Kenyan runner named VnExpress Marathon's female champion twice in a row

By Thanh Lan   August 14, 2023 | 03:42 am PT
Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki became the female winner of VnExpress Marathon for the second race straight in Nha Trang on Sunday, after winning the Quy Nhon race two months ago.

The Kenyan runner, 39, maintained a fierce competition style like she did in Quy Nhon. She soon left other female runners behind, running on par with Vietnamese elite male runners.

She completed the race after 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds and was the only woman to achieve a sub-3 at the tournament. She was nearly 9 minutes ahead of runner-up Tomomi Nakajama from Japan.

However, the result is still inferior to her achievement in Quy Nhon when she finished the full marathon in 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 41 seconds.

Muriukis crossing the finish line at VM Nha Trang. Photo by VM

Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki crosses the finish line at VM Nha Trang, Aug. 13, 2023. Photo by VM

Before coming to Nha Trang, Muriuki set a goal to complete the tournament in between 2.5 hours and 2 hours, 35 minutes, but she could not conquer Luong Son Pass easily.

"The race was too difficult. The high and long slopes made me quickly lose strength. With this terrain, completing the race and winning the championship was so much fun," she said.

For the second time attending a VnExpress Marathon tournament, Muriuki said that the races in Vietnam are not easy.

In addition to the terrain factor, hot and humid weather makes runners feel uncomfortable, she said. But in return, she appreciates the organization and the support of the organizers.

"Thank the organizers for sending me an invitation to the tournament. Thank you to the volunteers, who are very enthusiastic about cheering and providing water. There is nothing to criticize in this tournament," she said. She plans to return to Vietnam for the next VnExpress Marathon, probably in Hanoi or Hai Phong.

Muriuki regularly competes in international marathons. During her first race in Vietnam at VM Quy Nhon, Muriuki also put all her strength to run along with the top male athletes in Vietnam to the finish line. She said she was doing that to motivate and inspire Vietnamese female runners.

Muriuki had no female competitors. Photo by VM

Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki has no female competitors at VM Nha Trang 2023. Photo by VM

At the VnExpress Marathon Marvelous Nha Trang 2023, the first and second places in the 42 km distance were claimed by international athletes.

In the men's event, Japanese Hiroki Nakajima surprised everyone when he became the champion. He finished in 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 54 seconds, nearly eight minute before the favorite, Kenyan athlete Victor Kipkemei Chepkwony. Vietnamese Trinh Quoc Luong was in third place.

VM Nha Trang attracted more than 300 foreign runners.

Many VnExpress Marathon tournaments have seen high-achieving international runners this year.

go to top