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Colombian Rios takes Kiss crown
Three-time Olympian Juan Carlos Cardona Rios of Colombia was yesterday crowned the new men’s champion of the Kiss T&T International Marathon (TTIM) when he dipped past the finish line at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, in 2:23:51.
His impressive finish was the 11th fastest time recorded in the 30 years of T&T’s single largest marathon. Trailing 41 seconds behind was the familiar face of Kenyan Mark Chepes, who had to settle for the runner-up spot for a second year running. In third was another Kenyan in Peter Rivas who clocked in at 2:27:55. The top spots were all significantly faster than those posted in last year’s event, which was captured by Philemon Kipchilat. Curtis Cox led the T&T runners with an eighth-placed overall finish (2:41:23), while Cantius Thomas, T&T’s runner-up athlete ended in 10th spot.
While the men’s event celebrated a new winner, a now-household name in the women’s event, Mary Akor, extended her title count to seven when she eased to the finish line in 2:49:13. A Kenyan pair in Leah Kigen (2:49:13) and Judy Kimuge (2:59:02) were left in the dust for the second and third spots, respectively.
Akor, the record holder in the women’s race finished in her third fastest time since winning the race for the first time in 2006.
Following the gruelling 42-plus kilometer run, which began at St Mary’s Junction, Freeport, the 36-year-old Akor said the race will follow a period of rest after competing in series of races in the United States, several of which she was successful in, including the Des Moines Marathon, staged in Iowa, USA, in October.
When questioned if she plans to challenge any other regional marathons, Akor explained that she does not venture far from the USA with the odd exception of T&T, which she says has become her second home.
A relaxed Akor, who looked anything but surprised said she couldn’t recall the number of times she participated in the event.
“I just love T&T,” she said.
“Trinidad is like home. It’s a place where you see all types of people. I always feel happy and relaxed whenever I come here.” Akor said she was introduced to the country through several patriotic friends, and insisted she will continue to visit. For her effort, Akor, similar to the men’s champion secured the top prize of US$3,600.
In the half marathon event, which ran simultaneously, Lionel D’Andrade and Tonya Nero, defended their men’s and women’s crowns, respectively.
The race was dominated by local runners which took the top three spots in both divisions.
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