NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan athletics officials intercepted a runner who cheated his way into second position to win prize money during a weekend marathon in the capital Nairobi.
Julius Njogu attempted to trick his way into the money bracket during the Standard Chartered Nairobi International marathon on Sunday, but officials on the route stopped him at the finish line, race director Ibrahim Hussein said.
Hussein said on Tuesday the 30-year-old Njogu and three others emerged from a thicket where they were hiding six kilometres from the finish line.
“They did it so foolishly because from where they joined the runners, it was easy to pick them out because we had analysed the race and had many times identified the lead group,” said Hussein, a former three-time New York City and Honolulu Marathon champion.
“There was not going to be a big difference among the top 13 lead runners and we knew them having followed them in the lead car throughout the route.”
Hussein said the other three athletes got mixed up in the confusion and escaped. However, since they lacked chips on them that the other athletes had for monitoring, they were also likely to be tracked down.
As runner up in the race, Njogu would have won 650,000 shillings ($6,410.26).
“We trained our eyes on them until the finish line when this Njogu guy purported to finish as runner up. He splashed water on himself to appear to have sweated. But he was too fresh to cheat anybody,” Hussein told Reuters.
Njogu told reporters on Sunday he trains in Naivasha, about 60km west of Nairobi, and that he had no coach.
The race was won by Joshua Kipkorir who crossed in two hours 13:25 and earned 1.5 million shillings. Njogu ‘timed’ 2:14:10, followed by Hillary Kiplimo in 2:14:18.
“I was running with them (athletes),” Njogu said when asked whether he had run the whole race. He did not give a direct answer as to whether he had run the entire course.
($1 = 101.4000 Kenyan shillings)
(Editing by George Obulutsa/Rex Gowar)