The surprise defeat of in-form 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships senior women’s gold medallist Emily Chebet and the success of David Kogei were the talking points after a muddy Administration Police Cross Country Championships in Nairobi on Saturday (2).
Chebet who has sparkled this season in the KCB/AK National Cross Country Series, with four wins in four starts, came home sixth in the last championship of Kenya’s Disciplined Forces.
The showdown was held at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens, the same grounds where Kenya’s team for the 2013 World Cross Country Championships will be decided at the joint National Championships and IAAF Cross Country Permit Meeting on 16 February.
Kogei, 28 and best known for his prowess on the roads with a 61:54 Half Marathon to his name, stole the headlines in the men’s 12km race when he launched the decisive kick 50 metres from the finish to leave Peter Kirui, a 2:06:31 marathoner, having to settle for second.
The winner crossed the line in 37:07, against his rival’s time of 37:08.
“I felt I was strong enough to maintain a fast pace and that is why I decided to break away early in the race (with only Kirui for company),” said Kogei.
Kirui was watched by Patrick Makau, the man he helped pace to the 2:03:38 World record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon. He had traded the lead with the winner until the final incisive shift of pace by Kogei that had the assembled crowd on its feet.
Having won in Nyahururu, Machakos, Kisii and in the local series finale in Kericho, all eyes were on Chebet at the start of the women’s 8km race.
However, Emily Samoei, the 2012 Barcelona Marathon winner in 2:26:52, proved to be the toast of the field when she took charge of proceedings and defended the title she won 12 months ago in 29:19.
“I was not expecting this win but as we went on, I gained the confidence,” said Samoei.
In truth, the pre-race favourite Chebet was never in contention as she appeared to step off the gas early in the race, leaving Samoei to exchange the lead with Susan Cherotich and Peninah Kigen for a while after the halfway mark before pulling away on the final lap to win by 19 seconds.
Mutwiri Mutuota and Jonathan Komen for the IAAF
1. David Kogei 37:07
2. Peter Kirui 37:08
3. Henry Chirchir 37:12
4. Nicholas Yegon 37:23
5. Kipkoech Maritim 37:34
6. Barnabas Sigei 38.00
1. Emily Samoei 29:19
2. Susan Cherotich 29:38
3. Peninah Kigen 29:54
4. Edna Kimaiyo 29:59
5. Grace Wambui 30:09
6. Emily Chebet 30:29