[PHOTO AT LEFT - Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte fires off runners in the Quezon City International Marathon at the QC Memorial Circie. At inset are winners Hillary Kimutai Kipchumba (left) and Doreen Kitaka. Ernie Penaredondo | MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, OCTOBER 19, 2009 (STAR) By Joey Villar - Kenyans Hillary Kimutai Kipchumba and Doreen Kitaka turned the first Quezon City International Marathon into a virtual playground as they dominated their respective divisions in the event which drew over 6,000 runners at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City yesterday.

Running his first full marathon, the 22-year-old Kipchumba paced himself well majority of the 42-km race then poured it all out in the last three kilometers to nip pre-race favorite and compatriot Daniel Koringo for the crown. He clocked two hours, 30 minutes, eight seconds and took the top purse of P300,000.

Koringo, tipped to dominate the event being the most veteran among the Kenyans, went into attack mode and led from start until the 39th-km where he pulled his right harmstring, enabling Kipchumba and two other Kenyans to overtake him.

He turned in a 2:31.05 clocking and wound up fourth in the event organized by Quezon City headed by Mayor Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte and backed by San Miguel Corp., The Philippine STAR, New San Jose Builders, GMA Network, Puregold, Ayala Land, Robinson’s Land and SM Malls.

Samuel Tarus Too and Daniel Chirchir took the next two spots in 2:30.36 and 2:30.49 and the P200,000 and P100,000 prizes, respectively.

“I really trained hard for this race, although I did not expect to win it. But when I saw Daniel (Koringo) slow down, I made my move,” said Kipchumba of his inspiring victory that came a week after he took the 21km title in the Borneo Marathon.

Mayor Belmonte was on hand to award the prizes and trophies to the winners of the event, highlight of Quezon City’s 70th founding anniversary celebrations.

“We’re proud and happy we hosted an event of this magnitude, this is the biggest sports event we’ve hosted, we hope this isn’t the last,” said Belmonte.

Koringo, the 2005 world junior track and field silver medal winner before deciding to try his luck in marathon a year later, said he slowed down in the final stretch so as not to aggravate the injury.

“I was leading all the way and I thought I would end up winning,” said Koringo. “But I felt something, my right leg suddenly hurts, I didn’t want to risk injuring it even further so I was forced to slow down.”

Cresenciano Sabal, fresh from his Milo Marathon triumph a week ago, tried to put up a fight as he stuck it out with the visiting runners majority of the way. But he lost steam in the last five kilometers, settling for a fifth-place finish in 2:36.58.

“My target is to finish at least third but they’re just too strong for me,” said Sabal, who took home P150,000 to add to the P75,000 he won last week.

The Kenyans completed their romp in the inaugural staging of the event by sweeping the top three places in the women’s side with Doreen Kitaka winning the crown in 2:58.55. She also won P300,000.

Lydia Jeratich Rutto (3:09.30), and Sarah Maito (3:12.48), who placed second in last weekend’s Borneo Marathon, came in second and third, respectively.

Aileen Tolentino emerged as the best Filipina finisher in the 42K by placing fourth overall in 3:23.57. She received P150,000.

The event is backed by Maxima, Salonpas, 100 Plus, Manila Water, Timex, Nissan Navara, Fitness First, Nature Valley, Fern-C, Fern Slim, Flapjacks and Universidad.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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