Report Machakos, Kenya

Chebet and Kirui impress in Machakos - AK XC Series

Emily Chebet wins in Machakos (Mutwiri Mutuota)Emily Chebet wins in Machakos (Mutwiri Mutuota) © Copyright

10 November 2012 – The 2010 IAAF World Cross-Country champion Emily Chebet once again rose to acclaim by notching up her second win on the bounce during the second KCB/AK National Cross Country Series meeting held in the eastern town of Machakos on Saturday (10).

In the men’s long race, World junior 10,000m bronze medallist and fifth-place finisher at the Kenyan Olympic 10,000m Trial in Eugene, Geoffrey Kirui, tore the form book to shreds when he humbled a field of decorated runners including 2010 World junior champion Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku and his African Cross gold medallist namesake John Mwangangi.

The junior races failed to yield a repeat winner from the opening round last week as Moses Mukono was forced to accept runner-up position by Peter Namuria in the men’s 8km with Mercy Chemwogen taking the honours in the junior women’s 6km where Nyahururu winner Sheila Chemg’etich came home in sixth.

Overnight heavy rains made the Machakos Teacher’s Training Institute course soggy at the start of the programme but sunny conditions that prevailed led to relief as the sandy soil dried up to serve a perfect running surface as the seniors pounded the route in a meet that attracted 350 starters.

Chebet on the double

Emily Chebet, who waited patiently before pouncing at the last in the opener in Nyahururu a week ago, once again prevailed over her closest rival in the shape of Kenya Defence Forces athlete and Boston Marathon runner-up Jemimah Chelagat in a battle of wits that lasted more than half of the race.

The winner arrived at the tape in 25:01.8 against Chelagat’s 25:03.6 after making her winning move about 60m from the finish to finally prevail over her closest challenger who had sustained the surge in the front with no sign of letting up.

Joyline Chelagat, who was eighth in Nyahururu, improved to third here in 25:56.0 to share the podium with her illustrious competitors in the race that had the assembled crowd on their feet.

“I’m still working to get back my shape that is why I have decided to take this series seriously. The competition for places for the World Cross will be tough so I want to be ready,” said Chebet, who next March aspires to return to the Polish city where she crafted her name in golden colours.

For the Boston runner-up, the task on hand in Machakos was to get ready for the spring marathon season besides representing the Forces who sent a strong contingent for the event.

“I want to see whether next year I can win a major marathon, that is my dream and I’m pleased with how my training is going so far,” said Chelagat. “Today’s race was tough and the conditions a bit difficult but I’m grateful for my performance.”

In the corresponding men’s event Geoffrey Kirui, who saw his Olympics bid ended at the specially arranged Prefontaine Classic Kenyan 10,000m selection race in June, made his introduction to senior cross-country running a memorable one by stunning the deepest field on show.

The 13:20.54/26:55.73 career best runner over 5000m/10000m who won bronze in the longer distance at the Barcelona World Juniors used his finishing mastery in the business end of the keenly-contested race to breast the tape first in 32:52.7.

Kenya Wildlife Service runner Silas Kimutai followed the winner home in 33:22.3 to serve notice of his talent as the established runners – led by the 2010 World junior and African 1500m champion Caleb Mwangangi (33:22.3) in third – started arriving at the finish.

Forces athlete Mark Kiptoo (33:28.0), who captained the Kenyan team to the Jordan World Cross, proved his staying power at 36 years old to finish fourth just above the other Mwangangi and home favourite John (33:30.8) who is the reigning African Cross champion.

Commonwealth 10,000m silver medallist Daniel Lemashon (33:57.0) was seventh while Nicholas Togom (33:58.6), the jackpot winner from last season, finished eighth.

“Kirui has the quality to make the national team next year since he has the talent and that is why we included him in the Oregon Trials after seeing what he did in Barcelona,” said Athletics Kenya general secretary David Okeyo. “Today he has over powered a strong field that is more experienced. He is one we are eyeing for the future.”

Mukono meets his match

After a commanding win in the opening meet in Nyahururu, Moses Mukono – a village-mate and training partner to world 800m record-holder David Rudisha – met his match at the hands of Peter  Namuria, who kept up with his searing turn of speed from the second lap before catching him as they came to the final 200m.

Namuria then showed the 2012 World Juniors representative a clean pair of heels to home in for victory in 21:51.40 as Mukono gratefully accepted to play bridesmaid in 21:52.40.

“I felt tired as we came for the finish but I’m still in the hunt for the jackpot so I’m pleased with the performance,” Mukono gracefully offered.

For the winner, it was the reward of hard training in his base in Kericho.

“He was a good competitor and he set the pace so to keep up and get the win at the end is a sign that I can compete with the best,” said Namuria. “I will work to ensure that I make the team for the World Cross.”

Peter Limo (22:05.10) executed a lunge for the finish line to deny home runner Katui Muia (22:05.60) in a frenetic dash for the final place in the rostrum.

In the junior women’s race, the World 3000m junior champion Mercy Chebwogen stamped her authority by staging a runaway victory that ended with the clock reading 18:53.6 when she was done with her gun-to- tape display.

Her ferocious front running left the rest of the starters – that included the Lille World Youth sixth-place finisher Sheila Chemg’etich who trounced all comers in Nyahururu a week ago – competing for the minor podium positions.

Edna Chepkemboi (18:57.0), who won silver at the East Africa Youth Championships in Kampala, eventually finished second as Jackline Chebwogen (19:01.8) continued her solid showing in the series by taking third.

Meet sponsors KCB have set aside Sh1.2m ($14,117) to be shared across the four categories with the winners by points at the end of the competition taking home $2,353 (Sh200,000).

Following Machakos, Chebet and Mukono are in pole position to scoop the pay-out since they need to finish among the top seven in two of the remaining five meetings including the final in Kericho at the end of January.

Mutwiri Mutuota (Capital FM) for the IAAF

Junior women
1. Mercy Chebwogen 18:53.6
2. Edna Chepkemboi 18:57.0
3. Jackline Chebwogen 19:01.8
4. Eva Cherono 19:06.8
5. Damaris Muthee 19:14.0
6. Sheila Chemg’etich 19:16.0
7. Margaret Murinju 19:37.8
8. Clementine Chelagat 19:38.0
9. Everlyn Chepkoech 19:40.8
10. Mbithe Nzisa 19:44.2

Junior men
1. Peter Namuria 21:51.4
2. Moses Mukono 21:52.4
3. Peter Limo 22:05.1
4. Katui Muia 22:05.6
5. Hillary Langat 22:13.2
6. Ernest Ngeno 22:35.5
7. Dominic Mailu 22:39.6
8. Alex Mutiso 22:42.4
9. Raphael Leina 22:44.2
10. Joshua Maingi 22:45.0

Senior women 8km
1. Emily Chebet 25:01.8
2. Jemimah Chelagat 25:03.6
3. Joyline Chelagat 25:56.0
4. Nzembi Musyoka 25:07.0
5. Agnes Katunge pri 26:24.4
6. Mumbua Kioko 26:33.7
7. Jane Wanja 26:51.4
8. Perine Nenkampi 27:12.2
9. Tabitha Chelagat 27:26.9
10. Jane Murage 27:28.9

Senior men 12km
1. Geoffrey Kirui 32:52.7
2. Silas Kimutai 33:05.6
3. Caleb Mwangangi 33:22.3
4. Mark Kiptoo 33:28.0
5. John Mwangangi 33:30.8
6. Mike Rotich 33:40.8
7. Daniel Lemashon 33:57.0
8. Nicholas Togom 33:58.6
9. Alex Oloititip 34:02.0
10. Serian Paul 34:03.4