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Elite runners clash in Beyond Zero race



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A horde of elite long distance runners lock horns in the Beyond Zero Half Marathon on Sunday morning in the streets of Nairobi.

Bernard Kipkorir, who won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in a time of 1:00:08 in the USA in June last year and 2018 Gifu Half Marathon champion, Nicholas Kosimbei will highlight the men’s 21km race that gets underway at 7am along Uhuru Highway, opposite the Nyayo National Stadium.

Kipkorir is touted among the favourites, having also finished second at Copenhagen and Valencia half marathon races in 59:16 and 59:07 in September and October last year respectively.

It’s in Valencia where Kipkorir chalked his personal best of 59:07 and will be looking forward for victory at the Beyond Zero race that will be his second race this year after settling for second at Houston Half Marathon in 59:26 on January 19.

Kosimbei, the 2014 World Under-10 10,000m bronze medallist, has a personal best of 1:00:20 from Lisbon in 2017. He competed in two half marathon races last year to finish 10th at Lisbon, where he chalked his best time as he failed to defend his Gifu crown in Japan to settle sixth in 1:01:43.

With a personal best of 1:01:01 from 2012 Prague, Josphat Bett, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medallist, is the other athlete to beat in men’s half marathon.


Others are Sila Kiptoo, who finished third at 2019 Warsaw Half Marathon in a personal best of 1:02:03, Samuel Naibei, the winner of 2019 Zagreb Spring Half Marathon in a personal best of 1:03:10, Wilfred Kigen, Wilfred Kemboi and John Chepkwony.

Interestingly, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana will be among key personalities to don their running shoes for the 21km race battle.

The 2019 Melbourne and New Taipei City Marathon champion, Naomi Maiyo leads a strong pack in the women’s 21km race. The field also has Beatrice Wangari, Valary Kimutai, Mary Wanjiru and Jackline Chepngeno.

The Marathon, which is supported by several races, will start along the Uhuru Highway, opposite the Nyayo National Stadium at 7am before ending inside the stadium later.

The race founder, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta not only hopes to attract 25,000 participants, but also raise Sh250 million for the worthy course.

Registration is going on at Sh 2,000 for the event that will also have 10km, 5km, and 21km wheelchair and tricycle races. There will also be races for visually impaired and 2km walk for expectant mothers.

The race director, George Kariuki, said the elite 21km race will start at Uhuru Highway, before heading to the City Centre all the way to Museum Hill overturn and athletes heading back to the City Centre.

The competitors will turn on to Harambee Avenue, where they will make a U-turn at Vigilance House back to Uhuru Highway.

The runners will turn left to Haile Selassie Avenue, before hitting Uhuru Highway again on to Bunyala Road then Enterprise Road to Lusaka Road.

They will then turn left to Mombasa Road where they will make a turn just after the Bellevue footbridge back to finish at the Nyayo National Stadium.

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