Kenyan athletes yesterday dominated the Fubon Taipei Marathon, with Josphat Kamzee Jepkopol and Caroline Cheptonui Kilel winning in the male and female titles respectively.
A smiling Jepkopol crossed the finish line in a time of 02:15:27, while Kilel clocked 02:30:19, each winning a cash prize of NT$1.2 million (US$41,000).
Jepkopol’s time was five minutes behind the event’s record of 02:10:24, which lost him the chance of winning an additional NT$800,000.
Close on their heels were three other Kenyans, who were the frontline finishers in the annual event that drew an estimated 100,000 runners this year.
In the male division, Boniface Mbuvi Muema came in second with a time of 02:15:29, and Francis Kipkoech Bowen place third with 02:15:34.
Another Kenyan, Helena Loshanyang Kirc, took second place in the female division with a time of 02:32:43, and Mildred Chebosis Kiminy of Uganda was third with 02:40:49.
Among the Taiwanese runners, Chiang Chieh-wen (蔣介文) was first in the male category for the third straight year, crossing the line in eighth place overall with a time of 02:19:14.
Chen Shu-hua (陳淑華) was the first Taiwanese woman to finish and the fifth female overall, clocking 02:53:53.
Forty-five thousand runners took part in the competition-level adult 42km, 21km and 9km and the children’s 2km races. The others participated in a 3km fun run. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Fubon Financial chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) ran in the 9km race.
The annual event began at 7am at Taipei City Hall Plaza and took the runners on a route along Dajia Riverside Park and back to the plaza. In a post-race interview, Hau said the route had been changed this year to make it a straighter path and less difficult.
However, a competitor surnamed Lu (呂) said despite the easier route, the race was difficult because there were too many runners.