Nairobi, KenyaEliud Kipchoge produced some breathtaking form on a scale which has been missing from Kenyan running for some time, as he cruised to victory in the 12km race at the Nairobi International Cross Country - IAAF Permit meeting - Saturday (12 Feb).
Kipchoge the 2003 World 5000m champion and last year's Olympic bronze medallist at the same distance, was never under threat today winning in 34:50 ahead of Moses Mosop who clocked 34:59, and John Cheruiyot Korir who was timed in a distant third place in 35:22.
Among the leaders after the first lap who included 2001 World 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi, Abraham Cherono and 2001 World 5000m gold medallist Richard Limo, Kipchoge stayed within the group until the third lap when he shot ahead of the pack with Mosop in pursuit.
By the time the bell rent the air, Kipchoge had no challenger and went on to easily win the race, much to the delight of five-time World Cross Country Championships Paul Tergat who said he would put his money on the 20-year-old to return the World title to Kenya in France next month.
"We shall train and plan as a group how to tackle (Ethiopia's) Kenenisa Bekele. I can't say for now how the race will be in France. We shall sit down and strategise as a group. The race was not as easy even though I won by a wide margin," Kipchoge told reporters.
Kamathi finished fourth (35:34) and Cherono fifth (35:45).
Songok on song in short race
Another outstanding performance was produced by Isaac Songok who won the men's 4km race in 10:50 to relegate Sammy Kipketer to second position (10:53). Olympic 3000m Steeplechase silver medallist Brimin Kipruto was third in 10:54, and Abraham Chebii fourth in 10:56. Former two-time World short race champion John Kibowen was ninth in 11:06.
Songok, the 2001 World Youth 1500m champion, out-sprinted the pack with 200m to finish with no one reacting to his decisive move.
His training partner at the famous St Patrick's School in Iten, Augustine Choge, who won the 5000m track title at last year's World Junior Championships, ensured coach Brother Colm O'Connell took home double victory with a deserved win in the junior 8km men's race.
Choge'winning run was timed in 23:03, so denying Hosea Macharnyang a share of the Sh1m ($12,500) Athletics Kenya Jackpot. Macharnyang finished third in 23:11 behind Barnabas Kosgei (23:07). Ronald Kipchumba, the World Junior Steeplechase champion was sixth, and Ernest Kemeli, last year's bronze medallist in Brussels, was eighth.
Jackpot shared by Jepleting and Nyarwai
So with Hosea Macharnyang not getting the required win, the Jackpot was shared by Prisca Jepleting, the winner in 4km women's race, (12:34) and Veronica Nyarwai, who won the women's junior 6km race in 19:26. Of the other contenders Johnson Muiruri finished way outside the top-10 in the men's 12km race to dash his hopes of a share of the Jackpot but he was compensated by being given a slot in the provisional World Cross squad which goes to a training camp on Monday. The other athlete in the Jackpot hunt was Eunice Jepkorir who finished outside the top-10 in the women’s long race.
Favourites beaten in women’s long race
In that contest, 23-year-old little known Rose Chepyego Chepchumba upset the senior women's favourites with a consistent performance that saw her lead from start to finish in the long race. She won in 26:30, beating Catherine Kirui to second place in 26:33, and New York Marathon runner-up Susan Chepkemei in third place in 26:35.
Catherine Ndereba, the World Marathon champion as well as Olympics silver medallist, was 13th, Olympics 5000m silver medallist Isabella Ochichi was 17th, Margaret Okayo, 18th and Sally Barsosio 20th.
Omulo Okoth (The Standard) for IAAF
1. Isaac Songok 10:50
2. Sammy Kipketer 10:53
3. Brimin Kipruto 10:54
4. Abraham Chebii 10:56
5. Henry Biwott 10:57
1. Eliud Kipchoge 34:50
2. Moses Mosop 34:59
3. John C. Korir 35:22
4. Charles Kamathi 35:34
5. Abraham Cherono 35:45
1. Augustine Choge 23:03
2. Barnabas Kosgei 23:07
3. Hosea Macharnyang 23:11
4. Ndiwa Mangata 23:12
5. Moses Masai 23:12
1. Prisca Jepleting 12:34
2. Viola Kibiwott 12:42
3. Beatrice Chepchumba 12:44
4. Beatrice Chepngeno 12:45
5. Chebet Lagat 12:47
1. Rose Chepyego Chepchumba 26:30
2. Catherine Kirui 26:33
3. Susan Chepkemei 26:35
4. Irene Kwambai 26:44
5. Irene Lemika 26:49
1. Veronica Nyarwai 19:26
2. Phylis Chebii Yator 19:31
3. Pauline Korkwang 19:32
4. Gladys Chemweno 19:33
5. Alpine Tuliamuk 19:45