks to get in shape and I am so excited by how things happened."

In the women's race, Kipkoech lifted up both her hands in victory in her final few steps of the race as she crossed the finish line after 1:07.02 hours.

Everlyne Chirchir followed in second place with a 1:07.03 timing while Bornes Kipkurui - who faded in the final quarter of this race after a positive start - had to content with the third position.

In the other races, Vincent Ng'etich, Alexander Mutiso and Shadrack Kipkoech took the podium places - in that order - in the men's 10km race.

And in the women's race of the 10km race in which First Lady Margaret Kenyatta competed, Margaret Chelimo, Irene Kimais, and Monica Ngige settled for the top three positions.

"I knew I would not win (the race) but came here to try and keep fit. This is a decision we made as a family of five to come here and dedicate some time and energy in helping out those we need even though we may not particularly know them," said Jacinta Wasonga, a banker, who participated in the race with her daughter strapped at the back.

The organizers announced that an estimated 25,000 people had taken part in this race including First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who is the event's patron. Proceeds from the race will be channelled towards improving maternal healthcare and consequently reducing the child mortality rate.

"My gratitude goes out to all our partners who have contributed towards the success of the Beyond Zero initiatives. I am delighted that we continue to walk this journey together for the benefit of our mothers and children," explained the First Lady.Former Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn and former first ladt H.E Roman Tesfaye, plus redeployed Sports CS Amina Mohammed were among the participants in this race which was flagged off at the refurbished Nyayo stadium, and had the participants race across University way, Bunyala road and the Mombasa road before turning back to the starting point at around Capital centre.

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