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Paul Kirui and Joyce Chepchumba lead Kenyan double success in Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON

2004-04-04

Paul Kirui and Joyce Chepchumba led a Kenyan wave of victory in the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON on Sunday as more than 17,000 runners followed them home. Kirui won the men’s race for the second year in succession in 1:00:40 while Chepchumba continued her preparations for the London marathon on April 18 with a solid victory in 1:09:49, almost two minutes clear of her compatriot Maragaret Atudonyang.

Paul Kirui was always prominent in a lead pack of around 20 runners that set off along one of the city’s famous promenades, Unter den Linden. The Kenyan had arrived in Berlin prime form, having run 1:00:22 to win the Ostia Half-Marathon in Italy at the end of February. Conditions were cool, around 14 degress Fahrenheit for the mid-morning start on a fast, flat course and only a gusting wind caused the runners problems from time to time.

By 15 kilometres the clock showed 43:01 and the leading men’s duo of Kirui and fellow Kenyan Solomon Bushendich were on course for a time just outside 60 minutes. The pace dropped slightly before they raised the tempo again in the final two kilometers.

Kirui, confident from the start, capitalised on his previous Berlin experience, going clear of the 20-year-old Bushendich who was making hid debut at the distance, in the final 400 metres. The fomer soccer player who relished his winger’s role in the number eleven shirt, proved that running is his greatest talent, winning in 1:00:40. Solomon Bushendich, African junior champion at 10,000 metres on the track in 2001, finished in 1:00:42. Christopher Cheboiboch, winner of the prestigious City to City Half-Marathon in the Hague two weeks before, took third place in 1:01:23 after the Kenyan suffered back problems just before halfway.

Joyce Chepchumba achieved her second victory over the distance within a week. Bronze medallist in the Olympic marathon in Sydney, her busy schedule included winning the Lisbon marathon the previous Sunday. She gave her preparations for the London Marathon in two weeks a further boost with victory in 1:09:49. Margaret Atudonyang was second in 1:11:31 while Mary Ptikany completed the Kenyan clean sweep with third place in 1:1132.

Chepchumba, omitted from the Kenyan marathon squad for the Olympics in Athens, was strongly critical of her national federation before the race. While she supported the selection of Catherine Ndereba and Margaret Okayo, the choice of Alice Chelagat, winner of last year’s Nairobi marathon, provoked a sharp response : “The federation do not seem to have selected according to times or performances. If they had done that and chosen someone else, I could accept that.” She added, however, that Kenyan women were unlikely to follow some of the men’s example and switch allegiance to a country such as Qatar.

Results – Men
1. Paul Kirui (Kenya) .....................1:00:40 2. Solomon Bushendich (Kenya) ....1:00:42 3. Christopher Cheboiboch (Kenya)..1:01.23 4. Daniel Rono (Kenya)......................1:00:26 5. James Kipketer (Kenya)..................1:02:05
Results – Women
1. Joyce Chepchumba (Kenya) ..................1:09:49 2. Maragaret Atudonyang (Kenya) ……….1:11:31 3. Mary Ptikany (Kenya) ………………….1:11.32 4. Emily Kimuria (Kenya) …………………1:11:35 5. Jane Ngotho (Kenya) …………………….1:11:46 6. Ashebir Alem (Eth) ………………………1:12:52 7. Lilian Chelimo )Kenya) …………………..1:13:29 8. Susanne Ritter (Ger) ………………………1:14:29 9. Kathrin Wessel (Ger) ....................................1:14:30 10. Magdaline Chemjor (Kenya) .........................1:15:57

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