Nairobi, KenyaJapan based All Africa Games silver medallist, Bedan Karoki and Joyce Chepkirui stole the headlines by bagging the men and women senior titles during the 18th KCB/AK National Cross Country Championships in Nairobi on Saturday (18).
The KCB/AK National Cross Country Championships is an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting
World Junior Cross Country titleholder, Faith Chepng’etich bounced back to form by clinching the women’s 6km junior race, as World Youth 3000m gold winner, William Malel stamped his authority in the corresponding 8km men’s junior race.
The event played out at the dry Nairobi Uhuru Garden’s course where over 540 runners who started across the four races contended with intense heat and dust.
At the end of the event, Athletics Kenya (AK) selected a provisional squad of 16 that will begin preparations for the Africa Cross Country Championships in Cape Town, South Africa on 18 March.
Karoki edges Kiptoo
Notwithstanding the fact that this year’s edition fell in the gap year of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, the senior men’s long race still enthralled the crowd as the quality field served up a compelling race.
In the end, it was down to Karoki (27:13.67 PB in 10,000m) and Timothy Kiptoo, who starred at the domestic KCB/AK National Cross Country series, to battle it out for top honours after the pair detached themselves from the challengers well inside the final lap.
With some 200m to the tape, the All Africa Games silver winner discharged the finishing sprint that saw him home victorious in 35:19.2 to once again get the measure of Kiptoo (35:25.0) as the gathered among them five-time World Cross winner, Paul Tergat, arose to acclaim the signature performance of the day.
It was an exact repeat of the finishing order in the last KCB/AK series meet in Kisii (January 7) when Karoki led Kiptoo to the altar (36:20.2 against 36:52.4).
“I had enough experience to finish the race although I must admit it was one of the toughest contests I have participated in,” the winner declared.
He added: “My aim now is return to Japan and compete in the Fukuoka Half Marathon to test my self in the distance.”
From the gun, World junior 1500m champion, Caleb Mwangangi, assumed the pace making duties and led the field through the opening three laps before he bowed out. The 2010 World Cross junior titleholder was using the event as a test race.
His forceful gallop broke the field and by midway, established athletes such as Bydgoszcz World Cross champion, Joseph Ebuya (finished 49th), 2001 World 10,000m gold winner, Charles Kamathi (DNF), Africa 5000m champion, Vincent Yator and World Junior 5000m titleholder, Isaiah Kiplangat among others had fallen by the way side.
The 2007 World Cross Junior bronze winner, Vincent Kiprop (35:37.0) was a comfortable third ahead of Prisons runner, Fredrick Musyoki (31:45.3) while World Cross junior champion, Geoffrey Kipsang (35:53.1) returned seventh a place ahead of Punta Umbria long race fourth finisher, Matthew Kisorio (35:57.5).
In the women’s long race, Chepkirui completed a memorable surprise triumph over an imposing line-up when she took solo charge of the event in the penultimate lap. She completed her processional victory to finish in 26:08.8.
“I’m very excited with this win and it is my hope I will deliver something for my country,” the 69:04 runner in the half marathon said.
Margaret Wangari, the Bydgoszcz World Cross sixth finisher topped the battle of the challengers to take silver in 29:09.4 as world marathon champion, Edna Kiplagat (26:12.8) edged out the 2010 World Cross winner, Emily Chebet (26:17.3) in the battle for third.
Chepng’etich, Malel rule
The junior races played out to the form book after Punta Umbria champion, Faith Chepng’etich completed a rendition of the dominating display that brought her the world title last year.
Chepng’etich motored away from closest challenger, Agnes Jebet (19:57.1) in the last 500m to arrive at the tape ahead of all in 19:50.0. Alice Aprot, the ninth finisher at the Bydgoszcz World Cross had a solid race for bronze (20:00.6).
In the men’s 8km, William Malel held off the hard chasing Justine Cheruiyot to win his first national title with the clocks returning 23:07.5 against 23:12.1. Cornelius Kagongo finished third in 23:20.6 ahead of Bydgozcz World Cross bronze winner, Japheth Korir who clocked 23:20.6.
Africa Cross Country Champs - Provisional squad
Junior women- Faith Chepng’etich, Agnes Jebet, Alice Aprot, Nancy Chepkwemoi; Junior men- William Malel, Justine Cheruiyot, Cornelius Kagongo, Japheth Korir; Senior women- Joyce Chepkirui, Margaret Wangare, Emily Chebet 26:17.3, Esther Chemutai 26:27.3; Senior men- Timothy Kiptoo, Vincent Kiprop, Fredrick Musyoki, William Chebon; Head coach-Samson Katam; Assistant- Joseph Ilovi.
Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for IAAF
Junior 6km women
1. Faith Chepng’etich 19:50.0
2. Agnes Jebet 19:57.1
3. Alice Aprot 20:00.6
4. Nancy Chepkwemoi 20:06.0
5. Rosemary Wanjiku 20:10.1
6. Brilliant Jepkorir 20:18.3
7. Jerop Kosgei 20:21.0
8. Lydiah Wamukota 20:21.1
9. Linah Cheruto 20:23.4
10. Jepkemei Tanui 20:27.8
Junior 8km men
1. William Malel Sitonik 23:07.5
2. Justine Cheruiyot 23:12.1
3. Cornelius Kangogo 23:20.0
4. Japheth Korir 23:20.6
5. Bernard Katui 23:25.0
6. Leonard Barsoton 23:27.1
7. Moses Mukono 23:32.0
8. Albert Rop 23:35.8
9. Edwin Mokua 23:37.2
10. Kiprono Bett 23:40.4
11. Daniel Muiva 23:42.8
Senior 8km women
1. Joyce Chepkirui 26:08.8
2. Margaret Wangare 26:09.4
3. Edna Kiplagat 26:12.8
4. Emily Chebet 26:17.3
5. Esther Chemutai 26:27.3
6. Hyvin Kiyeng 26:41.0
7. Jemima Jelagat 26:44.7
8. Viola Kibiwott 26:55.0
9. Veronica Nyaruai 26:59.0
10. Sharon Cherop 27:00.1
Senior 12km men
1. Bedan Karoki 35:19.2
2. Timothy Kiptoo 35:25.0
3. Vincent Kiprop 35:37.0
4. Fredrick Musyoki 35:41.3
5. William Chebon 35:49.0
6. Clement Langat 35:52.8
7. Geoffrey Kipsang 35:53.1
8. Mathew Kisorio 35:57.5
9. John Chepkwony 36:00.0
10. Philemon Limo 36:01.4