Uganda’s long-distance runner, Ben Chelimo Somikwo won the UNDP Elgon half marathon held in Mbale City on Saturday.
The Prisons Athletics Club competitor secured the 21km race victory in 1:02:02 seconds. He was followed by Maxwell Kortek Rotich who crossed the finishing line in 1:02.99 while Andrew Kwemoi, came third in 1:03:53 seconds.
Somikwo kept running in third place after the two athletes Kwemoi and Rotich broke off from the group after 7km, up to 19km, when he closed the gap which motivated him to sprint off from them, leading him to the podium finish.
He said that the win has given him joy after a long period without competing due to injuries.
“I am happy I have come back strong, and my aim is to commence preps for the 2023 MTN Kampala Marathon,” says Somikwo.
Meanwhile, Mercyline Chelangat won the senior women’s category after crossing the finishing line in 1 hour 11 minutes and 67 seconds to defeat the 2018 Commonwealth gold medalist Stella Chesang who crossed the finishing line at 1:12.09 seconds, and Annet Chelangat Chemengich who came third in 1:13:40 seconds.
Chelangat, who represented Uganda at the 2023 World Champions in Marathon women says, the course was friendly despite of the cold weather conditions and needs a lot of endurance and calculations.
“Honestly, most kilometers was flat and friendly run through despite the cold weather and drizzles,” says Chelangat, adding. She says the competition was also stiff considering the colleagues we were competing with, like my friend Stella Chesang who is equally good in road racing, however to God be Glory,”
In the 10km Race, Rodgers Kwemoi won with a time of 30 minutes and 12 seconds, followed by Hosea Chemutai who crossed the line in 30 minutes 56 seconds and Silas Sande came third after crossing the finish line in 31 minutes, 04 seconds.
Whereas, in the Woman’s category, Prisca Chesang Chemweno shines to the podium with a time of 34 minutes and 14 seconds.
Njia Benjamin, Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF), technical head and also the National coach, congratulated the athletes for embracing the first-ever UNDP Elgon half marathon debut, considering the fact that, is a race for Climate Change.
“Athletes are good ambassadors of Change and we believe as UAF, we do have a role to play in the restoration of the environment, ” states Njia.