03 FEB 2002 General News

Rerimoi turns to the longer distance

Rerimoi turns to the longer distance
Omulo Okoth for the IAAF
3 February 2002 - Nairobi, Kenya - For Steven Rerimoi, the moment of truth is here. After a disappointing attempt at the 4-km race, the 28-year-old soldier has decided to move up to the blue-ribband 12-km race this year.

Rerimoi finished fourth at the Armed Forces Cross Country Championships in Nairobi in his first attempt over the distance on Saturday, behind the winner Paul Koech (36:27), Tom Nyariki (36:31) and Kiptum Muigei (36:37). He crossed the finish line in 36:52.

Born in the Rift Valley Provincial town of Koibatek on December 12, 1973, Rerimoi horned his athletics talent at Saos Boys High School between 1989 and 1992 at the prompting of his head teacher Barnabas Kitilit.

He joined the Armed Forces in 1995 but remained in the shadows of the more successful Armed Forces athletes. His time came in 1998 when he finished fifth in the 4-km race at the national championships.

However, he was replaced by Daniel Komen in the team that went to Marrakech, Morocco, for the World Cross. Komen, who was highly expected to win the race, came second to compatriot John Kibowen.

“I was certainly disappointed but what do you do when asked to cede a place for a senior athlete?” Rerimoi said in an interview after the race on Saturday.

“I went to Europe where I ran in a few small races awaiting the cross country season,” he said.

Come the 1999 cross country season, Rerimoi placed fourth at the nationals and went to Belfast, Northern Ireland. As fate would have it, he developed an hamstring in the left leg and finished 14th.

The hamstring problem persisted throughout 2000 and Rerimoi did not make an international appearance. Locally, he was seventh in the Armed Forces championships.

He started training again last year and was fourth in the Armed Forces Championships and seventh in the national cross country championships. He joined the team for high altitude training in Kaptagat but did not go to Ostend for the World Cross.

“I am very serious this season and I am heading for the 12-km race at the World Cross Country Championships,” he said.

“This is my first 12-km race. To finished fourth is not bad. I am happy and looking forward to improving at the National Championships in three weeks time,” he said.

Rerimoi started the season well, winning the longer distance at Machakos, Kericho and Nyahururu. He was destined for the Sh 1 million ($12,500) Jackpot up for grabs for any athlete winning the same race in two of the Kenya AAA/Energiser cross country races and the final one in Eldoret on January 12.

But as he explains, he jumped badly one of the barriers constructed to test the athletes’ endurance and failed to finish the race.

The father of two is certainly one of the athletes to watch in Dublin at the World Cross.