Purity Gitonga caused a major upset on Saturday when she defeated two-time World Mountain Running winner Lucy Murigi in a dazzling performance during the inaugural 12-kilometre Mt Kenya Mountain Running Championship in Meru County.
Gitonga, who has lived in the shadow of Murigi during mountain running competitions abroad, turned the tables on the more experienced runner, to win her the first race on home soil.
Gitonga clocked 53:13:64 minutes to walk away with Sh500,000 cash prize while Murigi (53:34:4) received Sh250,00.
Third-placed Esther Wangui Waweru received Sh100,000.
Wangui had recovered from a fall during a chaotic start, running the entire race with a bleeding right elbow, hip and leg.
At least 10 ambassadors and foreign dignitaries took part in the championship being sponsored by various organisations, among them Nation Media Group which fielded a 20-member team led by CEO Stephen Gitagama.
Also present were Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, his Kisumu counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o, MPs Rahim Dawood (Imenti North) and Kirima Nguchine (Imenti Central) and a host of MCAs.