Kipchumba, Njeri reign at Beyond Zero Half Marathon

Vincent Kipchumba crosses the finish line to win men’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon at Nyayo National Stadium on March 8, 2020

Amsterdam Marathon champion Vincent Kipchumba and Lydia Njeri are this year’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon champions.

Kipchumba bolted out from the pack with four kilometres to go to win on his second appearance in 1 hour, 01 minutes and 52 seconds.

Kipchumba, who finished sixth on his maiden appearance in 2017, edged out the 2018 Gifu Half Marathon champion Nicholas Kosimbei to second place in 1:02:26.

Albert Kangogo timed 1:02:27 for third with John Langat and Nicholas Rotich closing the top five vanguard in 1:02:30 and 1:02:43 respectively.

The race was started by its founder First Lady Margaret Kenyatta along Uhuru Highway opposite the Nyayo National Stadium before ending inside the arena.

Kipchumba said the race that was his first this season is part of his preparations for the London Marathon due next month

“It was not that easy keeping in mind that it’s always a level playing field here in Kenya,” said Kipchumba.

Kosimbei said that they couldn’t keep up with Kipchumba, who injected pace in the last turn towards the finishing point.

“It feels great finishing second, this being my first race of the year,” said Kosimbei, who will soon be leaving the country to try and reclaim Gifu Half Marathon title on April 24 in Japan, having finished sixth last year.

With Paris Marathon having been cancelled over the deadly coronavirus, Njeri decided to take a shot at the Beyond Zero and it paid off.

Lydia Njeri talks to the press after winning the women’s Beyond Zero Half Marathon at Nyayo National Stadium on March 8, 2020. PHOTO

Iten’s Njeri stormed the arena triumphant in 1:12:03 beating former steeplechaser Londiani’s Emily Chebet to second place in 1:12:30 as Pacifica Jeptoo came third in 1:12:44.

Njeri left the field as early as the first four kilometres. “I went alone up to 15km and turned to see where the chase pack was but they were quite distant,” said Njeri, who paced in London last year before finishing fourth at Madoka Half Marathon and second at Paris Half Marathon.

Chebet declared that she has now fully transited to road running from track.

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