President Kenyatta lead Kenyans in hailing brave Berlin duo


Winner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya (C), second palced Ethiopian Guye Adola (L) and tird placed ...
Winner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya (C), second palced Ethiopian Guye Adola (L) and tird placed Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew celebrate with beer on the podium after the Berlin Marathon on September 24, 2017 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto led  ecstatic Kenyans in passing congratulatory messages to gallant Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono for their  stoic performances that saw them claim podium finishes  in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

Kipchoge ran a masterful race to edge a stacked men’s field and win in 2:03:32 for his eighth win in nine marathon starts.

His compatriot and former World Half champion Cherono completed the Kenyan double moments later as she took the corresponding women’s race in 2:20:23 after topping a close contest.

And an impressed Kenyatta was not left behind joining Kenyans on social  media platforms to hail the duo.

“Congratulations @EliudKipchoge on winning the 2017 @berlinmarathon. You are, undoubtedly, the best marathon runner the world has ever seen,”President Kenyatta wrote on Twitter.

In another tweet, the President said,”Congratulations Gladys Cherono on winning the 2017 women’s @berlinmarathon. You have made us proud!” the Head of State tweeted.

His deputy, William Ruto was also not left behind.He tweeted:”Kudos to @EliudKipchoge for winning #berlinmarathon in 2:03:34, the third fastest time ever and to Felix Kandie for a third place finish.”.

Winner Kenyan Gladys Cherono (C), second placed Ethiopian Ruti Aga (L) and third placed Kenyan Valary Aiyabei celebrate with beer on the podium at the Berlin Marathon on September 24, 2017 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO
Winner Kenyan Gladys Cherono (C), second placed Ethiopian Ruti Aga (L) and third placed Kenyan Valary Aiyabei celebrate with beer on the podium at the Berlin Marathon on September 24, 2017 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO

“Gladys Cherono wins the #berlinmarathon women’s race as Valary Aiyabei comes third. We are proud of you. A great performance by #TeamKenya,” he posted later as Cherono who missed last year’s Olympics due to injury raced home to glory.

Two-time Olympic champion and twice World champion in the 800m David Rudisha  also paid  glowing tributes to the duo .

“Congratulations the great @EliudKipchoge for running a tactical race to win @berlinmarathon,” Rudisha who withdrew from his World 800m title defence due to a quad sprain ahead of the IAAF London championships wrote.

“Another Victoria from Gladys Cherono, we are proud of you. @Kipsang_2_03_23 @EliudKipchoge  @adidasrunning @berlinmarathon,” the World record holder added.

In Berlin, heavy rain the night before and constant drizzle during the race meant the world record of 2:02.57, set on the same track by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014, did not fall as expected.

Kipchoge clocked an official time of two hours, three minutes 32 seconds after holding off the challenge of Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who finished 14 seconds back on his debut at the distance.

However, there were surprises as both former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and last year’s winner Kenenisa Bekele dropped out after the halfway stage.

Kenya's Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge (AFP
Kenya’s Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge .Image/AFP

Halfway mark

Bekele, who had targeted the world record, dropped off the lead group just after the halfway mark with laboured running and eventually failed to finish.

Kipsang suddenly stopped at the 30kms point and was clearly ill.

Adola, 26, who took bronze at the 2014 world half marathon championships, held the lead in the closing stages before Kipchoge took charge.

With six kilometres to go, Adola threatened to claim a shock win when he made a break, but Kipchoge stayed in his wake, closing the 10-metre gap and regained the lead for the final two kilometres.

In the women’s race, Cherono won in 02:20:23 with Ruti Aga of Ethiopia second at 0.18secs back and Valary Aiyabei of Kenya taking third at 0.30.

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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