Little known athletes win Lewa marathon championships

UPDATED: 11:00, June 24, 2007

Little known Cyprian Mwobi and Irebe Mogaka won this year's Safaricom Lewa Marathon, one of the toughest marathon races in the world which was held on Saturday in eastern Kenya.

Mwobi dethroned the defending champion Albert Matebor when he won the 42 km main marathon in 2 hours 19 minutes and 39 seconds ahead of Matebor. Jaffred Chirchir was third.

The women's race was won by Irene Mogaka in 2 hours 48 minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Nelly Jeptoo and Jemimah Muthoni.

Four times Boston marathon champion Catherine Ndereva won the 21km half marathon in an hour 12 minutes and 11 seconds followed by Rebecca Mungai who also won the corporate race.

This year's Lewa Marathon, organized by Kenya's leading mobile phone service provider, Safaricom, received the highest number of participants ever registered in the marathon, which kicked off in the year 2000 with the aim of raising funds for conservation and community projects in Northern and Eastern Kenya.

The unique marathon is one of the toughest in the world and attracted 150 international participants from countries including Britain, the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Spain and South Africa.

The winners in the full marathon pocketed 150,000 shillings (about 2,500 dollars) while the runners up received 80,000 shillings (about 1,350 dollars).

The first three teams in the half marathon and the first five community teams were also awarded. The Safaricom Lewa Marathon is one of the world's toughest 10 marathon races in the world.

Run on a rough terrain and under harsh climatic conditions, it has continued to inspire distance runners and fans alike to compete.

The grueling marathon is unique because it is the only one that it is run within a game reserve located at an average altitude of 5,500 feet above sea level.

Source: Xinhua

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