Two Kenyan runners beat the heat to win Mini-Marathon
Extremely humid conditions didn't deter two dominating performances from runners from the same training club during the 2012 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis.
Kenyan natives George Towett and Lilian Mariita - who both train in the L.M. Elite Running Club in Hebron, Ky., captured the men's and women's races, respectively.
George Towett - running in his second Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis - finished the course in 1:05.08, 46 seconds ahead of second-place Philemon Terer of Santa Fe, N.M. Towett was surprised to win and even more surprised how he accomplished it.
«Winning itself ... I wasn't expecting to win,» said Towett, 27. «Everyone was very good. I'm surprised.»
The temperatures were mild, barely topping out at 70 degrees, but humidity was at 91 percent by the mid-point of the race.
«It was very humid,» Towett said. «It was tough conditions. (And) I prefer running in a group. I was pretty much trying to run with a group, but I realized I could be myself and run by myself.»
Lilian Mariita - running in her first OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon - was nearly as dominant, winning by 42 seconds over second-place Erin Vergara of Indianapolis. The 24-year-old doubled over while holding her side at the finish line and had to be taken to the medical tent on a stretcher following the race.
«She didn't feel very well because of the humidity,» said Larisa Mikhaylova, Mariita's coach/agent. »The humidity was very difficult for her. But she feels very good about winning the race. It means a lot to her. «It's a great day for our club. We had the men's winner and women's winner from the same club.»
Mariita eventually walked out of the medical tent on her own. «It's good. It really is,» said the soft-spoken Mariita of winning the race.