London Marathon pacemaker Pauline Njeru, three-year uninterrupted reign as the Safaricom Imenti South 15km queen came to an abrupt end after being dethroned at Nkubu in Meru county Sunday.
The Embu-based Njeru finished second in 58:01.06 to surrender the title to training partner Nanjing marathon 21km champion Miriam Nakter. The going seemed to be tough for defending champions as Isaac Kipkoech finished fifth to dispossessed of the title by Stephen Kiprop.
Nakter on her third attempt breasted the tape in 57:47.04 ahead of Njeru and third placed policewoman Margaret Wangari (58:11.02) to pocket Sh100,000 winner’s prize money.
Nakter eclipsed a rich field of elite runners including 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medalist Lucy Kabuu who timed 58:28.03 in fifth place.
The 2011 Africa Cross Country junior bronze medalist Mary Munanu was eighth in 59:28.03 as the Mombasa International Marathon champion Shelmith Muriuki completing the top-10 list in 1:00.02.
Kiprop stopped the timer in 48:12.07 to emerge as the new South Imenti road race king as Kipkoech clocked 49:53.06 to surrender the bragging rights to the Elgeyo Marakwet based runner. Rock ‘N’ Roll pacer, Nandi-based Emmanuel Bor settled for second spot in 48:58.09 as Makueni’s Alexander Mutiso completed the last podium finish place in 48:16.02.
Njeru blamed her loss to fatigue after taking part in a road race in Poland two weeks ago and vowed to reclaim her title and improve the Imenti South course record she holds next year. The senior category races were flagged off at Igoji (Kanyuuruko) by the Meru Sports minister Daniel Kiogora.