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Bett, Kipkoech win Beyond Zero half marathon

Josphat Bett and Brillian Kipkoech won 21km races in Beyond Zero half marathon. Deputy President William Ruto took part in the 21 kilometers category flagged by former Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who was accompanied by his wife Roman Tesfaye. Dr Ruto completed the race in 2 hours and six minutes. The First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta competed in the 10kms contest and was received at the finish line by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta (centre) competed in the 10kms contest. PHOTO | PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Former world junior 10,000 metres champion, Josphat Bett and Brillian Kipkoech on Sunday beat strong fields on the streets of Nairobi to win 21km races in Beyond Zero half marathon. The 28-year old Bett gave athletics fans glimpses of his world-conquering performance over 10,000 metres at the 2008 World Junior Championship by winning the men’s senior race in an impressive time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 34 seconds. Bett did not show any sign of fatigue, and his tactic of staying with the leading pack of 14-athletes through the race seems to have done the trick for him. The pack broke away from other competitors, including Deputy President William Ruto and Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, after about five kilometers. It appeared any of the 14 could go all the way to victory but Bett saved the best for last and emerged the quickest in the final kilometre. He outsprinted Philemon Rono, Simon Kipkurui and William Wanjiku who crossed the finish line in second, third and fourth positions respectively.  In the women’s race, Kipkoech lifted up both her hands in victory in her final few steps of the race as she crossed the finish line after 1:07.02 hours. She defeated Evelyn Chirchir by a second (1:07.03) as Prague marathon winner Bornes Kitur completed the podium finish in 1:07.23. The men and women 10 kilometer titles were claimed by Vincent Ng’etich and Margaret Chelimo.

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Deputy President William Ruto took part in the 21 kilometers category flagged by former Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who was accompanied by his wife Roman Tesfaye. Ruto completed the race in 2 hours and six minutes. The First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta competed in the 10kms contest and was received at the finish line by President Uhuru Kenyatta. “Five years on, our work is not finished. My new framework still prioritises the health of mothers and children because it remains a deep concern. It also focuses on neglected health challenges,” she said.Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed also graced this year’s edition, which had a new category of the 2kms expectant mothers race, flagged off by Health CS Sicily Kariuki and won by Wincate Karimi.At the event, President Kenyatta directed that all national teams competing in international engagements be fully funded by his government has excited sports stakeholders.”Sports will take centre stage in my government’s agenda this year,” he vowed.”Our athletes are the shining star of Kenya, so all national teams, be it in netball or rugby will be funded by my government. We have put in place a (the Sports) fund to take care of that and I want to tell the athletes you will not lack uniforms or training shoes.”His sentiments were echoed by his Deputy who said: “Through increased resource allocation, improved health delivery systems and working infrastructure including modern equipment and skilled medical personnel, universe health coverage can become a reality.”Nation Media Group with a Sh10 million donation was among several corporates which chipped in to bankroll the event, inaugurated in January 2014 as a flagship program to save lives of mother and children in Kenya.Since, Beyond Zero has offered door to door health services through 52 fully kitted mobile clinics and promoted health education across all counties. Besides the cash donations from the traditional and new partners including Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenya Pipeline, the First Lareceivedrecieved additional support from Chinese Firm Huawei Technologies who presented 50 laptops to support healthcare delivery and Safaricom.The first three finishers of the half marathon were each awarded Sh250,000, Sh125,000 and Sh75,000 respectively.

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