Vicoty Chepngeno was the first across the finish line at the 16th annual Monterey Bay Half Marathon holding off the elite men who started nine minutes and five seconds behind her
Chepngeno, a Kenyan living and training in Grand Prairie, TX, covered the 13.1-mile course in 1:08:03, smashing the women’s course record by over a minute and half. As the race began Sunday morning, the 25-year-old made a clear break from her competitors and maintained a healthy lead throughout the race, clicking off 5:10 miles. Futsum Zienasellassie, 26, of Flagstaff, AZ took the top spot for the men in 1:02:33, logging the second-fastest men’s finish in the race’s history.
Still, he and the other male competitors were unable to catch Chepngeno as she neared the finish line. As the first runner across the line, Chepngeno collected an additional $3,000 on top of the $4,000 award for being the first female.
“I’m so happy to be here, and I love the people of Monterey,” said Chepngeno. When asked if she’d return next year to defend her title, Chepngeno replied, “Absolutely, I can’t wait to be back out on the beautiful course next year.”
Panuel Mkungo of Coon Rapids, MN took second for the men in 1:02:37, and Patrick Smyth of Sante Fe, NM took third in 1:02:39. Second female was Australian Milly Clark in 1:11:49, followed by 2017 women’s champion Monicah Ngige in 1:11:59.
The top eight runners in the men’s and women’s divisions competed for a total purse of $25,000 plus another $5,000 in total bonus money for the first three runners of either gender to finish.
Runners were met with ideal conditions with overcast skies and temperatures from the low-50s to 60s during the race. Roughly 6,700 participants set out along the 13.1-mile scenic course that includes historic downtown Monterey, Cannery Row, and the Pacific Grove shoreline and Asilomar State Beach to finish back in downtown Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf.
“It was a spectacular day with many runners setting personal bests,” said Doug Thurston, Race Director. “We were so glad to welcome back thousands of runners from our canceled race last year and many new runners to our race along the beautiful Monterey Bay.”
The 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon was canceled the day before when shifting winds brought smoky and unhealthy air into the area from the Camp Fire.
The Big Sur Marathon Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create beautiful running events that promote health and benefit the community. Under the brand are three individual race weekends: Big Sur International Marathon in April, Run in the Name of Love 5K and 2K in June, and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, 5K and 3K in November.
posted Monday November 11th