Vitalis Kwemoi and Viola Chemos emerged winners in the male and female categories (respectively) to claim the 42km races of the second staging of the Tusker Lite Mt Rwenzori Marathon held on Saturday in Kasese.
Kwemoi, 26 a member of Tuko Africa club completed the course with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 21 seconds. He maintained a steady pace throughout the race and pulled ahead of his competitors in the final stretch to secure his victory.
“I feel good because I’m the winner of the day. The course was tough but I thank God I finished the race as number one. I’m used to running up the hill but today I encountered slopes and that challenged me a lot,” said Kwemoi who is based in Kapchorwa adding that he seeks to emulate elite athletes from the Sebei region. He also has dreams for events outside the country.
Chemos, 30 who was in Kasese for the first time in her life clocked a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes and 3 seconds, winning her first 42km event in the category debut. Her consistent pacing and unwavering determination saw her cross the finish line ahead of all the women in the category.
“It was really hard but I thank God that I made it, it was God’s wish,” said Chemos, who was visibly emotional as she accepted her victory. “This has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I’m grateful to have achieved it today,” added the Arua Athletics Club star who revealed that she looks forward to more events.
The winning pair of the 42km category both walked home with UGX 8 Million courtesy of Standard Chartered Bank who are the marathon partners.
Benard Cheptoch (02:17:22), Shetrack Kimaiyo (02:17:37) capped the men’s podium while Abraham Kiplimo (02:17:52) and Danielle Rotich (02:18:20) finished fourth and fifth. They won UGX 5, 3, 2 and 1 Million shillings respectively.
For the women, Rosina Jepkosgei Kiboino (2:50:32) and Priscilla Chelengat (2:52:01) capped the women’s podium while Vanis Chemutai (2:54:25) and Agnes Jepkosgei (2:55:22) finished fourth and fifth. They won UGX 5, 3, 2 and 1 Million shillings respectively.
Meanwhile, in the 21km category, Abel Chebet won the men’s race off 01:02:56. Somikwo Chelimo (01:02:57) and Norman Kipyeko (01:03:02) capped the podium. Oscar Kibet (01:03:02) and Thomas Ayeko (01:03:10) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
In the women’s 21km race, Dorcas Ajok clocked a time of 01:16:24 to emerge winner. Belinda Chemutai came second with a time of 01:16:30 while Annet Chalangat capped the podium with a time of 01:16:32. Scarlet Chebet (01:18:01) and Rebecca Cherop (01:18:10) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Herbert Kibet of Mother Kevin Track club in Kampala won the 5km event. Barnabas Mugume and Thomas Cheptoyek finished second and third.
The 2023 Tusker Lite Mt Rwenzori Marathon was graced by over 2,000 participants from over 10 countries. Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) through the Tusker Lite brand is the lead sponsors. The partners are; Standard Chartered Bank, Britam Insurance, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Rwenzori Mineral Water, Unilever Uganda, Hima Cement Airtel, UDB, UNDP and others.
As successful runners celebrated their victories, they were met with cheers and applause from the crowds gathered at the finish line. And while the Tusker Lite Mt Rwenzori Marathon may be over for this year, the memories of the competitive races will no doubt endure for years to come.