|Photo from Nairobi Marathon|
The organizers of the Nairobi Marathon staged yet another successful race in Nairobi as thousands of runners of all levels and walks of life swarmed the streets of Kenya's capital city to run for a reason. "Run for a reason" is a slogan for the marathon and the proceeds from this marathon goes to a charity that helps fund medication and surgeries to avoid preventable blindness in children.
Joshua Kipkorir emerged as the winner of the men's race after a tight battle with Shadrack Kimaiyo in the last two kilometers when the two were safely far ahead of the rest as they kept exchanging the lead. As they neared the entrance to the stadium, Shadrack appeared to be struggling and a gap between them slowly started to grow. Joshua crossed the finish line in2:13:25.
But, before Shadrack could reach the finish line too, a drama unfolded.
I am not sure whether it wasn't a mad man, but a man clad in a black jersey complete with a chest number and appearing just like a normal athlete appeared behind Shadrack and sprinted past him with about fifty meters to the finish line hoping to take the second position. He crossed the line, confidently grabbed a position tag from one of the officials, then a bottle of water from another one.
But, instead of drinking the water, he quickly emptied the bottle on his head so that he would appear to have been sweating like the rest of the athletes. In no time at all, he was already being surrounded by the media and security officials before he was finally handed offer to the police to be arrested.
Shadrack crossed the finish line in 2:13:56 to take the second position as Hillary Kiplimo came in to take the third position in 2:14:18.
While the men failed to beat last year's winning time by over one minute, Elizabeth Rumokol on the other hand won the women race in one of the fastest times ever recorded at the Nairobi Marathon beating last year's record by over two minutes.
There was a strong competition in the women's race as a leading pack of about five athletes kept together for the better part of the race, together with their male pace setters. But, the rest could not keep up with Elizabeth in the later stages of the race as she continued to run strongly till she crossed the finish line in 2:29:32 which was over two minutes ahead of Georgina Ronoh's 2:32:06 to take the second place. Rionutkei Chemutai crossed the finish line in 2:32:46 to complete the three podium positions.
The Nairobi Marathon keeps growing each year and is definitely one of the best races in the country and is better placed to get an IAAF label. The surging number of participants, however, continue to provide more challenges to the organizers of this race given that a total of four races; 42km, 21km, 10km and Fun races take place at the same time and joggers of the 21km race often collide with the leaders of the 42km races often causing confusions. The seemingly mad man could have probably been hiding among the 21km joggers as the elites of the 42km race approached the finish.