Ngandu Easily Wins the Men’s Division of the Philadelphia Distance Run

By David Block for Runner’s Gazette

PHILADELPHIA, PA, September 18, 2022–James Ngandu is no stranger to the Philadelphia road-racing scene. The 32-year-old Kenyan trains in Ohio when in the US and has left his mark in Philadelphia several times.  Last November he ran 1:04:16 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon and he holds that race’s course record of 1:02:14 set in 2019. He returned to Philadelphia for his Philadelphia Distance Run (PDR) debut and won, clocking 1:02:01 and collecting $2,500. Tsegay Tuemav Weldlibanos finished second (1:02:29 $1,000) and Mike Chesire took third (1:02:33 $500.00).

“I just wanted to maintain—conserve—not start out too fast,” said Ngandu.

Ngandu allowed fellow Kenyan Shadrack Keter to grab the lead. Keter started out strong and hit the two-mile mark at City Hall at 9:10. Ngandu caught up near the four-mile mark at Logan Square in 18:10.

“I was feeling good,” said Ngandu.

For the next two miles, Ngandu and Keter stayed together without any other runners challenging them. However, the latter ultimately faded to a fourth place finish (1:03:09 $250).

At Mile Six at Brewery Hill Drive—located on Kelly Drive—Ngandu posted 27:36. After that, nobody challenged him. From the pace vehicle, it looked as though he was doing a training run by himself on Kelly Drive.

When Ngandu reached the nine-mile mark at East Falls Bridge with a 42:14 posting, he felt confident about winning. He hit 10 miles in 46:59 and 11 miles in 51:50. He occasionally looked back.

“I looked back to see if they were closing the gap,” said Ngandu. He saw that he had nothing to worry about.    

Many runners use PDR as a tune up for the Chicago Marathon in October or for the NYC Marathon in November, but not Ngandu.

“I ran this race just to stay in shape,” said Ngandu. “I have no marathons coming up until January when I run Houston.”

The first woman finisher was Monicah Ngige, 1:09:23. She earned the winner’s share of $2,500.00. The second female was Atsede Tesema, 1:09:39, who collected $1000.00, and finishing third was Isgah Cheruto who collected $500.00.

“This was my first time running this race,” said Ngige. “I felt good; the weather was good.”  After five miles, she broke away from the pack. Ngige’s six-mile split was 30:47.  

She did not worry about anyone passing her.

“I just think positive,” said Ngige.

Click here to access full results.

Shadrack Keter #15, and James Ngandu #11 both of Kenya run together on Kelly Drive midway through the PDR.

Categories: Race Coverage

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