Kenyan woman inspires by running men's Vietnam marathon

By Quynh Chi   June 13, 2023 | 08:14 am PT
VnExpress Marathon Quy Nhon 2023's woman champion Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki ran alongside the top Vietnamese male runners to encourage the female spirit.

The Kenyan long-distance runner said it took 100% of everything she had to finish the men’s marathon.

When she reached the finish line, she said she could not feel her legs because they were too tired.

"I wanted to do this to motivate female runners in Vietnam, and remind you that you can do it," she said.

She was the only woman running alongside other male athletes for the 42 km race on Sunday.

Muriuki said that she hopes the fact that the female champion can finish with the men will help inspire other women.

Muriuki won the women's full marathon in 2 hours 47 minutes and 41 seconds. The runner-up was Le Thi Lam at 3 hours 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

In the combined men and women’s groups Muriuki was ranked sixth overall and was the only female runner in the top 10.

Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki - VnExpress Marathon Quy Nhon 2023 champion. Photo courtesy of VM

Shelmith Nyawira Muriuki, VnExpress Marathon Quy Nhon 2023's female champion. Photo courtesy of VM

From the beginning of the men’s race, Muriiuki stayed in contention among the top male runners Pham Ngoc Phan, Le Van Tuan.

She only got left behind in the last few kilometers.

The Kenyan champion praised the organizers of the VnExpress Marathon Sparkling Quy Nhon 2023 for creating and hosting such a successful event. It was not an easy race for the athletes. Hot weather, high humidity, and steep slopes challenged everyone.

"This victory was a good memory of my first visit to Vietnam," said Muriuki.

The 39-year-old runner flew to Thailand on Monday before returning to Kenya. This weekend, she will participate in a 10 km race in Thailand.

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