World 3000m junior champion Mercy Cherono on the way to winning the junior women's 6km race at the second Athletics Kenya Cross Country Championships in Kericko, Rift Valley on 15 Nov 08 (Elias Makori) © Copyright
There was another talking points aside from Cherono’s win, namely the start of Olympic 800m champion Pamela Jelimo’s comeback from injury.
It was Cherono’s third straight junior race success on the Kericho Teacher Training College course that will also be her last as the 18-year-old World Youth 3000m champion graduates to the senior ranks next season.
Second behind Ethiopia’s Genzabe Dibaba in Amman earlier this year, Cherono, who was nurtured by Kericho’s now banned Kiptenden Athletics Club, gave her home fans something to cheer about by covering the six-kilometre distance in 20 minutes and 22 seconds, just a second faster than second-placed soldier Jackline Chepng’eno whom she outsprinted on the home straight.
Chepng’eno won the first race of the 2009/10 series in Machakos earlier this month and the pair should serve up an exciting battle for the Ksh250,000 (2500 Euros) jackpot on offer for the most consistent runner in the series.
Steeplechase specialist Linus Chumba, 25th at the Amman World Cross Country Championships, proved that this could be a better season for him by taking the senior men’s title in 36:31.19 while Simon Cherop (23:36) took the junior men’s title and Joyce Mwangi (27:55.57) was the senior women’s winner.
But it was Jelimo’s appearance in the senior women’s race that got the crowd worked up, the 2008 million-dollar IAAF Golden League Jackpot winner starting her gradual comeback from a nagging knee injury that saw her fail to get onto the podium at the World Championships in Berlin.
She lasted just six kilometres before withdrawing from the race.
“I was basically just trying to test my knee and this race was part of my buildup to the new season after treatment,” Jelimo told journalists.
Elias Makori for the IAAF
Leading results from the Second KCB/AK weekend cross country meeting in Kericho:
6km junior women –1. Mercy Cherono 20:22, 2. Faith Chepngetich 20:23, 3. Jackline Chepngeno 20:37, 4. Jackline Chebii 20:42, 5. Naomi Chepngeno 20:59, 6. Purity Cherotich 21:10.
8km junior men– 1. Simon Cherop 23:36, 2. Charles Kibet 23:38, 3. Isaiah Kiplagat 23:42, 4. Leonard Langat 23:48, 5. Philip Kiprono 23:50, 6. Japheth Korir 24:08.
8km senior women– 1. Joyce Mwangi 27:55.57, 2. Naomi Chengetich 27:58.50, 3. Ann Gatheru 28:29.86, 4. Alice Kimeto 28:42.0, 5. Mercy Kiptoo 28:53.56, 6. Antonina Ruto 29:11.28.
12km senior men –1. Linus Chumba 36:31.19, 2. Arita Omisa 36:32.6, 3. Simon Ndirangu 36:38.04, 4. Paul Langat 36:36.04, 5. Shadrack Kosgei 36:49.46, 6. Hilary Bii 36:53.36.
- World 3000m junior champion Mercy Cherono on the way to winning the junior women's 6km race at the second Athletics Kenya Cross Country Championships in Kericko, Rift Valley on 15 Nov 08 (Elias Makori) © Copyright
- Mercy Cherono after her African junior 3000m title in Bambous (Mark Ouma) © Copyright
- Mercy Cherono, winner of the junior title at the Kenyan World champs trials in Nairobi (Ricky Simms) © Copyright