Emmanuel Masinde @PeopleSport11
A heroine’s welcome awaited her on her arrival after one of this year’s exemplary performance by a Kenyan marathon runner anywhere.
Well, it was well-planned and meticulously executed when New York City marathon winner Mary Keitany descended from the plane carrying from the United States of American (USA) where she achieved a fourth win in one of America’s most important cities and capital to many organisations in the world.
Her diminutive figure was dwarfed by 10s of relatives, friends and fellow runners who surged towards her after she made her appearance in the security-controlled facility, one of its kind in the western part of the country.
The belted heroic songs and dance hugged and ululations rent the air as the contingent that accompanied her to the USA was received by her training partners who have maintained discipline and routine on the dusty roads of the Rift Valley.
The 36-year-old endurance running veteran, who finished second to American Shalane Flanagan last year’s, reclaimed the crown clocking 2:22;48 to win in a race that Kenyan runners carved and conducted like a symphonic orchestra performance. Olympic and London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruyiot was second in Sunday’s race.
Upon landing, the elated Keitany said that she did not want to break the world record but just to defend her title though she ran a good race.
“I was not trying to break the World record but I just wanted to defend my title I lost last year, am excited to have won the race,” said Keitany.
Keitany attributed her victory to the Almighty God and his husband-cum-coach Charles Koech for supporting her and motivating her.
“I was happy to cross the line and become the champion again, I thank Almighty God for the victory, fans and my husband for the utmost support he gives me,” said Keitany a mother of two.
Keitany said that she is not sure of running the London marathon next year because it is still far but she will discuss with her management who will be coming in 10 days time.
“I am not sure about next year because we are still in 2018, for now, am going to recover first and celebrate my victory with friends and other things will follow,” said Keitany.
Coach Koech said they are going to have a rest and plan for next year with their management.
As per the norm, the family members led the mursik (sour milk) drinking spree carried in a well-guarded gourd and Sinendet, the Kalenjin traditional ornamental plant used to honour heroes on the big day of honour.
In attendance to receive the heroine was County executive member for sports Anita Kimwatan, Safari Rally navigator Abdul Sidi,
Athletes led by double world champion Ednah Kiplagat, former World marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, former Kass FM marathon champion Philip Kangogo.
A convoy of vehicles paraded on the road to Iten via Eldoret town in style to escort the two champions passing through two great athletics counties of Uasin Gishu to Elgeyo Marakwet to meet Governor Alex Tolgos before a great feast at Keitany’s home at Mororia village.