‘Queen’ Obiri reigns in Thailand as Kenyans rule road races across the globe

Two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri continued her bright start to life as a road runner as she clocked 1:07:45 to win the women’s half marathon at the Bangsaen21 Half Marathon in Chon Buri, Thailand.

Ethiopia’s Belekech Gudeta took second place in 1:08:38 as another Kenyan, Beatrice Cheserek, took third place in 1:09:18.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Josphat Kipkemboi Kemei clocked 1:01:56 to claim victory, ahead of Ugandan Maxwell Rotich (1:02:39) and Ethiopian Tadese Takele (1:03:05) in second and third respectively.

Obiri, who clinched silver in the women’s 10,000m at the World Championships in Oregon, debuted in the full marathon at last month’s New York City Marathon where she finished sixth in the women’s race.

Her exploits in Asia were just one among the many exceptional performances by Kenyan athletes across the globe as they harvested plentifully from an action-packed weekend.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Timothy Kiplagat Rono led a 1-2 Kenyan finish to clinch the men’s race at the Abu Dhabi Marathon on Saturday.

The Melbourne Marathon champion clocked 2:05:20 in first place, ahead of compatriot Felix Kimutai who timed 2:09:32 in second as Ethiopia’s Adeladlew Mamo took the final podium place in 2:09:42.

In the women’s race, Kenyan-born Bahraini Eunice Chumba went one better than her second-placed finish at last year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Marathon when she clocked 2:20:41 on her way to victory.

The 2021 Amsterdam Marathon champion, Angela Tanui of Kenya, clocked 2:21:12 to claim second as Ethiopian Mare Dibaba finished third in 2:21:25.

It was a Kenyan affair as well in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei as Lani Rutto led another Kenyan 1-2 finish in the men’s race, timing 2:09:42 to claim top honour.

His fellow countryman, Thomas Kibet, clocked 2:10:59 to finish second, ahead of Ethiopian Meseret Aragaw Yitbarek who came third in 2:11:34.

In the women’s race, Lilian Jelangat was the best performing Kenyan, clocking 2:30:13 to finish second, behind winner, Alemtesehay Asefa (2:25:55) of Ethiopia.

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