By Kimathi Kamau, Ben Ochieng
NAIROBI, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- In punishing elevation, clear sunny skies and a brand new hillier course, Kenneth Mung'ara and mother of two, Winfridah Kwamboka ruled the men's and women's races of Stanchart Nairobi International Marathon on Saturday.
Running under the backdrop of tight security following last month's deadly Westgate Mall terrorist attacks, ordinary folk joined seasoned athletes to give the largest sporting carnival in Kenya the glitz it deserved with over 21,000 pouring out on the streets of the capital.
However, the women's race ended in anti-climax when Selina Ariong'onyang, who hails from the marginalised northern Kenya region of West Pokot, was stripped of victory after it was established she had cut through the course without completing the required 26.1 mile distance.
MUNG'ARA EYES COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Considering Nairobi is perched 1,795km above sea level, the hot sun and a new point-to-point course that replaced the looped route used in the previous editions, Mung'ara, 39, did well to stop the clock at 2:11:40 for the victory.
Charging clear from the 30km mark, Mung'ara outfoxed previous winner, Hosea Korir, to ensure the men's race did not have a repeat winner since it was inaugurated 11 years ago, coming a minute ahead of the nearest challenger.
Barnabas Kipyego clocked 2:14:07 to share the podium with the pair.
"I'm a happy to have won this race. It was tough out there and for me is to wait and see whether Athletics Kenya (AK) will select me for the Commonwealth Games next year," the winner who trains in Limuru told.
Former Nyeri Half Marathon winner, Kwamboka who clocked 2:33:18 was awarded the race following the disqualification of Ariong'onyang with Florence Chepsoi who came for the finish toe to toe with the winner elevated to runner-up in 2:33:56. Agnes Chesereck (2:39:17) settled for bronze.
After a period of uncertainty and confusion, organisers set the record straight and the party could begin for Kwamboka who was nonetheless incensed by the missed chance to capture the headlines at the tape.
"I didn't see any female athlete in front of me and at first, I was shocked she had been awarded victory and it was very bad for her to do that as a runner," said the mother of two who trains in Ngong.
"The course was very hard but I thank God I managed it," she added. Ariong'onyang was adamant that she was "robbed of her victory" despite evidence pointing out she was missing from the opening part of the race.
"This happened since I come from a hardship area. I won," she insisted. Mung'ara and Kwamboka took 17,688.00 U.S. dollars each in prize money.
Ugandan Solomon Mutai, who won the Mombasa International Marathon added the half marathon title here in 1:02:55.
He is a training partner to Olympics and world champion, Stephen Kiprotich.
Winners in the men's and women's 21km walked away with 1,768.80 U.S. dollars.
Following are the selected results:
1. Mungara Kenneth 2:11:40
2. Hosea Korir 2:12:05
3. Barnabas Kipyego 2:14:07
4. Joseph Biwott 2:14:17
5. Sammy Kiptoo 2:14:21
6. Kiprono Yegon 2:14:23
7. Isaac Arusei 2:14:33
8. Vincent Kiptoo 2:14:50
9. Lazarus Too 2:15:01
10. Simon Tormoi 2:15:51
1. Winfridah Kwamboka 2:33:18
2. Florence Chepsoi 2:33:56
3. Agnes Chesereck 2:39:17
4. Eunice Jeptoo 2:40:28
5. Emmah Oyugi 2:43:11
6. Eunice Lelei 2:44:49
7. Chemtai Rionotukei 2:45:54
8. Rose Jepchoge 2:49:53
9. Pamela Chemurgor 2:52:10
10. Sheila Mbaku 2:52:35