Kenyan wins prestigious US race

 Sammy Kitwara of Kenya is this year’s winner of a world-renowned top athletic event –The AJC Peachtree road race. He beat over 60,000 runners who braced the scorching Atlanta sun and the soaring July heat to participate in the prestigious race as part of the festivities to mark the 235th year since the United States gained its independence. By BMJ Muriithi in Atlanta

The champion posted his second Peachtree Road Race victory after clocking 28 Minutes and 5 seconds. His first win was in 2009 when he clinched the first position at 27.22, becoming the second fastest runner in the event’s recorded history. At the finish line, Kitwara was wildly cheered by fans, who included Kenya’s ambassador to the US, Mr Elkanah Odembo.
Mathew Kisorio, a fellow Kenyan, followed closely to take the second position. Kenyans have won the race seventeen times since 1992. A policeman by training, Kitwara first started competing as a runner in 2007 and has now won 11 races around the world.
Speaking to The Standard shortly after being declared the winner, the 24 year old athlete said he was happy to fly the Kenyan flag at the prestigious event. He however blamed the rising humidity for his inability to break the record he set two years ago. “It was just too hot this year, but we persevered,” he said.
On the women’s side, Alice Timbilili of Kenya came second with Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane finishing first with a time of 31:22. Kidane is a highly accomplished long-distance runner, earning medals in seven different world running championships from 2002 to 2005, including the world title at the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Mr Odembo congratulated the athletes on behalf of the Kenyan government and expressed his hope that they would bag more medals in future. “These are the best ambassadors for the country. Their win speaks volumes on what Kenya is about,” he told a battery of journalists from leading media houses in the US and other parts of the world.
The Peachtree Road Race has been run in Atlanta every July 4 since 1970, becoming the world’s largest 10K race. Kenya’s Joseph Kimani, a two-time winner, has held the race’s best time since 1996, when he scorched Atlanta’s streets by running a 27:04. Lornah Kiplagat. Another Kenyan, holds the women’s record: 30:32, set in 2002.

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