Karanja, Naktari triumph in Embu Red Cross Half- Marathon


Pius Karanja crosses the tape to win the Embu Red Cross Half Marathon in Embu ...
Pius Karanja crosses the tape to win the Embu Red Cross Half Marathon in Embu County.

Pius Karanja from Nyahururu showed Stanley Njahia a clean pair of heels at halfway mark to cruise to the tape in the second edition of the Embu Red Cross Half- Marathon on Sunday.

The 30 year-old Karanja conquered the hilly and scenic tough course in one hour, three minutes and 05 seconds to edge out Njahia to second place in 1:03:21 hrs.

Karanja who came second in the Old Mutual Ndakaini HalfMarathon exchanged leads with Njahia from the three-kilometre mark before Karanja gradually opened the gap at the 10km.

“I came well prepared for this race and I’m happy to have won the title,” Karanja who was using the race to prepare for the forth coming Laikipia Marathon, said. “I decided to break (to top speed) but Njahia failed to respond. I knew victory was mine after he wilted further,” Karanja who is also the Kisii 10km race champion, added.

Njahia, 29, was gracious in defeat but said the race has added value to his preparations for the Laikipia event.

Joel Melly, second runner up at this year’s Old Mutual Ndakaini Half-Marathon finished third in 1:03:56hrs followed by Peterson Kibui Muthoni in 1:04:01hrs, as Gitari Stephen wrapped up the top five in 1:05:29hrs.

In the women’s race, Miriam Naktari swung to the front at the four kilometre mark and never looked back winning  in 1:12:58hrs to beat Emmah Kiruki, who came second clocking 1: 14: 97hrs.

Despite it being Naktari’s maiden race over the half marathon, she decided to break early, overtaking Emmah Karuki at the four-kilometre mark to claim the top prize as the latter settled for the second position.

“I have heard many people talking about how this course was tough hence I chose it as my first half marathon venue,” Naktari said after her conquest.

Margret Wamahinya finished third after clocking 1:16:30, while Njoki Ndugu was fourth with time of 1:16:45hrs. Risper Lagat came fifth in 1:16:56hrs.

Miriam Naktari at finishing line after emerging the win of 21kilometres women race for the  2nd edition of Embu Red Cross Mini marathon
Miriam Naktari at finishing line after emerging the win of 21kilometres women race for the 2nd edition of Embu Red Cross Mini marathon.IMAGE/Antony Ndwigah.

In the 10 Kilometre race, John Elimlim clocked 29:55:8 minutes to win the contest ahead of John Mwiruri Mburu who managed 30:01:3minutes after out sprinting Lameck Mwakio to the finish line in 30:03:9minutes.

In the female race, Mary Munani claimed a podium finish after clocking 34:05:1minutes, beating Josephine Wambui who clocked 35: 12:7.Vitarity Kipii clocked 36:14:6 for third position as Judith Korir settled for fourth place.

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