Kipng’eno Wins Ndakaini Half Marathon Again
Patrick Kipng’eno from Bomet showed Kaptagat’s Robert Kipkemboi a clean pair of heels at halfway mark before cruising to defend his UAP Old Mutual Ndakaini Half Marathon on Saturday in Ndakaini, Muranga County.
The 24-year-old Kipng’eno conquered the hilly and scenic tough course in one hour, seven minutes and 18 seconds to once again edge out Kipkemboi, the 2016 Standard Chartered Marathon champion, to second place in 1:07:34.
Newcomer Delvin Meringor from Kaptagat swung to the front as early as the first four kilometre to win the women’s race in 1:16:10, beating Nancy Kimaiyo, who was making a return after four years to second by 47 seconds.
Kipng’eno, the winner of last year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi Half Marathon and Kipkemboi, who finished second for the third consecutive time, exchanged leads from the three-kilometre mark before Kipng’eno gradually opened the gap at the 10km.
“I came well prepared for this race and I’m happy to have retained the title,” said Kipng’eno, who was using the race to prepare for his making a return from a nagging knee injury that put him out for the better part of this year.
“I decided to break but Kipkemboi failed to respond. I knew victory was mine after he wilted further,” said Kipng’eno, the Kisii 10km race champion.
“I think I am in a great shape to also defend my half marathon title during the Standard Chartered Marathon late next month.”
Kipkemboi, 29, was gracious in defeat but said the race proved key to his preparations for Porto Marathon on November 5.
“It’s obviously disappointing, this being the third time I am finishing second. I will keep on trying until I break the jinx,” said Kipkemboi, who also finished second during the Family Bank Half Marathon in Eldoret.
Shadrack Kiplagat finished third in 1:07:43 followed by seasoned long distance runner Philip Kangogo in 1:09:20 as Richard Mutai wrapped up the top five in 1:09:39.
Despite it being Meringor’s maiden race over the half marathon, she decided to break early, overtaking the leader Gladys Otero at the four-kilometre mark.
“I have heard many people talking about how this course was tough hence I chose it as my first half marathon venue,” said Meringor.
“I didn’t want to take chances hence my decision to take off early.”
Kimaiyo, who finished fourth at Chemususu Half Marathon a fortnight ago, said Meringor’s pace was too high for her.
“I am still happy, having finished four the last time I participate in 2015,” said Kimaiyo.