Nairobi — The newly-crowned winner of the 21km race at the Lewa Safari Marathon, Nelson Rono, says the financial windfall from his win will boost him a lot in meeting his personal needs.
Rono walked away with Ksh 150,000, a Huawei phone as well as a Tropical Heat Hamper, a reward he says he plans to put into good use to further his running career.
“I am very happy…now that I am Ksh 150,000 richer. It is money that will really aid me in my ventures and even boost my training as I look forward to future competitions,” Rono said.
The Iten-based runner clocked 1:05:32 in first place, ahead of Justin Julius (1:06:28) and Kenneth Kithinji (1:06:57) in second and third respectively.
Rono conceded he had to sweat extra hard for the Ksh 150,000 as he fought tooth and nail to overcome the challenging course at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiolo.
“The race was good although the course was tough….can’t complain too much. The competition was tough as usual because every athlete has been training for this race and were all focused on securing first place. I am grateful that I won today…this is the first time I have come first,” he said.
It was Rono’s debut in the annual race and a perfect break away from the recent past where he has struggled to secure podium finishes in various races, including the Nairobi StanChart Marathon.
Meanwhile, the winner of the women’s 21k race, Beatrice Cheburet, says she is thankful that she listened to the words of a close friend who advised her to register for the race.
Cheburet clocked 1:16:15 in first place, ahead of Lucy Karimi (1:17:10) and Mary Munanu (1:17:30) in second and third respectively.
“It is my friend who told me about this race…she told me that the Lewa Marathon was on this Saturday and encouraged me to register for it. Thankfully, I registered, trained and today I have won. I didn’t expect to win considering this is the first time running in this race,” she said.
Cheburet, who has never won any race in her career, said Saturday’s triumph is one she will cherish for a long time to come.
“I have participated in a number of races across the country and the closest I have gotten to winning is finishing third or second. It makes this win all the more sweeter…it was a tough race in which we had to cope with the challenging course,” she said.
Her last race before Saturday was at the Tokyo Legacy Half Marathon in October last year where she finished a disappointing eighth.