The month of March proved a fruitful one for our Kenyan athletes, who recorded notable wins in European road races on three weekends out of four.
The stand-out result was undoubtedly Jonah Chesum’s victory in the IAAF Bronze Label Barcelona Marathon on 12 March. Jonah’s winning time of 2:08:57 was not only a stunning performance in its own right but also the biggest (and most lucrative) win of his career by some distance. The result was all the more impressive given that he went to the race as a pacemaker, with the target of reaching 30k. By his own admission, Jonah even ran the first few kilometres a shade faster than required, passing the 10km mark in a rapid 29:29. But that did not seem to affect him in the second half, when many of the athletes vying for a place on the podium dropped out of the race. Having led the race since before 10km, Jonah held on to secure a famous victory. The story of his win was picked up by several Spanish newspapers, and he received a hero’s welcome upon arrival at Eldoret airport in his native Kenya two days later.
A week earlier, our rising star Morris Gachaga won the prestigious Paris Half Marathon in 60:38, prevailing in a sprint finish despite wet and windy conditions. Not yet 22, this was a mere three seconds short of his best time for a half, and bodes well for the rest of this year and beyond. In the women’s race, Polline Wanjiku clocked 70:51 to finish 2nd, the same position as in this race last year.
On the final weekend of the month, John Lotiang won the Warsaw Half Marathon, having run solo from just after 5km. At 10km he was 15 seconds clear of the second-placed athlete and he went on to win by around 30 seconds in 61:12, his fastest time over the distance in more than a year.