Nyirarukundo strikes gold, sets new record at Montreal marathon

On top of the gold medal, Nyirarukundo also bagged Rwf9.5M (US$11,000) in cash prize.
Salome Nyirarukundo, 20, celebrates after crossing the finish-line in Montreal, Canada yesterday. It was her maiden appearance in the annual event. Courtesy

Sunday

Montreal marathon-Canada

Men's Full Marathon

1. Ezekiel Mutai (Kenya) 2h11’05”
2. Wycliffe Biwott (Kenya) 2h15’38”
3. JMV Uwajeneza (Rwanda) 2h18’10”

Women's Full Marathon

1. Salome Nyirarukundo (Rwanda) 2h28’02”
2. Joan Kigen (Kenya) 2h31’26”
3. Emebet Antenech (Ethiopia) 2h43’24”

Rwanda’s leading female athlete Salome Nyirarukundo made history on Sunday as she set a new event record to win the 28th edition of the annual Montreal Marathon in Canada.

The event is also commonly known as Marathon Oasis de Montreal.

Her compatriot, Jean Marie Vianney Uwajeneza, claimed bronze in the men’s full marathon. Both long distance runners were making their debut appearance in the competition.

Prior to her trip to Canada, Nyirarukundo, 20, had been training extensively at the Global Communications Camp in Kaptagat, Eldoret-Kenya since her heroics during this year’s Kigali International Peace Marathon where she retained gold in women’s half-marathon category.

The APR Athletics Club runner defied the odds yesterday to take gold in what seemed a comfortable victory in the 42.2km race, beating a strong field of renowned Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes by almost four minutes.

She clocked 2 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds, the quickest time ever by a female marathoner at the annual event since 1979 when it was established.

Regarded as the country’s best female athletes, all disciplines combined, Nyirarukundo beat her closest contender Joan Kigen (2:31:26), of Kenya, by 3 minutes and 24 seconds.

Ethiopian Emebet Antenech used 2 hours, 43 minutes and 24 seconds to scoop bronze.

By winning the race on her debut, Nyirarukundo set a new record, dethroning Ethiopian Serkalem Biset Abrha who won the 2011 edition in 2 hours, 33 minutes and 21 seconds.

On top of the gold medal, Nyirarukundo also bagged Rwf 9.5M (US$11,000) in cash prize.

Meanwhile, another Rwandan, Uwajeneneza, also put on a stunning performance to win a bronze medal after clocking 2 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds in the men’s category.

Kenya’s Ezekiel Mutai who finished fifth at this year’s Madrid marathon in April, completed the course in a Montreal record time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 5 seconds to take gold, 33 seconds ahead of compatriot Wycliffe Biwott.

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