We went for the Mwea Classic Half Marathon on Saturday with colleagues. I made the mistake of taking uji and water about 30 mins to the race and paid for it with stitches.
Mwea is flat and dry. Its a rice-growing area so about 80% of the race was ran in the rice fields. The turnout was quite good. The price money was peanuts even though elite athletes showed up. We started off on schedule at about 10am.
The first 300 meters were pure dust and I had to resign myself to the absolute dust storm caused by the stampede and breath in the dust in lungfuls. Lungfuls of dust. Quietly consider how it feels to inhale a gallon of fine dust. After the dust abated, we burst into the rice fields. I hope the hair in my nose and the mucus in my breathing system were able to handle the dosage of dust.
There were plenty of locals lined up on the roads and plenty of them were also participating. We started quite fast and closed 5K in about 22:30 and 10K in about 44:55. I was running with Nderitu because Sikuku started off too fast for us. I picked up my pace after 10K and at about 11K, we saw Sikuku and sped up, passing him at 13K. Then a stitch hit my left side. I pressed it with my left hand and it disappeared after about 1Km and then it hit my right side and I pressed it with my right hand and it disappeared after about 1.5Km and then I was free. By that time however, my breathing had changed and I had lost my pace. I soldiered on and hit the tarmac at about 18Kms. My knee was wailing for a while but there was no time for pain. Barefoot runners were several.
My energy was not bad, the race was just fast and very long. My right knee is now aching and my quads also have some lactic acid issues but overall, we ran a good and strong race and gave about 90%.
At this point I am not sure if I will be able to run Ndakaini half Marathon next Saturday but lets see what the week brings up. I hope my knee gets better enough for me to do a recovery run tomorrow and a 12K on Wednesday then I wait for Sato.
At the end, I finished in 1:47, Sikuku in 1:54, Nderitu in 1:56 and Kamau in 2:06 and collected a bag of rice. Our CEO also did the 9K run and finished though he walked some distance. His body must be squealing right now.
Sammy Kitwara was racing in the 2009 Rotterdam half and finnished first in 58:58 with Kenyans taking the first 10 places. Wanjiru came in 9th 19th 1:01.
Behind Kitwara two other Kenyans, Jonathan Maiyo and James Kwambai, battled it out for second with Maiyo prevailing in 59:08. Kwambai, who finished second in a thrilling finish in the Rotterdam marathon on 5 April where he clocked 2:04:27 just behind winner Duncan Kibet who was credited with the same time, took third place in 59:09.
Led by pacemaker Silas Kiplagat, a training companion of Kitwara’s, a large group of 18 got off to a fast start covering the first five kilometres in 13:37, five seconds faster that the split time Wanjiru registered when he set his 58:33 World record two years ago in The Hague. Wanjiru, who is currently preparing for October’s Chicago Marathon, was also in that big lead group but it became clear that Wanjiru was not in his best shape as he lost contact with the leaders near the eight kilometre marker.
The lead pack was reduced to a group of eight Kenyans by the 10 kilometre mark – Kitwara, Maiyo, Kwambai, Bernard Kipyego, Wilson Chebet, John Kiprotich, Robert Kipchumba and Charles Munyeki. Working together the eight passed 15 k in 41:54. At that moment Munyuki was the first to fall back. At 17 k Kitwara pressed the pace and behind him the group broke. From that moment on Kitwara was building to his lead. Maiyo, Kwambai and Kipyego tried to follow but they never threatened the eventual winner.
Kitwara, who was obviously pleased with his victory, was asked after the race when he would contest his first marathon. Producing a broad smile, he said, “It will take some years. I think a half marathon is long enough for me.”
Here is Kitwara at the finish:
Leading Results –
1.Sammy Kitwara, KEN 58:58 PB, course record (previous 59:12 Evans Kiprop Cheruiyot, KEN, 9 Sep 2007)
(splits 13:37; 27:44; 41:54; 55.59)
2. Jonathan Maiyo, KEN 59:08 PB
3. James Kwambai, KEN 59:09 PB
4. Bernard Kipyego, KEN 59:10 PB
5. Wilson Chebet, KEN 59:15 PB
6. John Kiprotich, KEN 59:23 PB
7. Robert Kipchumba, KEN 59:32
8. Charles Munyeki, KEN 1:00:18
9. Samuel Wanjiru, KEN 1:01:08
10. Elijah Keitany, KEN 1:01:14
11. Abiyote Guta, ETH 1:01:21 PB
12. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, KEN 1:01:22 PB
13. Jacob Kiplagat Yator, KEN 1:01:56
14. Gilbert Yegon, KEN 1:02:00
15. Nicholas ManzaKamakya, KEN 1:02:10
16. Koen Raymaekers, NED 1:05:22
17.Ruben Scheurwater, NED 1:05:58
18. Robert Ton, NED 1:06:03
19. Ronald Schro, NED 1:08:00