Enos Kales from Kapenguria and Winnie Jepkosgei from Elgeyo Marakwet are the winners of the inaugural Lake Ol’Bolossat Half Marathon held on Sunday in Nyandarua County.

Kales braved the chilly weather to take the top honours in the men’s race after clocking 1:06:15. Hot on his heels were Amos Mitei and Nicholas Kiplimo, who finished second and third in 1:06:43 and 1:06:54, respectively.

“I have been training for this race and today I am happy to go on records as the first winner of the inaugural Ol’Bolossat Half marathon. I want to believe the organizers are going to expand it and make it a full marathon and more competitive to attract more professional athletes,” said Kales.

Jepkosgei triumphed in the women’s race, clocking 1:14:39, ahead of Vivian Jerotich, who finished second in 1:14:55, while Beatrice Chepkemoi settled for the third position in 1:16:44.

“This is my first time competing here and the chilly weather made the running more comfortable. I thank the organizers and sponsors like Safaricom for supporting this race not just for athletes but also for promoting sports tourism in this region,” said Jepkosgei.

Kales and Jepkosgei each went home with a cash prize of Sh. 200, 000 while the first and second runners-up in the 21km categories pocketed Sh. 150,000 and Sh. 100,000, respectively.

Samuel Njihia claimed the men’s 10km title in 28:43 with Faith Chepkoech claiming the women’s title in 32:31, each taking home Sh.100,000.

Ernest Kiprotich and Naomi Chepng’eno, the first runners-up, as well as Kipyegon Nehemiah and Virginia Nyambura, the second runners-up in the 10km race, each took home Sh. 75,000 and Sh. 50,000, respectively. The 5km race was won by Zacharia Mwangi and Maria Andoti.

The winners in all categories received Neon Ultra the first locally assembled 4G smartphone in Kenya courtesy of Safaricom. Additionally, those in the second position in the 21 km and 10 km races also received phones of the same type from Safaricom.

The race attracted over 1,000 participants with the 21km and 10km featuring elite athletes, a 5km veteran race, a 2km fun race, Corporate, Government Agencies and the PLWDs 5km race.

It was geared towards raising funds for the restoration and conservation of the only lake in the Mount Kenya region.

Elsewhere, in Nairobi, Nichola Chelule and Diana Chepkorir were crowned the Ghetto Run – Nairobi edition winners after claiming the 15km race held at Gatina Primary School, in Dagoretti North Constituency.

Chelule clocked 48:50 as Chepkorir clocked 54:28 to reign in the men’s and women’s races, respectively. Kariuki Karanja and Sheila Ambaku won in the 5km race.

Both the Ol’Bolossat Half Marathon and Ghetto Run-Nairobi edition received Sh 1.6 million sponsorship from Safaricom

Ol’Bolossat received in-kind support amounting to Sh. 1 million (a direct contribution of Sh. 500,000 to support the event, as well as the provision of running t-shirts valued at Sh. 500,000, whereas Ghetto Run received Sh.600,000.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.