x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Kenyan wins Sheikh Zayed 10k race but misses by seconds to bag US$30k bonus

But Leonard Patrick Komon missed by just seconds to win the Zayed bonus at the UAE Healthy Kidney in New York, granted to anyone who breaks the course time.

Leonard Patrick Komon crossing the finishing line at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race. The Kenyan won the UAE-backed New York race for the second time, leading throughout to claim victory in 27 minutes 58 seconds. Courtesy New York Road Runners
Leonard Patrick Komon crossing the finishing line at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race. The Kenyan won the UAE-backed New York race for the second time, leading throughout to claim victory in 27 minutes 58 seconds. Courtesy New York Road Runners

DUBAI // Two members of the Royal Family competed in a New York fun-run this weekend held in honour of the Founding President Sheikh Zayed.

The UAE Healthy Kidney race, founded in 2004, is a 10km race through Central Park that marks Sheikh Zayed's successful kidney transplant at a US hospital in 2000.

Nearly 6,000 runners braved the humidity to complete Saturday's race, including Sheikh Zayed's grandson, Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Saqr bin Saud Al Qasimi, the son of the Ras Al Khaimah Ruler, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi.

The race was won for the second time by Kenyan Leonard Patrick Komon, who finished with a time of 27min 58sec - just 23 seconds shy of his 2011 record-setting time.

Those few seconds cost the Kenyan a US$30,000 (Dh110,000) Zayed bonus, granted to anyone who breaks the course time.

"I lost a little bit of time because the course changed," said Komon. "It's not like the one I won on before. Going anti-clockwise is not normal, so today it was very hard for me to do that."

He said he was pleased with the result and would try again next year to break the record. "I'm now familiar with the new course so next year I will be prepared to try to win the bonus," he said.

To mark the 10th UAE Healthy Kidney race next year, organisers say the record-breaking bonus will be increased to $50,000.

"I enjoy this race so much," said Komon. "I enjoy it because of the people in this city - they love sports and they love Africans. I feel happy, not only to win but also to stay here in New York."

The women's race was won by New York-based Ethiopian Aziza Aliyu Abate, who finished in 34min 34sec, 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Hirut Beyene Guangui, but well short of her personal best.

"The time was not good because of the conditions," she said. "My personal best is 32.36, but it was tough here because of the rain and how slippery it was. I've run this race before but the course seemed a bit tougher this time."

eharnan@thenational.ae