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Mungara stars at Nairobi meet

The Nairobi Marathon proved it is one of the toughest races on the IAAF calendar as, yet again, no previous winners were able to defend their titles.

New faces emerged to conquer the large field and walk away with a cash prize of Sh1.5 million in the men and women’s categories.

Men’s winner Kenneth Mungara who cut the tape in 2:12:28 made his debut in the marathon and was fortunate to win the championship on his first attempt.

“It feels great to win the Nairobi Marathon. It took hard work and determination. The race was tough and I am humbled to defeat other top athletes,” Mungara said.

The women’s race was won by Winfridah Kwamboka followed by Florence Chepserek and Agnes Cheserek who came third.

Ugandan Solomon Mutai won the 21 kilometers men’s race after clocking 62.54.07 followed by Joel Rotich who finished with 63.07. Kenya’s Kiprotich Mathew was third with 63.35.04.

In the women’s category, Goreti Jepkoech emerged tops followed by Agness Chebet and Pascalia Chepkorir in that order.

Since the first edition in 2003 only Irene Jerotich Kosgei has won the 42km race twice in 2006 and 2009.

Last year’s winner Wesley Kibet (2:10.40) and the course record holder Salome Jerono (2; 26.41) did not defend their titles.

New route

The marathon got a couple of changes with competitors in full marathon getting a feel of the Thika Super highway on the new course.

The marathon is part of nine races sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank in the world.

The others are Mumbai, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jersey, Falkland Islands and Kuala Lumpur marathons.

The Nairobi Marathon holds a special place in the Athletics Kenya calendar since inception as it is the first major marathon to attract thousands of participants.

The event has become the signature annual sports and social event that brings together runners and tourists.