Philip Langat wins the senior men's race (Elias Makori) © Copyright
Saturday’s (30) Administration Police National Cross Country Championships at the Embakasi Training School in Nairobi provided the stage for civilian runners to argue their case with Philip Kiprono Langat and Jasca Jemutai proving too strong for the police athletes as they captured the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
The pair will now bask in the glory of having surely secured jobs in the Administration Police force, with the extra allure of fighting for a place in the Kenya team to the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz too good to be true.
The windy course near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport provided a challenging proposition for the runners and in the men’s race, newly recruited soldier, Paul Kemboi, of the Administration Police Training College, threw down the gauntlet with Langat quickly taking up the challenge with consummate ease.
Langat picked his moment with clockwork precision, kicking in the final kilometre and opening up a 60-metre gap that Kemboi failed to answer to, with Langat breasting the tape in 36 minutes and 14 seconds in perhaps the last time he was running as a civilian.
“I enjoyed the race. But winning was not all that I looked out for,” Langat said. “I have won here before but the national trials is a very different game and I hope after several futile attempts, I will triumph and secure a slot in the national team.”
Jemutai also arrested the efforts of seasoned policewomen, running a gun-to-tape race and winning the women’s 8km title in 29:01, 12 seconds ahead of second-placed Sheila Chesang with Kellen Waithera placing third in 29:16.
Only about 35 women registered for the race meaning that Jemutai did not face much of a challenge, dictating the pace after the first lap all the way to the tape.
Kenya’s provinces will now hold their championships this week ahead of the big one, the national Cross Country championships on February 20 where the Kenyan team to Bydgoszcz will be picked.
Already, Kenya’s biggest teams - the Kenya Police, Armed Forces and Kenya Prisons - have held their national championships and selected teams for the February 20 meet at the Ngong Racecourse, the traditional home of Kenya’s national championships.
Elias Makori for the IAAF
MEN (12 km) -
1. Philip Kiprono Langat 36:14
2. Paul Kemboi 36:19
3. Henry Chirchir 36:50
4. Kiprotich Yegon 37:04
5. Josephat Ayiera 37:15
6. Silas Kiptum 37:24
WOMEN (8 km) -
1. Jasca Jemutai 29:01
2. Sheila Chesang 29:13
3. Kellen Waithera 29:16
4. Everlyne Ayancha 29:47
5. Edna Kwambai 30:00
6. Jane Wanjiku 30:19