Former Africa Youth 1500m bronze medalist Janeth Chepngetich bagged the first edition of the Belgut Marathon championship in Kericho County after clocking a time of 33:15.40
The Nakuru-based athlete stayed strong all the way in the10km race to finish ahead of Cinthia Chirchir who came in second in 33:31.00 minutes and Evaline Chirchir coming in third in 33:41.5 minutes respectively in a tightly contested race that attracted at least 300 participants.
The upcoming athlete won the 2022 Udine Half Marathon held in Italy on 19, September with a personal best time of 1: 08.24.
The 24-year-old athlete whose disciplines are in the 10km and 21km races hopes to win in the Betika Cross Country race in Eldoret County slated for 13 August this year.
“I am grateful to God that I won this race despite the terrain being tough. Cross country competitions have many challenges and I did not expect to win am now preparing for the Betika race to be held next week on Sunday in Eldoret and with my personal best being 33:15.40 I am confident of doing better, “she said.
The races geared to support orphaned and needy bright students undertaking their studies at Belgut Starehe Boys and Belgut Starehe Girls secondary schools in Kericho featured a 10km race for women and 10km for men categories.
The winners in both male and female 10km races walked home with Shs 100,000, as the second-placed and third-placed runners received Shs 75,000 and Shs 50,000 respectively.
The race competition sponsored by Belgut National Government (NG) Constituency Development Fund (CDF) started at Chepnyogaa Center near Kabianga University and ended at Sosiot grounds.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot also took part in the 10km race finished in 59 minutes in which Road and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, Energy and Petroleum CS Davis Chirchir, and Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore were among the high profiled dignitaries during the event.
Prominent and upcoming athletes from Kericho, Nakuru, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Nandi, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Bomet and Nyandarua counties featured in the 10km women’s and men’s races.
Notable athletes included Africa Junior Women 2016 cross-country champion Miriam Chebet who also bagged gold in the 2023 World Cross Country in Bathurst, Australia mixed relay race and two-time champion of the 2016 and 2018 Los Angeles Marathon Weldon Kirui.
Speaking at the event Belgut area MP Hon. Nelson Koech commended the participants, sponsors and well-wishers for their generous contributions which will go a long way to catering for the learners at the two secondary schools.
“This is an initiative I thought about and we have more than 400 students in Starehe girls and more than 400 students in Starehe Boys. We select students from the community who are either orphans or they are needy and bright whom we sponsor every year using the CDF bursary kitty.
With time we will want to expand so that we have as many students as possible benefiting. The students have not been failing us and up to now we have sent more than 100 students to university from Starehe Boys and Starehe girls,” said Koech.
In the same breath he revealed that next year the sub-county will host the 21km Belgut Marathon race.
By Sarah Njagi