SPORTS: Kipchumba, Njeri rule Beyond Zero Half Marathon 2020.

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Vincent Kipchumba fine-tuned his London Marathon preparations with a solid win at the Beyond Zero Half Marathon in Nairobi, yesterday.

Kipchumba, the 2019 Amsterdam marathon champion, won the race at Nyayo Stadium in 1:01.54 with Nicholas Kosimbei, the 2014 World Under-10 10,000m bronze medallist, coming home second in a time of 1:02.28. Albert Kagongo (1:02.30) finished third.

Abedenego Cheruiyot clocked 1:02.32 in fourth place while John Langat finished fifth in 1:02.35. 

“This is a great result for me. It will really boost my preparations ahead of London Marathon due for next month,” said Kipchumba. 

In women’s 21km event, Lydia Njeri put aside the Paris Marathon cancellation disappointment to triumph. Paris Marathon, which was due for April 5, was postponed due to the deadly coronavirus. 

Njeri, who is a younger sister to marathoner Martin Mathathi, won the closely-contested race in 1:12.03 with Londiani-based Emily Chebet coming in 1:12.30. Pacifica Jeptoo closed the podium in 1:12.44.

“I have been preparing for Paris Marathon, which was to be held next month, but unfortunately, the organisers canceled the event due to coronavirus. It was disappointing but it also motivated me to perform well today. I will go back and see what’s next for me after this race,” said Njeri.

In the 10km race, Vincent Yegon won in a time of 28 minutes and 23 seconds. Bernard Kipkemoi (28:38) held on to finish second, while Jackson Kavesa (28:40) was third.

In the women’s category, Evaline Chirchir triumphed in 31 minutes and 56 seconds as Caroline Gitonga was second in 32:13.

This year’s Marathon attracted 15,000 participants, who got the chance of selecting a unique course for which they have chosen to run; with proceeds from the marathon going towards hosting five Medical Safaris across the country.

So far, the Beyond Zero campaign has held five similar medical safaris with the most recent one being in Nairobi this past January.

The race was flagged off by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and was aiming to raise Sh250 million towards zero maternal deaths, zero child death, a healthy lifestyle for the elderly, zero new HIV infections and zero child marriages.

“Beyond Zero’s work is about advocacy and awareness creation around critical health issues, to date, the Beyond Zero Medical Safaris that we have held in Kisumu, West Pokot, Narok, Nyandarua and Nairobi, have served wananchi in these regions and extended services to communities in the neighbouring counties,” said Margaret.

The event was also attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who participated in the 2km walk/run alongside Sports CS Amina Mohammed, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Machokos Governor Alfred Mutua, among other dignitaries.

Winners of 21km pocketed Sh250, 000.

While 10km road race winners took home Sh100,000. 

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