Eight years since his debut into the classic 42km distance, Mathew Kisorio’s patience paid off after he nailed one of his most gratifying road race victories, scintillatingly winning the second edition of Eldoret City Marathon, Kenya’s highest paying race, on Sunday.

Kisorio’s victory that earns him a cool Sh 3.5 million (untaxed) was particularly a win of its own as the athlete born some 30 years ago in Kachumba, Nandi County, celebrates to have given his late father, Some Muge, who was an athlete and a staunch Christian, a perfect gift for Easter. Every father’s joy is the success of his children.

But the 2011 Stramilano Half Marathon champion showed class, breaking off from a three man’s leading pack at the 31st km mark. He opened a gap and by the time he cut the tape in 2 hours 12.38 minutes, his closest rival David Kiplimo, was about 300 metres away. Kiplimo clocked 2:12.51, followed by Kenneth Kemboi (2:15.43), Kenneth Korir (2:15.59), Henry Kosgei (2:16.07) and Stephen Kipng’etich (2:16.01) closing the best six.

Kisorio’s Sunday win affirmed that he is indeed the king of Eldoret races, having previously won Discovery Cross and Family Bank Half Marathon.

The women’s race saw Prague Marathon record holder Valary Jemeli Aiyabei, walk away with the victory.
The 2018 Beijing Marathon champion, who is currently basking on a class of her own-breaking records and winning races all over- finished the race in 2:27.17, one minute clear of Vivian Kiplagat who checked in later in 2:28.06 and Elizabeth Lumokol closing the podium in 2:33.00.

Standing quite relaxed after finishing the 26.2-mile distance, Aiyabei said: “I only wanted to use this race as a long run but halfway, my body adapted well. I felt stronger and stronger, I must say this is a good course to train good marathoners.” Her sentiments only showing how a strong marathoner she currently is, considering most athletes were completely drained after the race.

Back into the thorny issue! the drought and delayed rains caused by climate change. Governor Jackson Mandago EGH, speaking to the media after running and finishing 5km, said: “The only way to go about these problems of prolonged droughts in our country is by planting more trees.”

“We are soon enforcing a law that trees should be planted on at least 10 percent of your land. The rains are delayed because our forest cover is minimal.”

Later as he gave his speech, Mandago also said that he has taken a personal challenge to rally the rest of the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) counties to embrace tree planting “because the counties share water as a resource” with rivers crossing counties boundaries.

Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno said avocados, as a tool to diversification, also works to increase forest cover. “We need to plant trees, avocados being sources of money, also assist us in increasing the forest cover, a catalyst to rains.”

CEC for Water and Environment, Mary Njogu, said the county has 1 million tree seedlings that will be planted when the rains start.

Principal Secretary for Trade and Industrialization, Chris Kiptoo, Honorary Consulate of Kenya in the Hellenic Republic, Vicky Pantazapoulou, Elgeyo Marakwet and Turkana Deputy Governors Wisley Rotich and Peter Emuria respectively, CECs and other government officers who spoke, emphasized on the importance of planting of trees.

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