|Photo by the Nairobi Marathon|
Two of the East African countries with the greatest long distance running talents in the world coincidentally held the biggest races in their countries today. Ethiopians ran the Great Ethiopian Run while Kenyans ran the Nairobi Marathon. No one planned for the two big races to happen on the same day, but the election timeline in Kenya forced the Nairobi Marathon to be postponed from the usual last Sunday of October to this day. The big races happening at the same time filled the social media with exciting pictures and results and the all day was almost all about running. If only we had races like these every weekend!
The Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon in Kenya began in a chilly morning with some light showers, but then it was soon to get warmer in the last half of the race when the battle for the men's trophy was clearly among three athletes in the lead pack.In the pack were Shadrack Kiptoo, Joshua Kipkorir and Brimin Kipkorir. Joshua Kipkorir and Kiptoo had finished first and second in 2015 and the two were intent on repeating the same feat again this year, but Brimin had a huge surprise for them. With slightly over a kilometer to go, Brimin surged forward and never looked back as the gap between him and the two kept extending. He crossed the finished line in 2:12:39 and staggered before quickly getting carried by the medical team at the finish line. He came back later looking healthy for the prize presentations. Kiptoo came second in 2:12:56 while Kipkorir came third in 2:13:37.
Celestine Jepchirchir made a huge breakthrough in her running career when she won the women's race in 2:31:04. Jepchirchir was in tears and in disbelieve as she talked to reporters after crossing the finish line. "I didn't know it was possible for me to win this marathon," she said. She was optimistic that her win will finally help her find a manager that will organize for her to go and run other races abroad.
The Great Ethiopian Run is one of the biggest road races in the entire continent with over 40,000 runners taking part in today's 10km run. In a race that had elite athletes from other countries that included Kenya and China, Zeineba Yimer Woldu won the women's race while Selemon Barega, the world U18 3000m and U20 5000m world champion, won the men's race. All the top ten positions went to the Ethipians.
Elsewhere in the world, Ethiopians and Kenyans were battling for honors in various races. Thanks to the advancement in technology, it was possible to stream some of the races. Rochelle marathon was giving a great coverage of their event on their website with two screens on their home page showing the race on different points on the course. Tesfa Workneh led Ethiopian men in sweeping the first three podium positions before Susan Jeptoo answered them back by leading the Kenyan women in also taking a clean sweep of the podium positions too!
Other marathons that happened on the same day include the Zurich San Sebatian marathon where Kenya's Hosea Maiyo defended his title and the Firenze marathon that was won by Ethiopia's Dire Tune.