Subic Marathon: Kenyan runners once again stamp class
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE – Even in the dark, the Kenyan runners proved unstoppable, asserting their dominance in Saturday's 2nd Smart-Subic International Marathon.
Vincent Kipchirchir Chepsiror, a 29-year-old Kenyan runner, overcame the difficulty of having to run in the dark through the long and rolling slopes of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to finish with a 2:27:54 winning time in the male marathon event, which started late in the afternoon in Floridablanca, Pampanga and ended at night at the Remy Field in Subic.
“The darkness obstructed us on the way, sometimes it slowed us. Otherwise, all the way there was no obstruction," said Chepsiror of his first night marathon, adding that the absence of the sun proved to be a bane for him as he welcomed the cool wind while negotiating the downhill slope going towards the Remy Field finish line.
Willy Kipkemoi Rofich (2:28:14) took second spot while pre-race favourite Daniel Koringo (2:29:57) snagged third place as the Kenyans racked up first to eighth places in the second locally-held international race that saw the leaner and taller runners from Africa sweeping the field.
Rounding up the Kenyans’ haul in the men’s marathon were Alex Melly at fourth (2:30:23), Richard Mutisya at fifth (2:30:30), Hillary Kimurai at sixth (2:31:51), Gilbert Kipkemoi at seventh (2:35:58), and David Kipsang at eighth (2:37:50).
The Kenyans established a lead in the first 15 kilometers of the SCTEX route through a 10-man breakaway, which also included Hernanie Sore, a former steeplechase trackster running on his first marathon.
Sore eventually finished ninth overall with 2:40:20, emerging as the first Filipino runner to cross the finish line.
A 25-year old criminology student from University of Baguio, Sore did not let up on the pace that the Kenyans established, keeping them within close range as he knew there were not too many other faster runners in the race in the absence of many national athletes.
“Lumayo na sila (Kenyans) nang konti, pero pinipilit ko na di maiwanan masyado. Pero mahirap silang habulin, mabilis sila masyado," said Sore, who only ran 21-kilometer runs in his previous races.
Being a novice, Sore had to learn the hard way how to properly handle a marathon as the South Cotabato native suddenly collapsed 20 minutes after finishing, not having done the usual cool-down walk after running a full marathon.
He was assisted by medics in treating a cramped right hamstring.
Alcen Bolivar of the Philippine Army wound up at 10th overall behind Sore with a time of 2:40:42.
Doreen Kitaka of Kenya, a 26-year-old mother of two, was the first female finisher after clocking in 3:01:12 to win her second marathon after ruling the Quezon City International Marathon just a weekend ago.
“It was difficult, in some places I was not seeing anything," said Kitaka, who only returned to running three years ago after giving birth to a girl, now five, and a boy, three.
She bested compatriot Cecilla Wangui, who clocked in at 3:22:53, and Ailene Tolentino, who submitted 3:29:01 to be the best Filipina finisher. - GMANews.TV