Greatest Race victory consolation for Kenya after loss of titles

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

Kenya made amends for losing both the men's and women's marathon titles to Asian runners by snatching the overall title in the Greatest Race On Earth series.

Cyprian Kiogara Mwobi made sure Kenya's flag still flew high as he finished second in the marathon, a result that gave Kenya B the men's title and the US$100,000 winner's prize.

Mwobi, 29, said he was happy Kenya completed victory in the fourth and final leg of the money-spinning series, which also featured races in Nairobi, Mumbai and Singapore and attracted athletes from 33 countries.

Although Mwobi would have dearly loved to do the double - the men's marathon title plus the series title - he said Kenya would still cherish the win.

'I am happy with my performance even though I couldn't win the marathon. This series is very important to us and we are just glad we have won it after competing in four marathons,' said Mwobi.

'I am happy for my team. We have done well. The marathon was a bit tough today and although we didn't have it our way in the main race, we still came away with an important prize,' he said.

There was no contest in the end as Kenya B defeated their compatriots, Kenya A, to win the men's series after the fastest cumulative times were taken into account. Kenya B extended their lead over their countrymen to 14 minutes and 59 seconds to easily wrap up the title.

Zimbabwe finished third - 21 minutes and 30 seconds behind the winners - thanks to the efforts of Philip Bandawe, who finished third yesterday. Uganda were fourth, while Russia were fifth, ahead of India and Sri Lanka.

Teams were chasing a total prize purse of US$1.08 million with the Kenyans also snatching a US$100,000 winner's cheque in the women's event.

Kenya A's Peter Kimeli Chemei said his team had too much to do and were unable to overcome their deficit in the end.

'It doesn't really matter as Kenya won the series,' said Chemei. 'I didn't have a good race. I was suffering from a chest cold and I wasn't at my best. I am disappointed overall,' said the Kenyan, who went into the race with one of the fastest times in a marathon, having clocked two hours and 12 minutes at the Cologne Marathon in 2005.

Anne Jepkemboi Kosgei, of Kenya B, led her team to victory in the women's overall team title, finishing fourth yesterday in 2:41.09. Kenya B had almost six minutes to spare over Kenya A. China finished third overall in the series, another two minutes behind.

The men and the women's champions also received a nine carat, 300-gram solid gold baton.