•The Uasin Gishu-born runner had to wait for four months before receiving his reward as they were awaiting anti-doping test results
•Kipchirchir was awarded the fruits of his sweat alongside Mercy Kipchumba, winner of the women's marathon
•County boss Jackson Mandago encouraged the athletes to immediately shift focus to upcoming competitions
Former Valencia marathon champion Victor Kipchirchir has set his eyes on retaining his Eldoret City Marathon title set for April next year in Eldoret.
Kipchirchir won this year's title in 2:08.56, beating Leonard Lagat (2:10.49) and Nandi’s Emmanuel Bor (2:11.10) to walk home Sh 3.5million richer.
“This race is well organized and I want to try my best to defend this title next year. It is still far but I am optimistic of being crowned the champion again,”Kipchirchir said.
The Uasin Gishu-born runner, however, had to wait for four months before receiving his reward as the organising committee were still awaiting results of anti-doping tests for each of the winners.
He was returning to action following a road accident in 2018 that kept him sidelined for three years albeit he had clinched the inaugural 15km Machakos Machakos Great Run on his injury return.
In a colourful ceremony on Thursday, Kipchirchir was awarded the fruits of his sweat alongside Mercy Kipchumba, winner of the women's marathon.
“I have been waiting for this payment for a long time but I have it now. I will be planning well for this amount and make best use of it,” said Kipchumba, the women winner.
Race director Moses Tanui said the marathon had not only paid dividends for the winners but also for environmental conservation efforts in Uasin Gishu county.
“We have been at the lead in planting tree seedlings in selected places to ensure we increase forest cover and reserve water bodies. Over a million trees were planted this year under this initiative,” Tanui, he former Boston marathon champion, said.
County boss Jackson Mandago encouraged winners, as well as other runners, to immediately shift focus to upcoming competitions.
“Learn from your colleagues who have succeeded through the years, not necessarily in athletics but other careers. I urge Athletics Kenya and successful athletes to intensify training for the upcoming athletes," Mandago said.