It was total jubilation as Kenyan athletes bagged one title after another in the just-concluded 40th Parish Marathon in Parish, France. The 24 year-old Cyprian Kotut led the Kenyan team in scooping major titles when he won the 26-mile race in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 11 seconds. This was a major improvement from his record in last year’s Milano Marathon, where he finished second with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 55 seconds.
Kotut was followed by two other Kenyans Laban Korir, who finished second in the time of 2:07:29, and Stephen Chemlany who came in third in the time of 2:08:55.
Kotut, who won last month’s Parish Half Marathon, is the younger brother of three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel. Speaking to journalists after the win, Kotut said that he was a bit surprised to have finished the race on such a high note following his last month’s experience in the Parish Half-Marathon.
“It’s a bit surprising. It’s my second experience at the marathon and I had that fear that I wouldn’t have so much experience. My objective was to run my personal best so it’s perfect,” Kotut said.
Women’s Race Winners
Visiline Jepkesho, another Kenyan athlete, lifted her nation’s flag high in the women’s race after she finished first in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 21 seconds, ahead of Ethiopians Gulume Chala and Dinknesh Tefera.
Amid mild temperatures in France, the race started on a high pace and stayed open until the 30-kilometer mark when Jepkesho accelerated ahead of Chala who managed to trail her with a difference of 21 seconds all the way to the finish line.
The 27 year-old Jepkesho, who is also a Kenya Prisons constable, improved on her third place showing last year to claim this year’s title. She is also the winner of the 2014 Lisbon Marathon. This win improves her chances of being selected for the forthcoming Rio Olympic Games in August, 2016.
Following the terrible Parish terrorist attack in November 2015, French authorities couldn’t leave anything to chance. Security in the French capital was tight during the race in which over 40,000 athletes participated. No incident was reported.