Posted by: Joe English | June 8, 2008

Racing: Chesang wins Hospital Hill Half-Marathon in sprint finish

KANSAS CITY — Former Kansas State runner Mathew Chesang pulled ahead of fellow Kenya native Wesley Ochoro with about 100 yards to go to win the Hospital Hill Half-marathon in a quick 1:06:30. Ochoro finished just behind in 1:06:32.

Kenyans took the top two spots on the women’s side, as well. Genoveva Kigen, a 26-year-old from Kenya, posted the top women’s time in 1:17:52. Caroline Rotich, also part of the AmeriKenyan group, was second in 1:19:00. The overall male and female half-marathon winners won $2,500 each.

The 35th annual Hospital Hill Run drew a record 4,252 total entrants for the half-marathon, 10K and 5K races, race director Beth Salinger said. The previous high, according to Salinger, was more than 4,100 back in 1983.

Chesang, a 26-year-old Olathe resident, came from Kenya in 2001 to run for Kansas State, graduating in 2006. He specialized in the 10K in college, but has now moved up to the half-marathon distance.
He he has won all three half-marathons in which he has competed this year, after victories in St. Louis and Chicago.

During the race, a lead pack of four eventually fell to two in the closing miles. Chesang and Ochoro, a 30-year-old runner who came as part of the AmeriKenyan Running Club based in New Mexico, traded the lead down the stretch.

Chesang took the lead with 300 yards to go only to fall behind Ochoro again before surging at the end to win.

“It makes (it) more exciting, it makes (it) more tough,” Chesang told the Kansas City Star of the narrow finish. “It’s really painful sprinting the last 100 yards or so after running a half-marathon.”

“The name explains a lot,” Chesang said. “It’s a very hilly course. This is one of the toughest races I’ve run this year.”

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