World and Commonwealth 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Lucas Rotich are the new senior women (8km) and men (12km) Tuskys Cross Country champions after cruising to victory in the 5th edition held in Eldoret, Kenya, on Sunday (21).
Cheruiyot, who had said before the race that she was not there to win but use the event to launch her season’s training program, took the lead in the third lap after marathoner Rose Kosgei had led in the first two.
The World Champion, who crossed the finishing line in 25:00.7, said she will be using the local races only “as a build-up towards defending my title in Daegu next year.”
Kosgei was second in 25:13.5. The race held at its usual Huruma ground in the western side of town saw the return of Prisca Jepleting after a two-year absence. She finished third in 26:00.5. Jessica Jemutai was fourth in26:22.6, Agnes Jepkosgei in 26:34.7 was fifth and sixth was Phanencer Jemutai in 26:40.5.
The race is the brainchild of former multiple World Steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui. The 5th edition was held under clear skies and mild winds.
Lucas Rotich who ran a serious race and clocked 33:34.4 to take the title said he wants to take local races seriously because he needs to make the national Cross Country team to make up for last year’s failure to win medal after he finished 12th at the World Cross due to injury.
Despite the pace being disorganised in the initial stages by Mike Kigen who sprinted into the front from the gun and held onto a 100 metre lead in the first three laps, Rotich, a former two time national secondary schools Cross Country, 5000m and 10,000m champion ran his own race and managed to catch up with Kigen with a lap to go.
Kigen finished third in 33:47.8 behind second placed Kipkoech Cherono (33:41.1). Stephen Kiprotich (33:51.9), Bernard Kiplagat, 33:58.0 and Elisha Kiprop 34:02.8 finished in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Japheth Korir won the junior men 8km race in 22:16.1 beating Philomen Rono to second place in 22:30.2. Third was Justin Kipchumba in 22:34.4, James Kipchoge was fourth in 22:40.6 while Peter Kitur and Joseph Ambasi were fifth and sixth in 22.45.8 and 22:48.4 respectively.
The junior women 6km race was won by Jepkorir Kipkoech in 19:40.6. She took the lead after the leading group lost way at the end of the first lap. The lost group’s effort to catch up again proved impossible since Jepkorir had already opened an unassailable lead.
Those who finished behind the 6km winner were Jepchirchir Kipkoech 19:59.6, Jepchirchir Cheruiyot 20:15.0, Faith Jepchumba 20:23.0, Alice Mogire 20:31.8 and Veronica Jepkosgei 20:35.6.
By David Macharia (Daily Nation) for the IAAF