Kenya: Lewa Marathon Champion Disqualified After Cheating Way to Victory

Nairobi — The organising committee of the Lewa Safari Marathon have revoked the win of Philip Kigen in Saturday’s 42km race after it was discovered that he had flouted race rules.

A statement from the Lewa Safari Conservancy — organisers of the annual race at the expansive conservancy in Isiolo — revealed that Kigen had another runner use his identity and soar to victory.

This means that the ‘Kigen’ who clocked 2:19:06 to emerge tops and walk home with Ksh 150,000 was not the real one but an imposter operating with a false identity.

“The Lewa Safari Marathon race organisers wish to verify that Philip Kigen was disqualified as the winner of the Lewa Safari Marathon, full marathon race, on the 24th of June. This is after it was verified that he had flouted race rules by having another runner run under his identity,” the organisation said in a statement.

On Saturday, ‘Kigen’ had spoken of how his wife, Nancy Wambui, had been his pillar of support in the build-up for the 24th edition of the race in the wild, saluting her for the constant encouragement in training.

Following his disqualification, John Mitei — who had finished second in 2:21:23 — has been elevated to first position and declared the new champion.

Third-placed Isaack Koech, who clocked 2:22:37, is now promoted to the second position as Hezron Karanja (02:23:33) completes the podium places.

Following the incident, the organisers reiterated their commitment to run a marathon of integrity and fairness as far as competition rules are concerned.

“The organisers wish to reiterate that race cheating will not be tolerated and strict measures will continue to be in place to weed out dishonest conduct,” the statement reads.

This year’s edition featured approximately 1,200 runners participating in different categories of competitions including 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km races.

Since its inception in 2000, the marathon has raised over Ksh 1.1 billion in support of conservation and community initiatives throughout Kenya.

Over Ksh 561 million has been invested in the direct protection of endangered species, other wildlife and their habitats.


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