Kigali International Peace Marathon
Rwanda’s middle and long distance runner Félicien Muhitira has vowed to become the second Rwandan male athlete to strike gold in the half marathon category of the forthcoming Kigali International Peace Marathon.
The 14th edition of the annual international event takes place this Sunday where about 8,000 athletes from different parts of the world are expected to participate.
Since its inception in 2005, only two Rwandans have won gold medals in the half marathon category, and none in the full marathon.
The first to do so was legendary long distance runner Dieudonné Disi in 2006, before 20-year-old Salome Nyirarukundo became the first Rwandan female athlete to win gold in the annual race last year.
Muhitira, one of the most experienced Rwandan athletes, has also vowed to challenge Kenyans come May 20, revealing that he will be aiming for nothing other than a gold medal.
“It’s this year or never. I have never felt readier for peace marathon. I want to climb on that podium, see my country’s flag flying high and the national anthem being sung. I know the kind of challenge awaiting me, especially from Kenyans, but I have been racing against them in Italy and I believe I can topple them,” a confident Muhitira told Times Sport yesterday.
Last year, Bartile Kipkoech claimed the gold medal after covering 21km in one hour, four minutes and 25 seconds, one minute and thirteen second ahead of compatriot Ezekiel Kimeli, in second place. John Hakizimana (1:05:48) was Rwanda’s best, bagging a bronze medal.
“I have been training hard ever since I returned from Italy last month and my target is to beat my current personal best. If I manage to, I will definitely be heading for gold,” Muhitira added.
In March, while in Italy, the 24-year-old clocked one hour, two minutes and four seconds in RomaOstia Half Marathon to set his personal best.