Victor Kipchirchir defends his title at the 2022 Eldoret City Marathon as Emily Chebet takes the women’s title

April 10, 2022

For the first time in the history of the Eldoret City Marathon, a past champion got to defend their title. This is a hard phenomenon to happen here at the home of champions given the level of competition among the established runners and the upcoming talents that turn up to run. 

“It is hard to name the international marathon runners here because they are many,” Moses Tanui, the race director said just after the race kicked off today, the 10th of April 2022.

Past winners usually go on to win other big city marathons out of the country and may never come back in the same form they were in, or they may get caught up with other bigger commitments that will affect their training schedules. For example, Judith Jeptum Korir who was the runner-up in the women’s race last year just won the Paris Marathon earlier this month and is now named on the Kenyan Marathon team for the Oregon 2022 World Championships.

But, in a huge show of dominance, Victor Kipchirchir who won the men’s race last year in a new course record of 2:08:56 came back and successfully defended his title after breaking away from the rest of the elite field at around the 35km mark to eventually win the race in 2:13:10.

The women’s race at the 4th edition of the Eldoret City Marathon began at exactly 7:00 AM.

“I am happy that the race began right on the scheduled time. This is one of the factors that make Eldoret City Marathon an international race,” Moses said.

Besides the well-measured route that meets the World Athletics standards, the right placement of the hydration stations, and the electronic timing, adherence to the event’s schedules is also one of the factors that attract most of the elite runners to a big marathon event; and Eldoret city Marathon excels in this.

An elite runner needs to know the exact time when the race starts in order to be able to know the right time to eat their early breakfast, when to start warming up and when to go for their last bathroom break, and even when to start activating their GPS watches before the race can start.

A huge leading pack in the women’s race crossed the 5km point at around 17 minutes.

The men’s race would start exactly 30 minutes later.

A good number of foreign runners came from the neighboring countries. Sweden and England were among the European countries represented in the race.

Men crossed the 10Km point in around 29 minutes, led by Kipchirchir; the defending champion and the course record holder.

Contrary to the women’s race which flowed smoothly from the start as the pack kept decreasing in size slowly by slowly, the men’s race was full of surges. Kipchirchir would make a move at the front with a few runners following in a single file before they would all settle again into a large leading pack.

The hilly section from Kapsoya to Kao la Amani at around the 35km point in the race was where the top contenders in the two races were finally determined.

The section momentarily put the five women that were in a leading pack into a single file before the four reunited together again as they approach 36km point leaving behind Jackline Chelal who had placed 3rd in the last edition.

The four runners would run for around the next two kilometers before two of them began to break away. Chebet made what looked like a decisive move with less than two kilometers to go, but Shyline Jepkorir stuck right at her heels. It called for a new tactic to be employed.

The two runners ran close together till about the last 400m when Chebet made a sudden dash for the finish line and never looked back again until she crossed the finish line to emerge as the new Eldoret city Marathon champion in 2:29:58. Jepkorir had to settle for the second place in 2:30:13 ahead of Lilian Chelagat coming third in 2:30:23.

The last stages of the men’s race unfolded differently. No one was able to close the gap on Kipchirchir again as he strode away in a solo run to win the race. Michael Mutai came second in 2:13:23 while Josphat Bett ran 2:13:58 to finish third.

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