How Eldoret town burst to life as Keitany conquered New York


Athletics - New York City Marathon - New York City, New York, U.S. - ...
Athletics - New York City Marathon - New York City, New York, U.S. - November 4, 2018 Kenya's Mary Keitany celebrates after winning the Professional Women's race REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

In Summary

  • Eldoret town, the presumptive headquarters of Kenya's athletics burst to life on Sunday evening, with the merry-making going down late into night as Kenya's golden girls Mary Keitany and Vivan Cheruiyot posted impressive performances at this year's New York City Marathon
  • On social media reactions came thick and fast with many congratulating the duo for majestic performances.
  • Keitany reclaimed the title she last won in 2016 in 2:22:48 ahead of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot (2:26:02)who was making her New York bow.

Eldoret town, the presumptive headquarters of Kenya’s athletics burst to life on Sunday evening, with the merry-making going down late into night as Kenya’s golden girls Mary Keitany and Vivan Cheruiyot posted impressive performances at this year’s New York City Marathon that went down on Sunday to bag a 1-2 finish in the women’s race.

On social media reactions came thick and fast with many congratulating the duo for majestic performances. Keitany reclaimed the title she last won in 2016 in 2:22:48 ahead of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot (2:26:02)who was making her New York bow.

In Eldoret, fans, close relatives and friends of the duo celebrated their wins after watching them conquer the New York course, invoking nostalia and a sense of pride for the athletics mad region.

Despite failing to defend his title, Kenyans were equally delighted by Geoffrey Kamworor performance where he came in third in 2:06:26 behind the Ethiopian duo of Lesisa Desisa (2:05:59) and Shura Kitata (2:06:01)

Led by president Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyans could not hide their joy shortly after the race came to a close.

‘We take pride in the hard-work and determination of our athletes; Mary Keitany, Vivian Cheruiyot and Geoffrey Kamworor. Congratulations to each of you for your success at the #NYCMarathon . We are proud of you!” read a tweet from president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Similarly, Deputy president William Ruto was also quick to congratulate Kenyan athletes.

“Mary Keitany leads compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot to a 1-2 Kenyan finish at the New York City Marathon to win her fourth title. Geoffrey Kamworor earns a third-place finish in the men’s race. Brilliant performance,” Ruto said via his twitter handle.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga was not left behind either as he tweeted: “Congratulations Mary Keitany that was a splendid performance as you won the Womens race at the#NYCMarathon . Hongera.”

Meanwhile it was all songs and dances at Eldoret’s Sirikwa Hotel where athletics faithful had congregated to follow the action live on the screens erected at the hotel.

Celebrations started shortly after Keitany pulled from Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa at the 29km mark.

Once the 36-year -old crossed the finish line in 2:22:48, the attention turned to Cheruiyot who was pushing to finish second as she powered past defending champion Shalane Flanagan to take home silver.

” I am impressed by Keitany. Winning her fourth race is wonderful just like Vivian who was competing in her first race at the New York settling for silver,” observed Barnabas Chemase who is also the patron of people living with disability in Uasin Gishu County.

Kamworor’s third place finish however elicited mixed reaction as some fans argued that the defending champion tactics did not pay off.

” I am particularly happy for the women who have scooped the top two positions. For the men I am not that happy because we wanted Kamworor to win,” said an athletics fanatic Hillary Kipkosgei who hails from Nandi county.

Two-time Linz marathon champion Elias Kiptum was similarly elated with the result although Kamworor’s late charge failed to propel him to a triumph.

“We are happy as the fans of Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties after a good show from our fellow Kenyans. We are a little bit disappointed in the men’s race where we expected Kamworor to win but I think his finishing was not good enough but all in all a bronze medal is not bad enough,” observed Kiptum.

Renowned athletes also made their way to Sirikwa Hotel led by 800m gold medalist in Commonwealth Games Wycliffe Kinyamal who was equally impressed by the strong performance by his compatriots.

” It was actually a good show from Mary and Vivian also for Kamworor and all the Kenyans I would like to congratulate them,” Kinyamal said.

Eldoret town  dubbed the ‘City of Champions’ , located in Uasin Gishu county, is actually known for its rich talent in athletics hence it was no surprise as business came to a standstill –  a common denominator whenever a major race is taking place.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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