KPM: Kenyan runners sweep 2023 Peace Marathon, while Rwandan athletes face challenges

KPM: Kenyan runners sweep 2023 Peace Marathon, while Rwandan athletes face challenges post thumbnail image

Kenyan runners dominated the just-concluded 18th edition of Kigali International Peace Marathon held Sunday, June 11, bagging 10 medals out of a possible 12, as Rwandan representatives struggled to win any of the medals.

Marthe Yankurije, who plays for Rwamagana Athletics Club, was the only Rwandan who managed to take home a cash prize in the running race, after finishing seventh in the women’s half marathon, clocking 1:15:42 in the process.

Kenyan Winfridah Moseti Moraa struck gold in the women’s half marathon after crossing the finish line at BK Arena first clocking 1:12:40. She was followed by fellow Kenyans Lilian Jepkemboi Lelei and Susan Chambai Aramisi who bagged silver and bronze medals respectively.

George Onyancha Nyamori is another Kenyan who struck gold in the men’s full Marathon (42.196km) after clocking 2:17:41. The Kenyan finished 30 seconds ahead of countryman Silas Kiprotich who won silver while David Kipkorir, also Kenyan, completed the podium with a bronze medal after clocking 2:18:43.

Just like men’s full marathon, Kenyans also dominated in men’s half marathon, winning all medals from each of the categories that were there to contest for.

Kennedy Kipyeko won the men’s half marathon after clocking 1:03:52. He took gold away from second-placed countryman John Mburu Muiruri who clocked 1:03:54 while Evans Kipkoriri completed the top three with a bronze medal after racing the 21.095km in 1:04:12. Only Kenyans came in the top eight rankings.

Ethiopians Tsega Muluha and Ethiopian Jemal Amid Foyza are the only non-Kenyans who managed to win medals at the 2023 Peace Marathon.

Muluha won the women’s full marathon in 2:35:17 while his fellow Foyza won bronze after clocking 2:37:14. Kenyan Sharon Charop Jemutai emerged first runner-up after covering the full marathon distance in 2:36:05 to strike silver.

Over 10,000 participants from 48 different countries including Rwanda contested in three categories namely full Marathon (42.197km), Half Marathon (21.097 km) and Run for Peace which is 10 km long.

It was, however, not a performance that Rwandan athletes were anticipating, after failing to win a single medal from both half and full marathon.

Félicien Muhitira was one of Rwanda’s highest ranked athletes in the men’s half marathon although he finished out of the top 10.

Muhitira admitted that the Kenyans were far better than him and his fellow Rwandans despite giving their all till the finish line.

“We prepared well for this tournament. We spent over a month in a camp but, frankly speaking, this wasn’t the result we were expecting today,”

“Every participant tends to win or make it to the podium but it was too difficult to achieve it today. Kenyans were fantastic as always. We still have a lot to do to reach there. We have to accept that hard truth and learn from them,”

He told Times Sport.

Women’s half marathon seventh ranked Yankurije echoed Muhitira’s comments but refused to give any excuses to defend their poor performances despite competing on home soil.

“We didn’t do well and I don’t think we have a reason to complain. We have to move on, this is our level, the tournament has grown, many professionals are attending so it is difficult for us to win but we will try to learn from this experience,”

She said.

The overall winners in the full marathon, in both male and female categories, will bagged $20,000 (over Rwf22 million).

The first and second runners-up took home $15,000 (over Rwf16,800,000 million) and $7,500 (over Rwf8,500,000) respectively. The fourth and fifth-ranked athlete took home $5,000 (over Rwf 5,600,000) and $3,000 (over Rwf 3,400,000) respectively while the sixth, seventh and eighth ranked athletes pocketed $2,000 (over Rwf2,200,000), $1,500 (over Rwf1,600,000) and $1,000 (over Rwf1,100,000) respectively.

Winners of the half marathon, both male and female categories, bagged $5,000 (over Rwf 5,600,000) as the top prize while the first and second runners-up pocketed $4,000 (over Rwf4,500,000) and $3000 (over Rwf3,400,000) respectively.

The fourth and fifth finishers were rewarded $2,000 (over Rwf2,200,000), and $1,000 (over Rwf1,100,000) and the sixth, seventh and eighth ranked athletes walked away with $800 (over Rwf800,000), $500 (over Rwf500,000) and $400 (over Rwf400,000).

The Peace Marathon, which is in its 18th edition, is organised annually by Rwanda Athletics Federation in partnership with the Ministry of Sports.

The race symbolizes the resilience of Rwanda’s rebirth after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and it has, since its inception in 2005, embraced the noble cause of promoting peace amid ongoing conflicts worldwide.

Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju and City of Kigali Mayor Pudence Rubingisa were among top government officials who graced the event which attracted over 10,000 participants.

They participated in the Run for Peace category.

Source: The New Times

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