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Boniface Biwott and Cynthia Jerop haven’t been in the United States long, but the native Kenyans already have made their presence known.
Biwott, 27, who has been in the country for only two months, won Saturday’s Mill Race half-marathon in 1 hour,
4 minutes, 37.9 seconds. Jerop, 18, who has been here for six months, was the women’s winner with a time of 1:15:01.0.
“I feel very nice,” Biwott said. “It was not windy. The weather was OK.”
Biwott, who lives in Hebron, Ky., and won last week’s Quad City (Iowa) half-marathon, outsprinted Geofrey Terer of Minneapolis in the final 100 meters of the 13.1-mile race. Terer was clocked in 1:04:40.5, and Kenyan Marofit Mourane took third in 1:04:45.3.
“The three of us were helping one another,” Biwott said.
Jerop has been in the U.S. for six months and is living in Mobile, Ala., and training in Philadelphia. She was the top female from start to finish and won in 1:15:01.0.
“I feel good because I didn’t have somebody who could push me,” Jerop said. “I was
supposed to run with someone. I was alone from the start. I was trying to catch up with guys, so they could push me to run 1:13, but I’m happy because I got my (personal) best.”
Tennessee native Irina Alexandrova finished second in 1:16:50.3. Rebecca Walter of Bloomington was third in 1:19:01.4.
Both Jerop and Biwott were pleased with their experiences in the inaugural race.
“The course is good,” Jerop said. “I love it.”
“This is a perfect course,” Biwott said.
Meanwhile, Andrew Kaiser, 25, of Cincinnati won the 5K race in 16:30.3. Evan Porter edged fellow Columbus resident Drew Smith 18:25.3 to 18:25.6 for second.
Ensley Hammond, 12, a seventh-grader at Northside Middle School, was the top women’s 5K finisher in 20:37.1 for 3.1 miles.
Nicole Pence, 27, of Indianapolis, took second in 21:24.1.
Gov. Mike Pence, a Columbus native, started the marathon and half-marathon with the sounding of a Cummins engine horn, then participated in the 5K.
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