Sarah Kiptoo of Kenya also repeats as women’s champion.
Separating themselves from the field of 9,000 runners with a quick 4:37 first mile split, Kenyan training partners Jacob Chemtai and Nelson Oyugi seemed content to share the lead for as long as possible at Sunday’s Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. In the end, Chemtai pulled away from Oyugi for the second straight year to win in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 22 seconds, nine seconds up on his friend and countryman.
By mile 5, reached in 24 minutes flat, Chemtai and Oyugi had already distanced themselves from eventual third-place finisher—and top American—Guor Maker, who ran alone for most of the race. Consistently hitting splits in the 4:45-4:50 mile range, Chemtai and Oyugi shared the lead to mitigate the effects of the wind coming off the Pacific Ocean. At the finish line, a happy Chemtai said he was looking forward to returning to Monterey next year to try for a three-peat.
“I love coming to California,” said Chemtai, who ran 38 seconds slower than his winning time in 2013. “I will come back to try and win again next year.”
Muor, a native of South Sudan who ran in the 2012 Olympic Games under the Olympic Flag, finished in 1:05:52. He collected $1200 for placing third and another $500 as the top American finisher in the race.
“It was an honor to be able to run such a race,” he said afterward. “The course was not easy, but manageable.”
In the women’s race, Kenyan Sarah Kiptoo, who trains in Santa Fe, N.M., with Chemtai and Oyugi as part of the AmericaKenyan Running Club, led from the start and crossed the finish line victorious in 1:13:40, over two minutes off her winning time of 1:11:21 from last year. American Kara Foster of Boalsburg, Penn., finished second in 1:14:29, earning a $500 bonus for coming in under the Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard of 1:15. She also took home $1800 for finishing second overall and an additional $500 as the top American across the finish line. Kristen Zaitz of Broomfield, Colo., finished third in 1:14:37.
Fifty-nine-year-old Christine Kennedy of Los Gatos, Calif., won the women’s Masters race in 1:27:19. It was her fifth Masters title at the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. Chris Knorzer, 45, of Rocklin, Calif., crossed the line in 1:11:05 to place 11th overall and take home his second Masters title.