Kenyan Marathoners on The Spot After Appearing to Allow China Win Beijing Half Marathon

Kenyan Marathoners on The Spot After Appearing to Allow China Win Beijing Half Marathon

Rene Otinga
updated at April 16, 2024 at 8:59 AM
  • There was controversy in the Beijing half marathon over how the race ended
  • Chinese runner He Jie won the marathon, but his finish was questionable
  • The two Kenyan runners appeared to step aside so Jie could win the race

Kenyan runner Willy Mnangat and his counterpart Robert Keter have attracted a probe into the Beijing half marathon that took place on Sunday, April 14.

The race had a controversial ending, as Chinese runner He Jie ran to victory, albeit via controversial circumstances as three other runners appeared to slow down for him.

Beijing half marathon, Jie, Kenyan runners, finish line, controversy
He Jie of China attends the award ceremony after the 19th Asian Games Men's Marathon Final at Smart New World Qiantang River Green Belt on October 05, 2023. Photo by Zhizhao Wu.
Source: Getty Images

A clip of the race shows Mnangat leading the race in the final stretch alongside fellow Kenyan Robert Keter and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu Bikila.

Jie, who is the Asian Games marathon gold medallist is just behind.

Just meters from the finish line, Keter appeared to wave at Jie to overtake the leading trio as he also signaled for Ethiopia’s Hailu and Mnangat to hang back.

According to BBC, Jie won the race with a time of 1:03:44 to collect the $5,500. Interestingly the African trio finished in joint second place, just one second behind their Chinese counterpart.

Investigations over ‘marathon fixing’

Fans across the globe who witnessed the marathon were instantly incensed by how the race ended, with World Athletics confirming a probe had been launched over the incident.

Chinese sports company Xstep which is part of the sponsors of the Beijing half marathon released a statement on Monday confirming a probe was underway and ‘further information would be provided as soon as possible’.

What Mnangat said

After the race, Mnangat initially confirmed he let Jie win the race because “he is my friend”, according to Today Online.

“He comes to Kenya and I was [pacing for him] in the Wuxi Marathon, so he is my friend, ok,” he added.

However, hours later, he changed his story presumably realizing the potential implications of his initial statement.

He instead said he was a pacemaker, despite his bib being that of a competing runner.

Highest-paying marathons

Sports Brief also reported on some of the highest-paying marathons in the world.

Marathons have some of the biggest payouts in track and field, with winners usually taking home handsome figures at the end of the two-plus kickabouts.

Surprisingly, the marathon at the top of the list is not one of the majors and is a women's exclusive race.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and