Kigali Peace Marathon winner, Ezekial Omullo Kemboi, has revealed that he was motivated to win the men’s full marathon on Sunday to get transport back to Kenya.
With US$2,300 (about Rwf1.6m) at stake for the winner of the full marathon, Kemboi found himself between a rock and a hard place after he was left with no single coin having paid a registration fee worth Rwf20, 000 for foreigners and had to cater for his food and accommodation during his three-day stay in Kigali. He had earlier thought that these costs would be much lower.
“We were told that the top six runners will be rewarded with cash prizes so I set a target of finishing among the top five so that I can get some money to pay for my transport as well as my other country-mates who were up to 35 in total,” explained Kemboi.
Kemboi is no stranger to the annual event, having finished fifth in the 2013 edition but the responsibility he gave himself, to take care of his fellow Kenyan runners in foreign land inspired him to glory, a feat that has shocked him.
The 28-year-old Kemboi from Eldoret said, “I actually still can’t believe that I won because I completely didn’t expect it. Utmost, I expected to be number three or even second but not first.”
Kemboi clocked 2:18:15 with Rwandan Jean Baptiste Ruvubi finishing a historic second that saw him become the first Rwandan athlete to claim a podium place in the men’s full marathon in the 11-year history of the annual event.
Benard Kipngetich (2:19:27) was third with Rwandan Fred Habakurama finishing fifth having posted 2:22:04. Sezar Nizeyimana (2:28:07) who finished 10th completed a country record of three Rwandans in the top 10 to end a decade-long jinx.