THOUSANDS of local and foreign runners yesterday flocked Kilimanjaro region in Moshi to take part in the 2021 Kilimanjaro Marathon that saw local runners winning all major events.
It was a 23-year old Augustino Sulle who commanded the 42km Full Marathon in 02 hours,18 minutes and 04 seconds and won gold medal in this year’s prestigious event that was braced with a clear vision of Africa’s highest mountain.
It was a good day for Tanzanian runners as the remaining top nine finishers were also Tanzanians.
“ I trained hard and prepared well to make sure that this time I make my country proud after many years of Kenyan dominance in the full marathon,” said Sulle who recently triumphed in Toronto Marathon in Canada with brilliant time of 2:07:45.
He beat several other top professional athletes who took part in the country’s premier marathon that will next year be celebrating two decades since its inception in 2003.
The runner up prize went to Michael Sanga who penned 02:19:21 while third overall was Charles Sule who clocked 02:20:54.
In the women’s 42-kilometre, Tanzanian Jackline Sakilu ( 33) won the title after spending 02 hours, 45 minutes and 44 seconds.
Other winners from second to ninth positions were Tanzanians, except the tenth position that went to Kremer Dominic of The Netherlands.
“I feel happy to win the major title this time, I lastly won the half marathon in 2014, it’s a milestone for me,” “The race was good and I’m happy with its organisation for the security of runners from the start, during the race (in all routes) and to the finish line,” “It actually gave me a good platform to support my preparations for 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Sakilu.
The race sponsors are Kilimanjaro Premium Lager who backed the 42km full marathon), Tigo Tanzania who sponsored 21km half marathon and energetic drink, grand malt who sponsored 5km Fun Run for people of all ages, youth, elders and children.
Other sponsors were Uniliver Tanzania, Simba Cement, TPC Sugar, Kilimanjaro International Leather Company Limited, Kibo Palace Hotel and official suppliers include Garda World Security, Keys Hotel and CMC Automobile.
In 21km Half marathon for men, the winner was Ugandan Abel Chebet who clocked 01:03:17 , followed by Tanzanians Gabreil Geay, Emmanuel Giniki and Calvin Sarakikya, who emerged second, third and fourth winners after clocking 01:03:18, 01:03:31 and 01:04:12, respectively. The rest of all other winners were Tanzanians.
The 21km race in the women’s discipline was also dominated by Tanzanian runners. The winner was Failuna Matanga who spent 01:16:17, followed by Angelina Tsere who clocked 01:17:43 and Anastazia Dolomongo who spent 01:18:12.
Hundreds of runners also took part in the Grand Malt 5km Fun Run which was led by the Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Abdallah Ulega.
Speaking during the prizegiving ceremony at Ushirika College ground, Kilimanjaro Premium Lager’s brand manager, Irene Mutiganzi said it has been a privilege for Kilimanjaro Premium Lager sponsoring the event in two race categories, the main race and the 5-km race through Grand Malt.
She hailed the winners, participants, organisers and coordinators for the beautiful race ever.
“The massive winning of the Tanzanian runners shows that they have prepared well for the event, I congratulate all the winners,’ she said.
She was also impressed by a magnitude of number of participants from more than 55 countries, making the race among the greatest, not only in Tanzania, but African continent.
Angelina Pesha, who is the head of Tigo Pesa Unit also congratulated the participants for running in the foothills and down of Africa’s highest mountain, adding that Tigo has since 2015 been sponsoring the race and will continue to do that.
Delivering his speech to the participants who were treated to several entertainments, Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Abdallah Ulega thanked all the sponsors, participants, including the organisers, Kilimanjaro Marathon Company and coordinators, Executive Solutions for making the race possible.
He said that the government has been giving Kilimanjaro Marathon a big priority because of its importance to promote athletes and tourism through sports tourism.