STORMY weather failed to keep the Kenyans from dominating Leg 2 of the Safeguard-2XU Sole Racing International Half-Marathon at the Mall of Asia on Sunday morning.
Jospath Kiptanui Too peeled off from the pack early and clocked a race-best one hour, seven minutes and nineteen seconds in the 21-kilometer race run amid heavy rains and a strong gust from the bay.
Countryman Willy Rotich followed one minute and 34 seconds later to place second and James Tallam came in third with a 1:11:03 clocking to complete the podium sweep for the formidable Kenyan contingent.
The 27-year-old Too, who had just finished his college degree in Thailand, described the course that paralleled Manila Bay as “very flat but also very humid” and found the race challenging since he was not used to running under rainy conditions.
For the women's open, Joan Ayabei finished first with a time of 1:20:41 followed by Margaret Njuguna 1:23:38. Filipina Mary Joy Tabal broke the Kenyan monopoly by finishing 3rd (1:26:37).
About 1,200 runners answered the 4 a.m. starting gun for the race that headed along Roxas Boulevard with a turn-around in front of the Rizal Monument, passing by MOA before a final U-turn at Macapagal Avenue for the final stretch to the finish line.
In the men’s local division, Rafael Poliquit took first place with a 1:13:12 time with Mario Maglinao finishing a close second on 1:13:21 and Jhon Philip Duenas third with 1:15:49.
Mary Grace delos Santos led the women’s local division 1:27:26, followed by Flordeliza Nhea Ann Barcena in 1:32:34.
In other categories, Manuel Remandaba, who took up running just four years ago, finished the fastest in the 65 years old and above category. The 66-year old school bus driver from San Juan City clocked in at 2:34:45.
Representing the ladies in the 55-59 year old bracket was Tessie Escasinas with a time of 2:03:40.
Meanwhile, the 'Six:30's Loveliest' received recognition as the fastest group when its members finished with a total time of 21 hours.
Celebrities Kim Atienza and Matteo Guidicelli also took part in the half-marathon event which awarded cash prizes to the winners aside from running paraphernalia, gift packs and a trophies.
Organizers, mindful of the environmental impact of the event, instituted a “no waste policy” that eliminated plastic cups in drinking stations and required participants to carry water containers.
Leg 3 of Sole Racing is scheduled for October 27, 2013 at Nuvali in Sta. Rosa. Laguna.